Stretching My Fashion Zone…Again

Getting feedback on my outfits from my kids never goes that well, but I can’t seem to help myself. Luckily I have a strong ego, because any time I stretch a little outside my fashion range, they don’t hold back.

While my dress up bar is low, occasionally I bust out with a little razzle-dazzle. When I descend the stairs in khakis, a “dress tee” and a necklace, my sassy flare amazes my kids. “Whoa Mom, where are you going like that?” they ask. Or “Are you going to a party?”

A few times a year, Bruce and I attend weddings or formal events, and my outfits blow our kids’ minds even though I hang in the lower range of acceptable attire for these events. One time, I entered the kitchen in a formal black dress, my ski jacket, and clunky Sorrel boots (holding a pair of heels). Sadie almost fell off her stool, “Mom, you are taking it way over the top with that outfit.” The Sorrels must have really kicked it up a notch.

In recent years, most of my speaking and comedy gigs happen far away, so my outfits are in my suitcase as we say goodbye. They don’t see how I venture out with a twist of cha-cha every once in a while. When I am really feeling it, I bring out my special

Malia Mills blouse that is decidedly out of my normal range. Malia Mills is an old friend and soccer teammate from Hanover High School. Malia went on to become a successful designer of swimwear and ready-to-wear clothing. The motto for her company, Malia Mills, lights it up: “Love Thy Differences. Our mission. Our mantra. Our Driving Force.” Her clothes and bathing suits fit all kinds of bodies and are amazingly comfortable.

Last year, I had the honor of joining Malia at her Houston store to take part in a discussion about girls and women, fashion and owning the bodies we live in. While trying on clothes, Malia convinced me to try on pieces I assumed were not for my body type, yet they surprisingly worked. One piece was described as a “tee-shirt” but in my world, it would be categorized as a blouse. It actually was a black tee-shirt, however, it had snazzy ruffles on the sleeves. As I have mentioned, anything I don’t notice on my body is a win; this shirt rivaled the naked dress and was quickly welcomed into my arsenal of lady clothes.

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to perform a night of storytelling in Lyme. The in-between season thing had me fashion-baffled. I decided to bring out my Malia Mills blouse/tee, which was my first short-sleeve move in months.

All three kids were working in the kitchen that night. Bruce thought the blouse looked great, but he is not that selective. I asked Colter what he thought about my outfit. “Mom, you look like you are attending a 16th Century dinner at a castle.” Witty lad! Zander walked in and share his opinion without prompting, “Are you an extra in a pirate musical?” Ouch.

Sadie was in the dining room setting tables. I thought I could count on my girl to give me a little support. At the sight of me, she paused mid-placement of a fork and then consciously made her face neutral. I asked for an honest opinion. “Mom,” she said in a kind tone, “Just because a piece of clothing is made by an amazing, famous designer doesn’t mean it looks good on you.” Decision made and gusto set alight! I wore that 16th Century ruffly pirate tee shirt with absolute conviction and felt free and unrestrained all evening.

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