A Skirt and a Safety Pin

The other day I was meeting a friend for lunch and decided it was time to start weaning myself out of my post-holiday uniform of stretchy leggings and oversized tops. Something about becoming a poster child for bad bathing suit photos this summer.

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Looking through my closet, I decided to pull out a gray wool tweed skirt and matching gray sweater trimmed in Irish lace that have always made me feel special when I’ve worn them.

I will admit to a certain trepidation in choosing this outfit, realizing that my Thanksgiving to New Year’s Celebration had crossed the boundaries of any healthy, calorie-counting, balanced-diet eating. Ok, perhaps “crossed the boundary” should read, “lept off the fat-laden, mega-calorie cliff,” but I digress.

I slipped on the sweater first and immediately felt beautiful as the lace collar fell perfectly into place and the ruffled matching cuffs softly caressed my hands. Next, I held the skirt up to my lower body and looked in the mirror.

Christmas cookies and egg nog be damned! I can still wriggle my way into this fitted a-line style.

With a sense of confidence, I stepped into the skirt and pulled it up to my waist—-whereupon I quickly realized that determination does not always jive with reality. Translation: the skirt’s zipper was seeming to be an unwilling participant in my clothing my body.

After some pleading, sucking in and struggling, the zipper and I finally came to terms as it raised almost all the way to the waistband. It was there my battle of the bulge turned to the almighty button that held my destiny in it’s tiny, round shape.

To shorten this angst, I will simply say that despite all pushing, pulling and breath-holding, the button and its partner button hole acted like the worst divorcing couple, refusing to reunite despite my best waistband mediation efforts. Finally i decided that I had two choices. 1) to wriggle my way out of the skirt and let my holiday eating binge claim victory or, 2) I could use my Irish tenacity and figure out how to beat this recalcitrant button and its button hole cohort.

Use the precepts of physics (of which, truthfully, I know nothing, but I do know how to jerry rig stuff) I pulled the skirt up a bit higher, above my waist, to a slimmer area of my body. There I was able to leverage the material on either side of the button and button hole to a reasonably close distance and bind them with a safety pin. Taking a few deep breaths and practice-sitting on a chair to ensure I would not suffer death by impalement on the sharp tip of a popping safety pin, I pulled the sweater down over my newly- formed waistband.

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Voila! The skirt and sweater combo looked perfect to the world. I would be the only one aware of the fashion disaster going on around my waist.

Truth be told, despite the fact that the outfit still looked good, I was disappointed I could not zip and button the skirt in its intended fashion. As I was berating myself for my slothful holiday eating habits, a voice —-whom I choose to deign as some version of my fairy godmother—- whispered softly in my ear.Good lord, woman, how long have you been wearing this outfit?

Pondering the question I began to do the math. In review, I could remember wearing it when I worked as a media consultant for the Erie County Legislature. That was around 2002. At was at this point that my fairy godmother started gabbing again in my ear, although not quite so kindly or softly this time.

So it’s more than 17 years since you first donned this lovely outfit and because it doesn’t still fit perfectly, you’re upset??? For heavens sakes woman, get over yourself!

So I did. I went to lunch with my friend and ordered a salad and some unsweetened iced tea, with the determination I would again be able to zip and fasten my skirt as it was intended.

And when my friend remarked how lovely and slim I looked, I simply smiled and said thank you—-and prayed that my safety pin was stronger than my healthy eating habits had been over the holidays.