The New Fashion and the Art of Reclaiming the Waistline: Hello, is anybody listening?











I’ve waited for the past five, six, seven, eight years or so for this new fashion to go away, to just disappear, to fall off the globe so we who have lost our waistlines can go on happily with our merry lives. But it seems I have another year or another two more to go before someone thinks of another way of robing us women. Go into any department store now as the summer clothes are lined up on Clearance racks for some unsuspecting shopper to pick up, and you will find tons of little tiny-wennie blouses that are meant only for Barbie to wear. But if this is not too hard a nut to swallow, check out the styles- little tiny blouses with noodle straps and breast-fitting upper sections, with flair skirt-like bottoms that are supposed to hang down easily, that is, if you are thin and narrow and straight like a pin. If I am fool enough to purchase one of them, I will be just another woman walking around looking like she’s ready to have a baby.

Have you looked at the woman down the street, wearing her beautiful noodle strap blouse with its ready-made breast support already sown into it?

Have you been there when at the end of the year school closing, all the girls on honor roll are called up on stage one by one, and they walk up, looking as if they’re all expecting babies? Even the little girls who are a bit heavy set look like women who are far advanced with child.

What is this world coming to when we are all expected to wear clothing either too tight for the different involuntary curving of our aging bodies or too flair-skirty for us? But if that is not sufficient to bring us down to the level of the sixties, to bring us all down looking like expectant mothers, there is another fashion to go with the maternity looking tops: the tiny straight dresses with their sleeveless arms, the ones my mother wore when I was a little girl, and she thought she could still wear dresses. So how am I to jump into one of these after I’ve gone ahead and given this world four babies who are now becoming men and women? How am I, a professional woman who is working hard at trying to keep my tummy from bulging out, supposed to slip into one of those dresses or blouses without strapping up myself and my tummy to death?

I know some of you may disagree with me, and I welcome your objections. Maybe I am one of the boring non-fashionable freaks you’ve heard of, but don’t you think I have a point here?

I was at the mall two days ago doing the usual “mother-getting-her-kid-ready-for-college” kind of shopping. I had gone in there to shop for my seventeen year old son, Gee, who hates malls and shopping places, and will rather die than go shopping. Unless you threaten his life, he will not follow you to the mall, not particularly, a his mother, to the mall. So, to make matters easy on myself, I took his money and went shopping for comforters, oversized twin bed sheets, towels, and all the stuff a teenage son will forgive his mother purchasing on his behalf with his money. But like the real American shopperholic that I am becoming, I found the time to slip into the women’s area of the store. Mind you, the women’s section is downstairs in our mall here in Altoona, PA is downstairs, and the beddings are all upstairs in this big department store.

Here I was, trying to shop for myself as well, and an elderly woman next to me begins to complain about how ugly and disgusting today’s fashion is. I stopped to hear her talking to her daughter who seemed to be close to my age. “This fashion makes all of us look pregnant,” the elderly woman frowned.

“Disgusting,” her daughter laughed, and I smiled in their direction.

At that moment, I began to think, yes, these blouses and dresses are disgusting. Why did the fashion designers do such a thing to us women? What did we do to offend them?

Last week, I was out again shopping, this time, with my thirteen year old daughter, Ade. Ade, who is becoming a teenager like all the other teenagers in America had planned her shopping experience so well it involved a real community of shoppers. She and her girlfriends from school had decided they needed to all have a say in what sort of clothes they all will wear this year at school. So, two of her girlfriends wanted to know if it was okay for them to stop by the mall to help Ade out with her shopping.

I thought that would make an interesting experience for me to watch them help select Ade’s clothes, and then I would have the final say on what got bought and what got left at the store. I have learned that you don’t stop a thirteen year old girl from meeting with her best friends at the mall to help her out of her misery of shopping, especially, if you are going to be standing right there with them. But it was my money they were going to be planning for. So, to make them feel like they really had some power there, I said, “Great,” and so we all met at the mall.

Instead of only two other girls, there were three and another parent who also had a kick out of the girls walking around the store, trying to make a difference in one another’s lives.

All of these twelve and thirteen year olds were very slander, tall, and well proportioned little girls who would fit easily into the fashion I have been describing. So they shouldn’t have had any problems with the fashion- right?


One of the girl assistants decided she wanted to try on a blouse, one of the blouses that makes your tummy bulge out as if you’re going to have a baby soon. But this pretty little girl, already over five foot tall should have looked like a queen in the thing if the new fashion was really meant to make us look really “cool,” but hey, the girls were all screaming right after my daughter’s friend tried on the thing.

The sweet little thirteen year old that was slander and beautiful, even better looking than Barbie looks on a good day. But she and her friends could not stand the look of the thing on her. “I can’t believe this,” she screamed, brushing the thing away from her. It made her look like there was more than her little beautiful frame under the blouse, and she did not like what she saw.

So how am I to like such a blouse on me when a sweet, little thirteen year old can’t? Hello, is anyone listening to us women?

Look at the women in Hollywood as they walk up and down the red carpet, posing for us to stare at our TV screens for them. Is anyone watching them? Do they look really great in those maternity dresses? If the fashion were meant for them, why aren’t they looking so great in them? Or maybe I’m wrong here, please correct me.

But someone needs to stop this madness, and give us back our clothes, give us back our chests, our sleeves, and our waistlines. I mean, I lost mine after my fourth baby turned five and I went over the hill like I was supposed to, don’t look at me. Something suddenly happened to my waistline, and who cares, I have a life, and that is all that matters. But if you think that I am going to slip into one of those maternity blouses or dresses to help my invisible waistline, you’re joking.

I am waiting until this fashion goes away, until this madness goes away and someone begins to make clothing meant for us women. I have no plans to wear a blouse with some kind of elastic band under my chest. Someone invented bras to do that part, so why create blouses to look like they can hold up a woman’s chest? And all that noodle strap fashion that everyone is wearing- you will never see me walking down the road with any of that. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is listening to us women any more.

(All material on this site is copyright material, and cannot be reproduced without written permission or compensation: copyright: Patricia Jabbeh Wesley)


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