Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farewell Wanda

(General disclaimer: men, this post will bore you senseless. This is just between me and the girls, since they'll understand where I'm coming from on this, and you'll just fall asleep. You've been warned, so just click away now.)

I'm not really sure when or where it happened, but somewhere between the age of about 20 and now, I took a turn and found myself in a time warp when it comes to what ladylike means, and what ladylike looks like. Allow me to explain, if I can. This may come off as rather random so hopefully you can follow along. Hopefully I can too.

When I was younger, ladylike was my mom when she'd get dressed up to go out on a Saturday night. Not that she was sloppy or anything during the week, but during the week she worked in a toolroom in the ship yard so it was jeans, blouse and sensible, concrete-floor-proof shoes. On Saturday night though, out came the pretty dresses, the panty hose, the gorgeous high heels and the subtle shade of red lipstick, always matted for just a touch of color. Mom was just so pretty when she'd get "dressed up" and us three kids were always wowed when she'd come out of her room. Classy, elegant, ladylike.

Somewhere along the way though, ladylike seemed to drop out of our culture for the most part. As I grew up, our culture changed so much that what was once proper and acceptable in polite society became more and more outrageous. Either along the lines of what I call Hootchie Mama style (sleezy, trampy, too tight, too revealing, too low, too sheer, too high, too nasty), or along the lines of excessively casual which loosely translated is what I'll call Sloppy Poppy (nasty sweat pants, stained shirts, ragged old shoes). Granted there are certainly more styles than this in our modern culture but those are the two I see the most often. One I really like but that I don't see as often as I'd like is what I'd call Smart Casual. Maybe a pair of jeans topped off with a pretty blouse and cute, trendy shoes. My oldest daughter dresses this way. I often see a new top she's wearing and tell her "oh I love that, can I have it?" I have a friend not too far from here who also dresses this way and I just really like this look. Practical and comfy but still cute, feminine and stylish.

Somehow though, ladylike (class, style, elegance) has become seriously rare and even to this day I seldom see it. There are a few ladies in my church that pull it off every time I see them (in church or around town running errands) but beyond that it's a rare sighting. Lest anyone assume I'm pointing a nasty ole judgemental finger, I assure you I am not. Just today I was so convicted of this it isn't even funny. Not that it's funny in the first place, but you get my meaning I'm sure.

Part of what I do with my online shops after I'm done creating a new design, is write keyword rich descriptions and tags for the product so that someone going to google for example, can actually find the product. To see what I mean, type into your search bar "christmas memories avery binder with pretty ribbons". Your results might not actually be the same exact as mine, but when I type that in, my new Christmas binder comes up as the #1 link in that search. If you're searching from within zazzle however where that binder is located, the specific keywords are: christmas, memories, pretty, red, gold, ribbons, snow, flakes, christmas binder. Searching for those words or a combination of those words will also yield the same results. I want people to be able to find what they're looking for so specific, accurate tags and keywords are important.

Now, you're wondering why I explained all that, aren't you? It's pretty simple, really. I write these tags and keywords every day, to describe what I've created. It occured to me today, what kind of tags and keywords I'd have to accurately write to describe what I was wearing. Not that I was wearing any sort of outrageous or nasty stuff, but if I were to be accurate the keywords would have to be along the lines of casual, pants too short (all my pants are, it's a curse I've carried since I was 12), sweat jacket too big, ugly socks (I can't find thick ones that keep my feet warm that are also cute), old, faded purple t-shirt, over-stretched scrunchie. When I realized what the keywords would be for my own outfit, I was rather embarassed.

I'm not even sure when or how it happened, but I think in my shock and resistance to becoming either a Hootchie Mama or a Sloppy Poppy I sort of went off into some other weird style that might be called Whatever Wanda.

Well, I've decided today to ditch Whatever Wanda. For whatever reason that may be entirely in my own head, I don't see myself (personality wise) in the ladylike department, but I sure can see me in the Smart Casual department. Now I love t-shirts and will wear them until I drop, but from now on whenever I go out, even to run boring errands, Wanda is not going with me. I could get away with Whatever Wanda when I was 10, 15 or even 20, but I'm 46 years old in just a few months and it's high time I at least make an effort to grow up in the warddrobe department.

I'm looking forward to going through all my clothes and filling bags for the local Goodwill. I made a rather lame attempt at this a few years ago but became lazy and never really put much effort into it. This time it's different though. Farewell Wanda, it's time to leave you behind.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe