Iíve never been on the cutting edge of fashion. In junior high I didnít have the IZOD shirts or Bass penny loafers that all the girls in the cool crowd wore and today, whatever is in style Iím pretty sure Iím not wearing it. But I can say that Iíve conducted my own fashion show over the years, even if what I wore was popular only to me. Letís take a look:
Walking shorts and knee socks. Heck, Iíd still favor this today if I could find walking shorts anymore and it might explain why John Parker wears shorts in the winter time.
Hats. I had a whole slew of hats and I loved being the only woman in the room wearing one. Eventually I gave them all away and I can honestly say Iíve never regretted donating anything Iíve owned to the Salvation Army ó except for my hats.
The white shirt phase was very short-lived because this was in the days before no-iron shirts and having to iron everything I wore was not going to get it. But I will say that there is nothing quite like a crisp white shirt. Or a flouncy, breezy one that looked like something from a period film. Sigh ...
The whatever-fits-and-doesnít-have-John Parker-spit-up-on-it phase was also short but in the time it lasted, my clothes were pretty much trashed and the spitty smell just never came out. I donít miss that phase.
My style today is what the boys call, ďBlack, White and GreyĒ aka ďDevoid of Color.Ē Frankly I think this is a genetic thing because if you open my motherís closets there is a sea of black worthy of a good widow in days of yore. Only sheís neither a widow nor living in days of yore.
As graduates of the Color Me Beautiful craze from the 80s, however, we know we are Winters and that black, white and grey are ďourĒ colors. Although I laughed when a woman in our session said, ďI need to know what color refrigerator I should get so Iíll look good when I stand next to it,Ē I now have a stainless steel one as any good Winter would.
I doubt Iíll outgrow this current phase any time soon because Iím just plain comfortable with it. And yes, the junior high schooler in me also pipes up with ďAnd youíre just plain plain, too!Ē So be it. I always was more comfortable being a wallflower. Probably fits my preference for introversion as well.
So imagine my surprise when I hit on something that might be a mini-phase ó fingernail polish. Back in the fall, several women at work were sporting the multi-colored nail look and I thought that perhaps I, too, could have cool nails. (Insert wild laughter soundtrack).
Winters shouldnít wear gold, but Homecoming was just around the corner and the school colors are blue and gold, so I had to break the rules a bit. After nearly 30 minutes of debating over various bottles, I finally made my decision on the shades of blue and gold polishes and got to work. Disaster is a strong word for it, but my attempt at cool nails was definitely a major fail. The thick as tar blue polish seemed to be as much on my cuticles and skin as it was on my nails. Attempts to remove the blue resulted in tears and the blue smears on my hands made them look like they were losing circulation.
Eventually, with the help of paint thinner and brillo pads, my nails and skin were finally blank slates for the next round ó just gold. Despite it not being ďmyĒ color, I liked it. And if gold worked so well, then silver, the color of Winters, would be even better, right? Iím wearing silver polish today with my black and grey outfit and it looks great. I could get used to this.
I know that the multi-colored nail look doesnít work for me and I will admit to a twinge of junior high envy that Iím still not in the cool crowd of women who can pull that off, but thatís okay.
Itís a simple thing really, to paint my nails, but I do feel a little special when I look down at those glistening tips and next time Iím in Target, Iím sure Iíll wander by the nail polish section, just to see whatís new.
Susan Epps of Johnson City is an associate professor in East Tennessee State Universityís Department of Allied Health Sciences and director of the ETSU 1000 University Seminar Program.