Wearing Other People's Clothes

Like this?

I like this one better.I really love the jacket in stone. The whole idea of the color "stone" is very wonderful. If I were to pick out a new rock for Blue's tank, I'd go with it.

Settle back, I feel like talking. I learned something new the other day.
I think I mentioned that it's getting a little chilly in Chicago.
And I feel it in my chest and in my arms and in my toes and then FD will come to bed late, hoping he's going to warm up, and his hands and toes are freezing and well, all I can say is that

we're not acclimated. It's like this every November. It takes us awhile, in fact, to acclimate since really, we're not the kind of people who ever say, Wow, this cold air! How refreshing!

It's not refreshing; it's just cold.

When it gets like this (and it's not even really cold, cold, it's only in the 40's-50's), I've learned to wear lots of layers; and if I'm going out, I try to put enough of them on so that I'm almost working up a sweat just breathing. And I hate it.

I just want to give my better endowed friends big warm hugs to steal the heat off of them.

This is where it gets tricky, you see. My friends are always telling me that they want to lose weight and I say, Yeah, yeah, but inside I wish they'd quit with the self-dissatisfaction. I love them just the way they are, and none of them are over-weight, really. Yet I know they mean it when they say that they're not happy with extra poundage (which I never see), so I say, Sure, sure you want to lose weight. It's okay, I get it; go for it. Diet. Exercise, whatev. Get skinny.

But you'll be cold.

So Saturday I was alone in the morning, FD had already left for shul (he goes to an early synagogue service) and I was in my sweats reading the Wall Street Journal. The article that grabbed me had to do with "older" women buying clothes that aren't dowdy, yet they're not too youthful looking, either.

The price tag on the Premise Gayle Lillie Jacket (Quotations, Bloomingdales) is a little out of budget for me; too many out-standing college loans from education-at-what-price, the United States Department of Education Direct Loans waits for no man, let's not talk about it, and income taxes that make a grown-woman weep.

Yet I looked at that stone jacket and thought, Man, that would look good on me, NO question. And folded up the newspaper, finished my chocolate chip cookie, and headed up to the bedroom to find something to wear to shul.

I settled on a great looking long fall suit that is surely 15 years old. Or more.

But on my walk to the synagogue I thought about how cool it is that the people who go to services with me really don't give anyone a critical once-over and judge. It's not that kind of crowd. Not that they're retro or wearing jeans. But on really cold winter days, and we're not even there yet, I've been able to get away with flannel pajamas under my skirt and even when they pop out of the boots, nobody's said so much as Boo.

'course, you could say they're polite, and that would be true.

Anyway, I put on that trusty suit that fit me like a glove, added a heavy bell-sleeved cable sweater under the jacket and a pair of tights. Brown wide-towed Mudd loafers (what, you thought I'd wear heels?) Checked the mirror and searched for something to break the wind.

This is Chicago, okay?

Still it's that funny time of year that my mother calls "transitional" , when nothing really feels quite right, weather-wise. And I don't get into a car to beat whatever weather the Old Mighty determines should suit us just fine on the Sabbath. So I have to be prepared.

And wouldn't you know it, not one of my full-length coats in the front-hall closet matched my suit. I held out hope for the basement cedar closet where the warmer outer-wear parks for warmer months. Sure enough, Empath Daught's old tan-suede Wilson jacket, really heavy and warm but beat up comfortably, said, Hello.

In a flash I was out the door, feeling no pain, admiring the world. The leaves are turning and all the colors are warm and mellow. You have to love Chicago in November, even if it's cold. You sort of forgive the city the cold. Chicago can't help it. Someday our property values will sky-rocket as people in southern climes swelter and curse.

Oh global warming is a myth, never mind.

Generally I go to the synagogue so late that I'm only there for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. The socialization after the services (cake, chips, soda, or booze) is a weekly attraction. I rarely eat or drink (that's so personal, you know?) but I like to watch other people do that and I like catching up with them on their family news.

That morning, as we hovered over gefilte fish, crackers, and cake, a friend and I compared air fares overseas. In our crowd kids are encouraged to actually marry and live in Israel, so visiting the Holy Land in the winter is one of those things people my age do to see family. It's rare anyone goes to Hawaii, or Japan, unless it's for business. But we go to Israel and we talk prices with one another, hoping to find a cheaper fare.

