I met my husband in the late 1980’s.
And while lots of important things happened in that decade (like the Cold War and all), I had more pressing concerns as I was living through a cultural renaissance.
In the fashion department, big hair reigned, skin-tight pants were cool, leg warmers were paired with any outfit, neon colors were in vogue, gigantic shoulder pads were deemed the height of style, and mini skirts had made a comeback.
Growing up in the small farm town of the Oley Valley, I was accustomed to guys who wore sweatpants and T-shirts or, for a very special occasion, they might don a flannel shirt and a pair of baggy jeans. And they sported sneakers all the time.
Imagine my surprise when I ventured over the mountain, down the other side into the metropolis of Fleetwood, and met my future betrothed. Fleetwood is slightly bigger than Oley, and marginally closer to New York City, so I can only surmise that fashion trends hit there before they make it over the hill.
The guy looked like he was straight out of Esquire—the 1980’s version, of course.
Picture a light pink Polo shirt—the collar turned up. Skinny yellow pants, the cuffs rolled (a precursor to a trend that is popular to day), no socks, and real leather shoes. I might add that he had a pretty even tan, too (shoulders and chest were the same color as his forearms). And he carried a money clip!
During our courtship I knew it was serious when he revealed his darkest secret to me—he had his store-bought pants tailored—he actually paid someone to make them fit just right.
Fast-forward twenty-seven years, two kids, multiple cities, various careers and the guy’s fashion sense took a turn—maybe a beating is a more accurate word choice.
Okay let’s just say it was annihilated.
For the last decade his favorite “dress up” outfit has been a short-sleeve black mock turtleneck (I’m not sure this type of shirt was ever in style) paired with oversized tan khakis—pants so big it looked like his backend had vanished or he was wearing a diaper.
Where did my trendy guy go?
We took vows, right?
For better. For worse.
In sickness and in health.
During good fashion sense and bad?
I finally had to tell him THIS!
And it was imperative because he was about to start a new job in which he was going to be the face of the company—certainly he needed to be a bit more in style.
He took the news pretty well.
And then he hightailed it to the mall. Actually, we both went.
We hit the Bon Ton and Joseph A. Banks. He bought several pairs of slim-fitting pants and dress shirts in modern colors.
One outfit at a time he’s stepping into 2017.
We’ve agreed that this is a long-term project as trying to right the fashion wrongs of several decades in one swoop would bankrupt us.
Still—he’s looking good.
Now we have to do something about the hair that’s missing from the back of his head.
Heather, you’re so mean! Stop making fun of your gentle-hearted husband.
Oh, don’t feel bad for him.
This is a guy who has no trouble telling me exactly how to style my hair. He’s gone so far as to try to brush and blow-dry my hair because he can’t understand why I am unable to recreate the stick-straight-just-left-the-salon look he loves so much.
The joys of a midlife marriage are unbounded.
It goes both ways baby.
But seriously—it’s an all out war—my husband and I against Father Time. It gets harder for us to look cool every day. The insistent gray hair, the feet that only like flats (cushioned sneakers preferred), the damn wrinkles appearing out of nowhere.
I just texted my sweetie. We have a great date night planned. And we’re both planning to dress to the nines.
Me—I’m wearing my terrycloth, leopard print loungewear with matching brown socks.
My husband’s navy blue cotton sweat suit is freshly laundered and ready to go.
We have two cozy blankets, two cats, popcorn, real Coke, and the remote control.
What did you think?
It’s not 1989!
We’re staying home and styling in front of the TV.
Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.
Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player
Read the first three chapters of my debut novel, WHAT THE VALLEY KNOWS, HERE. I hope you love it enough to want to buy the book. Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Black Rose Writing. Happy reading!
“A taut, compelling family tale.” Kirkus Reviews
Till next time,