Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

What to wear


Forget the old rules about Easter or the spring equinox as the time to trade in winter clothes for spring. In Wisconsin, you need your Uggs and sweaters into May. So  yesterday’s 80 degrees found me clawing through the dresser drawers desperately seeking things with short sleeves and short legs. If you are no longer young—and even if you are but are also sensible--the first warm day is clothing panic day in Wisconsin.


I never found the shorts, so I rolled up my pants. And in a pique of optimism, I bought a defiant pink denim blazer. When it gets too hot outside, it gets too cold inside, and you never need much of an excuse for pink when it’s on sale, anyway.



Today it’s raining, of course. A very good day for going through the closet and jettisoning the ill-fitting, unworn, and too-raggedy-even-for-me things that pack it.


Black wool pants, too short. Out. White dress and filmy jacket, never worn: toss. It’s too long. Ditto grey pencil skirt.


Ah, but what about the jacket that goes with the skirt? It’s the perfect length for me (that is, too long for today’s style) and fitted nicely through the waist. And here’s that really expensive designer blazer, sharkskin; I feel like Lauren Bacall in it.


I will keep them and call them “vintage.” They both look great with black jeans.


Then I remember George Will’s column, Forever in Blue Jeans. Just last week, he declared that the wearing of denim and jeans by adults is a sign of national infantilism, or some such thing.  You’ll just have to read it yourself. I don't understand what blue jeans and Indiana Jones have to do with credit default swaps, myself, which must be why I'm blogging for Tosa and the world is reading Will.


To save America, Will declared, we need a course of drastic wardrobe remediation. "For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly."



For a fleeting moment I imagine myself in a girdle and grey satin sheath dress, my hair permed and rolled into soft waves, pearls at my throat, black high heeled pumps on my feet. At the County Grounds dog park, I greet one of the regulars in his immaculate white flannel trousers  and ascot. I remove my gloves and touch my hair flirtatiously as we discuss meeting later at the club for cocktails.


A pleasant enough reverie, if odd. Still, I just might keep the long taffeta skirt I bought for my 50th birthday. You just never know when you’ll need a multi-season outfit to wear to a ball. And I want to do my bit to rescue America from its long-held belief that people should live in some modest comfort.


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