Apparently there's an Airbus A380 that seats 500 people and flies to Paris (Air France). I think I'll wait awhile, let them test that one out.

I looked around the room and really none of the women had on anything that looked anywhere near as chic as the Quotations stuff at Bloomies touted by WSJ. Even the mens' suits didn't seem particularly sharp. This made me happy. I can't explain it. But these are my people and we're awfully laid back in Chi-town. Some of us.

So I left for home. And on my way I wondered why I liked wearing Empath Daught's old jacket so much. I mean really, it's pretty beat up, and the color's an orangey-tan, NOT my color at all. It makes no sense. And I flashed on another jacket, my brother's (O'B'S- he should be at peace by now). He had a black leather jacket that he wore only months before he passed away.

Me, being a teenager at that time, and not a young one at the cusp of 18, grabbed that jacket the week after the funeral. For me it had to have been too long to be a jacket, really, and it was too short to be considered a coat. He wore it in the autumn, around this time of year. He was well over six feet tall, and I'm well under.

I didn't wear it often because I was self-conscious about it and it swam on me, but we had a dog and I had to walk the dog (I LIKED walking the dog), so I wore it when I took the dog out in the late night hours. And occasionally, I think, I wore it to school.

Nobody raised an eyebrow. This was the sixties.

In another year I was off to college and when I returned for Thanksgiving break I looked for the jacket (and a few other things) but it was gone. I might have asked my mom, Did you give it away?! But I'm sure I didn't push it. I think I might have actually said, I wanted that, and poor mom couldn't really respond. Perhaps she hadn't heard.

But how do you respond when you lose your twenty year old kid and the next in line is upset about a jacket?

Ah, it's getting a little maudlin in here, a little warm, isn't it? So basically, all I wanted to say is that humans hang onto humans in many ways. Wearing one another's clothes, obviously, is just one way of feeling, sensing the other person.

When Empath Daught was a kid, she and her friends swapped clothing like crazy. I never knew WHAT she'd be wearing or WHERE she got some of the things she wore to school. That's how some adolescent girls connect with one another, and how others increase their wardrobes.

How your therapy doc got stuck there, in adolescence, so many years ago, I'll never know.

Well, perhaps maybe I do.



Anonymous said…
Therapy Doc, I gotta tell ya -- I love the way you spin a yarn. :)
therapydoc said…
Gosh, and coming from you. .
Jay said…
My mother is now giving away the majority of my dad's clothes, a bit over a year after his death. We came home from the shiva with a pile of stuff for my husband, and I asked him not to wear it for a while. Now, though, I like seeing it on him, especially some of the special ties that I remember my dad wearing.
Anonymous said…
I like what you’re doing with your blog. Keep up the awesome work. Great Post!

Love & Gratitude,
Think Simple. Be Decisive.
~ Productivity, Motivation & Happiness
Anonymous said…
I still have the Dale Evans brown cowgirl fringed jacket I wore as a kid. I guess I want to hold onto that little girl.
therapydoc said…
Are there Roy Rogers reruns out there anywhere on cable? I'll bet it's totally not PC.
Jack Steiner said…
Still it's that funny time of year that my mother calls "transitional" , when nothing really feels quite right, weather-wise.

Chicago has three months of nice weather, they're just not consecutive.

Thus spaketh the son of a New Trier grad. :)
therapydoc said…
Aw come on, that's the old joke. But we do better than that. We get four for sure.

And honest? Because it really is warming up Up North, I'd venture to say, 8!
I'm one of those people who could spend my entire life in comfy jeans, sweatshirts, sneakers, etc. I'm VERY CASUAL, some might say slobby. And yet I'm weirdly particular about the look of and fit of my jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts, so I rarely find new items I like and tend to wear the old ones until they're practically falling apart. And did I mention I hate shopping? Strangely enough, it's even harder to find new clothes if you never go look for them.

Not sure where I fit on the DSM, but somewhere, I'll wager. Is there any sort of clothing dysmorphic disorder yet? I haven't checked in a while.

(Awesome blog, by the way).
therapydoc said…
You're totally ordered, Crabby. Not to worry.
Scribbit said…
I love reading some of the posts and blogs in your sidebar, they're really a terrific group!

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