Earlier this week I was sitting in a doctor's office waiting for my appointment. The ubiquitous large-screen television was on, tuned to a morning talk show. Normally I don't watch these, because my brain works best in the morning so that's when I write. But in this case I was a captive audience.
In my childhood, going to visit my grandmother in New York meant a frilly dress with petticoat, black patent leather shoes (always too small) and socks with lace trim, and white gloves (don't ask me why). Ladies who lunched wore hats at the table, and applying lipstick in public was considered crude.
I never saw my grandmother wearing a pair of pants. She wore a girdle and stockings to take out her trash (down the hall within her residence hotel). My mother wore pants: double knit polyester with elastic waistbands. I still have flashbacks when I walk into the Women's department at a big department store, because my mother is everywhere there. I wear blue jeans, often. It is beyond my imagination to picture either my grandmother or my mother in blue jeans.
But I'll admit it's a stretch for me to write about someone the age of my daughter (who has opted for a kind of classic retro style—button down shirts, cashmere cardigans, pencil skirts and the like). But I look at something like the popular HBO series Girls and what the protagonist there is wearing, and I go, huh? Is this fashionable, or is the young woman supposed to appear clueless? I have no idea.
And why are Betty White and I wearing the same clothes??