I have been pondering New York Times writer Cathy Horyn's fashion advice for days and I still can't decide what it all means.
"First go the knees, then goes irony," Horyn writes in the Styles section.
She's not talking about miniskirts or high heels or long hair, or any of the other clichéd ideas about what can and cannot be worn into middle age and beyond. She's talking about dressing "ironically."
"Sometime around age 50, women start to let go of certain ideas about themselves and fashion," Horyn writes. "Up until then you wear lots of silly or brash things and if you are reasonably fit and attractive or consistently daring, it doesn't really matter."
I have (technically) years to go before I am required to forswear "fashion's clever twists," according to Horyn's research, but sadly, I have no clue about how to use them. I had no idea the clock was ticking on my ability to wear knee socks with high heels, goofy hairstyles or vintage hats - and yet, I can't help but feel I am closing in on my peak irony years. How ironic is that?
Worse is the recognition that I have never had any inclination whatsoever toward wearing things like that; I don't own a single vintage hat for example. I can't really take credit for the accidental ironies; the red underwear under the flouncy dress on the first day it was warm enough to walk around Chicago with any skin showing. "Finally!" I said, just before my dress blew up to my armpits the first time, "I can see my own skin again."
They call it "the windy city" but "the city where you're going to need a little bit of weight in your hemline" would have been more helpful.
Leggings might be the obvious solution, but I don't have a lot of time left for anything so obvious, so conventional, so sincere.
Photo: Ladybug tablecloth weight from Always Brilliant.com. Discontinued.