Falling shorts

There are a lot of reasons that I look forward to the fall – it means that my favorite holiday of the year – Thanksgiving – isn’t far off, the return of the rainy season will turn the parched brown hills to a vibrant green, and chilly temperatures mean that when people get dressed they put on more clothes and show off less skin.

There’s just no way to talk about this and not sound judgmental. There are some people who look good in camisoles, super-short shorts, and flip flops…and then there is everyone else over the age of 14.

Some of my judgment comes from my own self consciousness about my appearance as I’ve gotten older. I don’t like looking at my own crepey skin sagging above my knees or my crooked arthritic toes – why would anyone else?

Yet in the summertime, you can’t go out in public without seeing a lot of lumpy body parts that would look much more attractive under a layer or two of fabric.

As a fan of the TLC show “What Not to Wear,” I think most people dress they way that they do because they don’t really know how they look. In one of the early segments of every show, the woman who has been selected for the fashion intervention puts on one of her favorite outfits and goes into a closet-size room with 360 degree mirrors. Most of them are shocked to see how they look from all sides – especially from the back.

Who of us doesn’t hate trying on clothes for that same reason? We go into the dressing room and are faced with the truth of the squishy masses of pale flesh that are our thighs reflected back at us in the mirror. Ack!!! No wonder that it’s so easy in the summer to throw on something stretchy and avoid looking in the mirror altogether.

There is also the fact that most summer clothes aren’t flattering to anyone who isn’t a size 2. Whoever started marketing Capri pants to mature women should be permanently exiled to the isle of Capri. When I was growing up, pants that ended a few inches below the knee were called pedal-pushers, so named because they were short enough that your pant leg wouldn’t get caught in the chain when you were riding your bike.

I think they should have stayed a fashion statement for elementary school age girls. Is there anything that makes a middle-age woman look squattier and shorter than having her pants stop at the widest part of her calf? And just in case the bottom half of doesn’t look large enough, 90 percent of Capri pants are sold in glacier white.

It’s not any better for men. Droopy shorts, knobbly knees and boxy faux Hawaiian shirts. Unless you’re actually in a tropical location, there are very few men who can pull off wearing shorts and still look like a grown up.

So I’m ready for the temperature to drop so we can bring on the sweaters, long pants, scarves and jackets. But please – no leggings worn as pants on anyone born after 1988.

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