Ah, summer. If you live in the UK like I do, summer is not something for which you hold your breath. Compared to a very large part of the world, summer is a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment. Despite the fickle nature of the weather in these climes, I persist with dressing for summer, shivers and all. Call me a masochist.
Hence, my quest for the perfect white t-shirt. This shouldn’t be difficult, you might say. T-shirts abound. You can probably buy a pack of them from American brand Fruit of the Loom for less than $10.
But the thing about a fashionable white t-shirt is that it has to be exactly the right cut to be flattering. It has to sit just so – a length that would look good left loose or tucked in. It has to serve multiple purposes, you see, and numerous occasions. The perfect white t-shirt could be dressed up or down, worn for cocktails or for lounging by the pool.
Perhaps you are now starting to see my predicament. Now let me add a little something else to the equation: my age. Somewhere north of 35, women have to start regarding the appropriateness of clothes. It’s a minefield.
Not only do you have to buy things that fit your changing shape, you also have to start thinking about whether this item of clothing makes you look like a desperate middle-aged person trying to reclaim lost youth. ‘Hey, look at me,’ some outfits scream, ‘I am down with the kids.’ It’s the old mutton-dressed-as-lamb syndrome.
So what I have realized in my quest for this t-shirt is that the whole entire fashion world is conspiring against women of a certain age. Do they think we are past the age of caring?
For the life of me, I cannot seem to find a white t-shirt that isn’t as transparent as a politician trying to wriggle out of difficult questions. They are so universally thin and wispy, a breath of wind would plaster them to your skin. And on certain days, just walking down the street in London is like being in a wind tunnel with lashing rain.
The result is that these t-shirts are not flattering at all, especially for women who no longer have stomachs like Rihanna. I am not particularly squishy around the middle, but I don’t think I can pull off this see-through look any more, not even on the hottest day of the year.
So what is a woman to do? I honestly despair. I finally broke down and bought one of these willowy shirts hoping for the best. But when I put it on in front of the mirror at home, I thought it made me look weird. It was as unforgiving as the Catholic Church in the Dark Ages.
Another joy of being 40. I’ll add it to the growing list of things. Can’t buy white t-shirts. Check!
I wonder what else awaits me around the corner, because what I have slowly realized – and forgive me if you know this already – is that the world is constructed around the needs and wants of the young. The younger, in fact, the better.
PS if you know where I can get a basic white t-shirt that isn’t frumpy or see-through, do tell.