You’re Wearing That? Dressed up for Fashion Court
by Nadja Maril
“You’re wearing that?” asked my 11-year-old daughter.
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I asked nervously. I was all dressed up to go to an arts reception.
Ten minutes earlier, I had stepped out of the bathtub, slipped into my panty hose, fluffed up my hair, selected my jewelry and buckled the straps on my high heels. I was wearing my purple suit, the one I call my power suit, purchased several years ago on sale at Nordstrom. In the mirror I thought I looked good, smooth, professional.
“Well, that top is too loose. It doesn’t go. It’s an Ahni isn’t it? She always designs her clothing so loose,” Alex judged.
“It’s the only black top I own dressy enough to go with the suit. It’s just a shell, a classic. What do you mean it’s too loose?”
“You’re thin, Mom. Why do you insist on wearing loose clothes that don’t show off your figure?”
“But I’m going to be wearing the suit jacket,” I explained. “No one is going to see if my black top is tight or loose.”
She shrugged and settled onto the couch instead of gathering her instrument and music and loading them into the back of the station wagon. My plan was to drop her off for her string orchestra rehearsal before heading to my event at Quiet Waters Park.
“Why does everyone insist on wearing everything Ahni to every artsy thing you attend? Can’t they wear something else?”
Now it was my turn to shrug. I was too wound up — Would I deliver Alex to her rehearsal on time? Was the exhibit I had been working on still hanging at Quiet Water’s Visitor Center? — to get into a discussion.
Yes, I had been wearing a lot of Ahni creations lately, including a lovely blue silk ensemble. Yes, I had worn it to an arts fund-raiser at Maryland Hall. Ahni is a local designer, who makes hand-painted unique garments, and I like to support her work.
Discussions about my clothing — as well as about what my daughter is wearing — lately escalate into heated debates. She doesn’t like my blouses tucked in. “It makes you look dorky,” she says.
She and her older two brothers in college and law school have encouraged me to wear retro pants, sitting on the hips, as opposed to pants fitted to the waist, which my daughter characterizes as old lady pants.
“Those new pants are cool,” my middle son Chris tells me approvingly.
Meanwhile my daughter will only wear tight hip-huggers. With her slight figure, it is difficult to find clothes that fit correctly. If a shirt is long enough, coming below her hips, it is seldom narrow enough. She wants everything fitted. We spend hours shopping and if we do find something, I am forced to pay top dollar. For my own clothes I gravitate to the clearance rack.
While my daughter may not have endorsed my choice of attire, colleagues at the reception told me I looked great and admired my purple suit along with the sculptured gold necklace. It looked striking on the background of the plain black top.
“How was orchestra rehearsal?” I asked her when I got home at nine o’clock.
“Oh it was okay. Did your thing go okay?” she asked.
“Yes, and people liked what I was wearing.”
“Oh mother. It was just my opinion. You always take what I say too seriously.”
Nadja Maril, current president of the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, reflects from Annapolis. This is her first work in Bay Weekly.