Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Button, Button, Where the F#@*'s My Button?

For the most part, hitting that safe middle ground between dressing like a slut and dressing like a prude is not terribly difficult. There's a lot of room to maneuver there. There is, for example, a lot of possible variations on skirt hem lengths in the safe-zone between peek-a-boo to dragging-on-the-ground-behind-you. There's plenty of differentiation space between clothes so tight the wearer can be safely left in the freezer for up to six months without fear of freezer burn and so loose you risk harboring the homeless in a sort of tent-city of one.

Even in accessories, there's ample safe territory: my grandmother never once reached for her pearls only to find herself later at a ladies luncheon sporting a studded dog collar. Makeup? Easy. Don't apply with a trowel to avoid sluttiness; don't carry a bucket of cold water and a scrub brush made of horse hair to scour the Stain of Whoredom off of other women, and you'll successfully avoid the other extreme.

The only exception to this rule, for me anyway, is the buttons down the front of the average blouse. First of all, the word "blouse" is horrible, like "purse" and "panty"--these are ugly words. OK, maybe that's just me.

But the way that buttons are arranged on your standard blouse-front makes no sense at all. Either you have Strangulation Level (also known as the Jehovah's Witness Come-to-Jesus button) or Sluttastic, the button that generally comes in at just level with the nipples and then gapes open anyway. The expanse of shirt-front between these two buttons is a fastener desert. There are no options here other than application of some gack-worthy brooch you inherited from a maiden aunt. What the hell, people?

For those who know me personally, you know that the only time anyone can properly and without losing an eye refer to me as "conservative" is in the way I dress. I tend to err on the prudish, leaving the sluttery for others more equipped and capable. I cannot wear button-down shirts! I spend the entire day either tugging open the neck so I can breathe, or tugging the shirt down in the back so I can't spend the day watching that freckle next to my bellybutton and worrying if it's a slightly different, pre-melanoma color today and nor can anyone else.

I'm wearing a zipper-front sweater today. Every time I cross my arms, I have to stifle a yip from the cold zipper track inside touching my skin, but at least there's not an actual draft. I have a large pile of turtlenecks for all seasons. Could someone, please, make a button-down shirt for women that has actual buttons on it? You know that one that you put in the little, plastic, Ziplock-type baggie affixed to my price tag? Maybe you could put that on my shirt instead.


NuclearToast said...

I was going to say something, but then I hit the bit about the freckle next to your belly button and now I... what was I saying?

Tony Easton said...


Lynn Sinclair said...

I so agree. I've decided that most shirts (AKA blouses) are made for big-breasted, broad-shouldered women.

CJ said...

Sometimes a little cleave is ok, especially around the time when bosses are determining raises for the year...

But most times I just wear a tank top underneath.