Fashion: The Scourge of Middle Age


If you’re one of my young readers, especially my teenaged readers (I love you!), you can skip this post. The rest of you, please read on (with empathy, I hope).

I’ve never been into fashion, as anyone who knows me can tell you. I have my everyday jeans and my dressy jeans, and that’s about it. But each year, as I approach the season in which I’ll be making public appearances, I drag myself to the store to look for something to wear. That elusive something is getting harder and harder to find.

You see, I’ve reached this truly unjust age in which I must cover my arms to avoid scaring my audience, but I’m also at the age in which I’m simply too hot to cover my arms. It’s a dilemma!

So yesterday, I went shopping for a top that might meet my cover-my-arms need as well as my not-too-hot need. I scoured the racks in my favorite (well, I really don’t have a favorite. I am so not into this) clothing store. It took me about an hour, but I finally found about twenty contenders and carried them into the fitting room. (Yes, there was a little sign telling me I could only take six garments in with me, but no one was minding the store. Seriously, would you have taken in six at a time?). For half an hour, I tried on top after top. Too tight. Too loose. Nauseating color. And–most of the time–too hot. I gave up. I was piling the tops back into my arms when I noticed this balled up thing, someone’s discarded something or other, on the floor in the corner. I thought I’d be a good person and take it out with me, leaving the fitting room nice and tidy. I picked it up. The fabric was light and airy. The sleeves were 3/4 length. The color was a deep blue. The size. . . well, we won’t go into that, but it was my size. I dropped the other tops in a heap, whipped off my sweater and slipped into the most perfect going-out-to-meet-the-public blousy kind of thing ever.

Next time, I’ll check the floor of the fitting room first.  


  1. brenda on April 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Totally understand…totally…burn up half the time…but must cover the arms no matter what…never thought I would have these arms…alas…
    Bet you’ll look great.

  2. ronnie on April 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Usually when I dress up it involves black jeans instead of blue jeans.
    Your whole fitting room scenario sounds all too familiar except the ending. I usually walk out with nothing except a full fledged hot flash.

  3. Julie on April 3, 2009 at 1:51 am

    OH, if that top makes me look like that picture, I want one, too! Where do I go?! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I, too, have a range of jeans for life. But now that it’s nearing summer, I’ll also have a range of capris or lonnng shorts to choose from. Yay!
    For the home, I have a range of pajama and yoga pants! Yoga for dressy.

  4. Margo on April 3, 2009 at 7:58 am

    I’m laughing hysterically! Oh Diane, you’re too much! First of all, you look fantastic from what I’ve seen of pictures. Second, who cares anyway what someone else’s arms are going to look like? Way too much pressure is put on ladies and I’m one of these people who believe in COMFORT…also, I don’t like to shop except for the bookstore!
    Sounds like you found what you wanted Diane but I was going to recommend cotton…long sleeve or quarter length sleeves…and cotton BREATHES so you won’t get hot in the summertime.
    By the way, I love to wear short sleeves and I don’t care what my arms look like…(-O: (-O: (-O:

  5. Margo on April 3, 2009 at 10:28 am

    All kidding aside I have to say this…Diane, you are beautiful inside and out and it makes no difference what your arms look like. Inner beauty is what shines…

  6. Diane Chamberlain on April 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Margo, you’ve mentioned your daily swimming schedule here on the blog, so I know you simply can’t relate to the arm thing. We love you anyway.
    Now for part 2 of the saga. So last night I tried on my wadded-up-in-the-corner-of-the-dressing-room find. Adorable! I looked at myself this way and that in my bathroom mirror. That’s when I saw the giant weird stain/burn/whatever on the back left shoulder. It’s going back. The End.
    Then I did what I should have done from the start and would have done if I didn’t absolutely loathe going to the mall: I went to Chico’s. I collared a patient saleswoman named Cassandra, who put together two perfect outfits for me, with almost no pain whatsoever. (You do have to adore Chicos. Any store in which your size is a 1 or a 2, even though you know that’s just total fiction, is a wonderful store). I left there several hundred dollars poorer but so relieved. Now all I need to do is write a book!

  7. Margo on April 3, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I’m so glad this story had a happy ending Diane. I’ve never been to Chico’s but next time I need clothes (which might not be for another 6 months since I dislike shopping), I’ll checkout this store.
    You HAVE written a new book Diane…SECRETS SHE LEFT BEHIND!…and another WIP…I’d say that’s pretty amazing.

  8. Denise on April 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Diane, I laughed so hard at this blog entry because it sounded just like me! I hate shopping. I’m a jeans person, too. It is hard for me to find things that aren’t too young or too old. I’m not ready for floral housedresses yet, but I’m too old for minis. I usually have to take my daughter along to help make decisions; she is the only person I can count on to be honest.
    What a bummer about the top having a stain! I’m glad you found something you like, though.
    You always look absolutely perfect in your photos so maybe you need to stop worrying!

  9. Gina on April 4, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Am I the only shopper here? I LOVE to shop! I’m off to the mall any chance I can get. If you’re ever in need of a personal shopper Diane, I’m your girl.
    Seriously, you have always looked flattering in every picture I’ve seen of you.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on April 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Gina, I wish you lived closer!

  11. Hope on April 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    The picture of the model in the yellow dress and spike heels is not fair! How I loved those 4-inch ankle-straps when I had great legs! But, we weren’t talking about legs, were we?
    Remember when I used to take Bets shopping at Fair Oaks Mall. She’d enter one store, find exactly what she wanted, but insist on continuing through the ENTIRE MALL trying on at least 10 outfits in every store just to make sure she hadn’t missed something better! Six hours later, we’d head back to the first store and get her first choice, which gratefully she had asked the salesperson to put on hold.
    It’s so sweet now — she follows ME around the Mall, installs me in the various dressing rooms, brings me outfits to try on — critiques them, AND THEN PAYS FOR THEM more often than not!!
    Eat your heart out, girls! ๐Ÿ™‚

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