IDIOCYNCRATIC DRESSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Women are known for their love of shoes and bags. Many women buy shoes for specific outfits and switch bags frequently depending on what they’re wearing. I’m not one of those women.

For everyday, I have one black bag for fall and winter and another bag, either blue or beige, for spring and summer. I never change bags unless I’m going to a dressy or formal event, in which case I use one of maybe two or three black dress bags (some inherited from my mother). I just don’t relate to purses. To me, they’re not an important part of my wardrobe. They are just daily luggage.

A winter bag and a summer bag

As for shoes, I do have quite a few pairs, but they’re mostly either black for winter or beige for summer. I have several pairs of boots, both short and tall, flat and heels. I also have several sandals for when it’s hot. Add in a few ballet flats and low heels (I never wear high or spiked heels) and there’s my shoe wardrobe. Very basic and unexciting. Again, I don’t really care what’s on my feet as long as they generally match the season and the occasion. I occasionally get compliments on my shoes, which is surprising but actually very gratifying.

Another female fetish that I’m not into is nails. I rarely get manicures, partly because my nails break and crack so frequently that I rarely have more than a few t the same length at the same time. So, putting a colored polish on them is like putting lipstick on a pig. I do it for special events or if I have more than six nails of reasonable length. Even then I only use clear or nude shades of nail polish.

My usually plain nails

I never do pedicures. First of all, I feel uncomfortable when strangers mess with my feet. Secondly, I never understood why women want to draw attention to what I see as our least attractive feature. Besides, feet are usually covered up by shoes for most of the year, at least where I live. The few months when we all wear sandals might make sense but I still don’t like brightly colored toenails.

I have a friend who never wears makeup but always has meticulously manicured hands and feet. So her hands and feet are ‘enhanced’ and draw attention but not her face? I don’t get it. I’d rather wear some makeup on my face and ignore my limbs. My face is what people should be looking at when they talk to me.

On the other hand, I am a costume jewelry fanatic. My neckwear and earrings overflow two large drawers and one small three drawer jewelry box. And that doesn’t include the two drawers full of costume jewelry left to me by my mother. Her earrings were all clip on, which I can’t wear, so I just kept her neckpieces and bracelets. These tend to be much dressier than I would wear every day, but I do use them for special occasions. It’s a real treat to go ‘shopping’ in the ‘Mom drawers’ when I need something special and dramatic to wear.

My ‘small’ jewelry box for everyday wear

When I get dressed, I go through my arsenal of earrings and decide which one goes best with what I’m wearing. Usually, I have many to choose from and this extends the time it takes me to get dressed – often by a lot.

Sometimes I try several on and eliminate one at a time till I find the winner for the day. Other times I have a ‘favorite’ pair of earrings that I wear whenever it goes with my outfit. Either way, earrings (and to a lesser degree, necklaces) are a big deal to me. So I usually have ratty nails and embellished ears!

I also have an extensive collection of tops – shirts and tees mostly and quite a few tunic tops. I treat myself to a few new ones each season, even though I don’t need them.

They, along with earrings, are my vices – and are the only things I spend money on these days. All other purchases have to go through the ‘do I really need this’ test. This is the one place where I let ‘I want it’ be the main criterion for purchase. For my husband, it’s electronic equipment and video games, which end up costing a lot more than my annual splurges. So I don’t feel too bad about my excesses.

Everyone has their own special likes and dislikes and ‘can’t resist’ items. So I guess I’m no quirkier or stranger than anyone else. I just feel like I am!

9 thoughts on “IDIOCYNCRATIC DRESSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

  1. I was never much of a fashion plate. I was just happy if I wasn’t cold and my feet didn’t hurt! As for bags, I don’t change if I don’t have to. I carry a lot more stuff than most people because I have two pairs of glasses in there, emergency medications, the telephone (and charger), usually a small camera — and while this doesn’t sound like a lot, it just take up a lot of space. Oh, and a wallet and the checkbook. Pens. I was doing okay with a much smaller bag until the number of eyeglasses went from one pair to two and the number of meds kept getting bigger. I keep trying to take things out, but so far, there’s nothing in there I don’t use, though I could probably take out my hat and gloves, winter being (finally) over (I think).

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    • I have had to get larger purses since I got a larger cell phone. I don’t carry that much every day, but I do need my phone and a few key items other than credit cards, driver’s license, cash, etc. My chiropractor told me years ago to get a smaller and lighter purse to take pressure off my shoulders and back, so I go as small as I can, which is probably medium. I used to carry paperback books with me when I traveled on the subway, but I drive now so that went out the window long ago.

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  2. I gave up on purses/bags years ago. I found that the bag got full of stuff that I didn’t really need and never used. So I have my wallet in one pocket of my jeans and car keys in the other plus a kleenex. I’ve never missed the bag. Now shoes are another issue.
    Leslie

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    • I don’t think I could ever travel quite as light as you do, Leslie! It’s a goal I aspire to but I don’t think I will ever reach. I have chapstick and eyeglass wipes and a few makeup items that I never use, plus a pen and God knows what else. Oh yes, Aspirin. I never go anywhere without aspirin. Never know when I’ll get a headache and if I don’t take something right away, it gets really bad. I don’t have a wallet anymore though – I keep everything in compartments in my purse. So that makes the purse much lighter, which helps my shoulders and back.

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      • I have no regrets about getting rid of the bag. There was just so much stuff I really never used in it. Hence my pocket have acquired a new and greater importance.

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  3. I’m not a shoes and bags person either. I guess I did not read the memo that said all women should be interested in them. I’m interested in having comfortable feet so I don’t wear heels either. Most of my shoes are black or navy although I do like white or beige for summer wear, same with bags. If I kept swapping bags all the time I would never know where anything was. I don’t do nail polish any more, I was always breaking nails at work when I was a cleaner so didn’t see the point and I hate anyone touching my feet too.

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    • Glad to see that another woman shares my limited tastes in accessories. I feel comfortable with one bag for months on end because I know where everything is and I can access everything easily. I can’t imagine having to deal with different purse configurations every day! Life is too complicated already!

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      • Ellin, I used to love getting manis and pedis — until it became obvious they were luxuries that didn’t fit into our retiree’s income. I epecially enjoyed pedis because of the feet massages.
        Nowadays, I clip my fingernails and Marilyn clips my toe nails because it’s hard for me to do them.

        I had a speaking engagement this morning. It was pouring outside so I had to rethink my apparel. I wound up with one of those collar-less shirts (White) covered by a brand new USMC sweater and black yoga pants. Blue sneakers with leather trim to navigate the wet streets. My impromptu casual look apparently went well with the audience.
        Quien sabe?

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