Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The working life with engineers: The clothes wouldn't have fit but at least the engineers wouldn't have noticed
I have a warning for you. When a dress says, "Dry clean only," sometimes, it's true.
Oh sure. For many items, it's perfectly ok to wash them by hand in the sink.
But rayon shrinks.
So if your dress has rayon in it, I would suggest trusting the dry clean only recommendation and paying to have the dress dry cleaned.
"Oh yeah Miss Smarty Pants?" you are asking. "Who are you to tell me how to wash my clothes? I have been on the rodeo before, you know. I have washed clothes."
I am the person who has washed the rayon dress (oh! rayon will shrink even when dry cleaned! but not so much as to be unwearable) by hand and Paid The Price.
I want to save you from the same fate.
(I also want to know when manufacturers stopped pre-shrinking fabric, those cheap so and sos. When I used to sew my own clothes, the first thing I had to do was buy more fabric than the pattern said and then run it through the washer and dryer before cutting the pattern out. You want any shrinking to happen before you cut and sew, not after.)
Here's how it goes.
1. You find a great Ann Taylor pink dress that is suitable for work on eBay. You buy it. You wear it all the time because it is so comfy and so cute and you get compliments when you wear it. It never wrinkles because it has some lycra in it, but it is not tight and form fitting, so it is suitable for you body that has never really been the right body for tight and form fitting.
2. You wear the dress all the time.
3. You decide, Hmmmm. This dress needs washing. You wash it in the washer in the delicate cycle because when have you ever had to take clothes to the dry cleaner? Never. That's when. You do not buy clothes that need 1. ironing or 2. dry cleaning because you are 1. lazy and 2. cheap.
4. You hang the dress to dry in the basement. You get a new job and switch your wardrobe a little bit. It becomes winter and you wear winter clothes, which the pink dress is not.
5. It is approaching spring or at least the cats are shedding and that gives you hope that some day the bleak midwinter, aka death, will end and there will be signs of life outdoors and there will be light before you go to work and after you come home from work. You cannot wait for those days. Maybe - just maybe - the snow will leave.
6. You wear the pink dress to work. At home, when you put it on, you think, "This dress feels shorter than it did last year. That is odd." But there is no way for you to tell because you do not have a full-length mirror in your house.
7. You wear the dress to work and walk into the ladies' room, which does have a full-length mirror, and look at yourself. Full length.
It is short.
It is a lot shorter than it was.
It is 1. too short for work and 2. too short for a woman of a certain age.
Lamb, meet mutton.
Does anyone know that saying any more? Are there ewes that try to pass themselves off as lambs in the sheep world? I know there are in the human world. I don't want to be one of those. Stacy and Clinton always say to wear clothes that fit and to be age appropriate. Can you even buy mutton? I don't know - I would avoid it because I don't like gamy flavors and mutton, unless it is part of a gyro, is not to my taste. But then I suppose anything would taste good drenched in yogurt-dill sauce.
You look at yourself in the mirror and mourn your lost youth and mourn all the time wasted in those stupid little navy suits with the bowties and cotton blouses that had to be ironed, but that was the zeitgeist.
The first day I wore a dress to work instead of a suit, one of my female co-workers came into my office (also the zeitgeist - if you were some kind of professional, you had a door. I now, years into my career, have the worst working space I have ever had and that includes my time as a Peace Corps volunteer) and asked if I was sure that I didn't want to go home and change into a suit. I was really rocking the boat by wearing a dress.
You also mourn the skin on your legs - not that you can see it because it is encased in fleece-lined tights - and the days when you could wear a skirt that short and not hope that nobody would see you.
I am the same weight I was in high school. I am probably more fit or at least as fit now as I was then. Then, I went to swim practice every day after school. Now, I work out almost every day. I either run or do the stairstepper or work with weights and I make myself sweat - but everything is looser than it was.
I wasted my chance to wear cute dresses with hems four inches above the knee. Those days are gone forever.
You take the dress to the consignment store. Goodbye lamb.