Opinion » The Rant

Fashion Backward

The perils of poolside couture.

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ABELENA | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Abelena | Dreamstime.com

I haven't watched morning news shows in several years, mainly because if I wanted to see two middle-aged women sitting around getting drunk, I'd invite a friend over. Also, there doesn't seem to be any news anymore. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I like my morning news to tell me if we went to war with North Korea overnight or if Greece still exists. KIDDING! Seriously, the only reason I don't watch all 17 hours of the Today show is because the TV is inconveniently located. If there's an important news story, SVU will do a storyline about it within a few weeks.

Yesterday, I watched a feature on what to wear poolside. Now, admittedly, I might not have been the target audience for the piece. I don't dress to be seen poolside. I dress to be invisible. The surest way to do this is to wear a swimsuit with a skirted bottom and have your coverup be something like a T-shirt from a 1991 SAE mixer. Or, in my case, any number of formerly-white peasant-style blouses covered in paint and live-bait stains and a nylon fishing hat from Eddie Bauer.

I no longer have the time or energy to stage a fashion show to get in a pool, and certainly not a lake, but I was intrigued by the feature, because the Style Expert they had on was costumed, and the first outfit they showed involved a blazer. Maybe "costumed" isn't a fair term. She had on a little Pucci-inspired shift and giant white glasses on her head. She looked like what you'd want to look like poolside. She looked cool, pulled-together, color-coordinated. She looked like a woman who would not sweat while trying to haul four beach chairs, a cooler, and three toddlers down to the water's edge. Obviously, I hated her immediately and watched the rest of the segment strictly to mock her.

So, shorts and a blazer poolside is a thing. Because you'll be wearing a "pleat short" you won't need jewelry, OBVIOUSLY. Jewelry with pleats? Sure, with pleated mom jeans! Okay, first? No. Second? A BLAZER? BY THE POOL? Admittedly, her reasoning was sound: You have the shorts as a swim coverup and then you toss on the blazer for — get this— what she calls "après pool." Just like après ski. You know this because she says, "just like après ski."

I don't know what skiing has to do with being poolside in the Brooks Brothers Pool Bound Business Collection™, but I am out of the fashion loop. Nowhere was this more evident than in showing a great poolside outfit for pregnant gals. The model had on a cute maxi dress with an incredibly unfortunate print that looked like an abstract crayon resist done by an unmedicated ax murderer. The model wore a fabulous wide-brimmed sun hat. You know why? If you guessed to keep the sun off her face, you are so wrong you're probably still wearing high-waisted sailor jeans from last summer. When you're pregnant? No. When you "have a nice, beautiful belly to celebrate," you'll want to "counterbalance proportionally" with a hat. WHO KNEW? Also the maxi keeps you cool, because "it's very breezy. It almost creates an internal whirlwind inside." DUH.

They also showed a cute little strapless shift. I say "little" because it was from Banana Republic and their entrances are decorated with pressure-sensitive doormats, so if you weigh something ridiculous like a triple digit, this giant spring shoots up and catapults you over to the food court. But they give you a coupon to Auntie Anne's, so there's that.

I'm sure if I had to sit on the set and come up with three minutes worth of descriptions for swim coverups, I'd be a blithering idiot and come up with stupid phrases, but what is it with fashion people? You don't wear pants, but a pant. It's not a pair of shoes, it's a statement shoe, and everything is set off by a smoky eye and a nude lip. This is why models are so thin. They're trying to lose body parts so the descriptions are accurate. Damn you, fashionistas!

I was, however, inspired. I was at my favorite boutique (Target) yesterday, and I bought a maxi dress. I'm looking to create an internal whirlwind to keep me cool. I'm hoping my accountant will let me claim that Consumer Energy Efficiency tax credit for it. Also, I a maxi will cover my ankles, which tend to stay the size of watermelons from April to October. I am undaunted by the fact that my arms have seen neither tone nor tan since before Bill met Monica. I'll celebrate a large, pale upper arm by counterbalancing with a chunky wedge sandal and a gimlet eye.

Susan Wilson also writes for likethedew.com and yeahandanotherthing.com. She and her husband Chuck have lived here long enough to know that Midtown does not start at Highland.

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