dressing my age


I bought this dress in 2003 from a store that caters to teens. I had just turned 20, so I felt I could still enter such an establishment without the security sirens going off and alerting all patrons that an old woman had just arrived.

But setting off the I’m Too Old to Be Here is pretty much what happened when I visited the store back in August while I was shopping for Blogher conference clothing. What would be the harm in entering a store geared toward females 10-15 years younger than I am, whose bodies haven’t been marred by childbearing and souls haven’t been jaded by the working world and what happens when the first white hair appears?

I went in and the young store clerk looked behind me like she had expected my teenage daughter to be tagging along. She was not ready to assist a full-grown, bewildered woman.

She still greeted me cheerfully and then asked if I had ever been there before.

I answered yes, but then I rattled her with an honest, “It’s been eight years, though.”

“Oh.” She replied softly. Because I’m sure eight years ago she was in grade school, crafting swirling glittery crayon homages to her #1 Mom and Dad or filling out her unicorn diary with passages on how she loves bright colors and the Disney channel.

I asked her where the dresses were and she pointed me to a rack of dresses that had as much coverage and transparency as a threadbare pillowcase. They were nice, but clearly not for a woman, even if there were sophisticated touches like a bow or sequins.

I left empty-handed, which I’m sure the salesgirl had predicted. They usually can tell how much someone will spend and I can imagine she and the other salesgirls were placing bets on how long this lady would stay. Whoever said 10 minutes needs to give me her cut.


I pulled out the dress this weekend when I spent a wonderful evening with Drew and Emily who were both so kind to appeal to my needs of being hit on by ANYONE (I take it where I can get it!) and working these cut out sleeves like the Chinese factory where they were likely sewn in had intended. We drank and I danced with one of Drew’s boyfriend’s friends who pumped his arms wildly in a series of moves I can only describe as: “search and rescue.”

I was winged and working it, thanks to two sweet wingwomen who never made me feel I was too old, only that this dress was too awesome to call it an early night.

I got home after midnight, tucking away this good time in the diamond cut-out sleeves, as if the spandex split and stretched to fit the spirit of a woman who hasn’t given up yet, who runs interminably on a treadmill just to look in the mirror and say, “Not bad for two kids.”

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  1. Mona, you look GREAT!!

  2. You look awesome in that dress! Anyway, stores geared to teenage girls suck because everything is made to fall apart in less than six months so parents have to keep spending their money. Although, admittedly, I think American Eagle qualifies as a teenage store and I buy all of my jeans and sweatshirts there.

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