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Is Nudism the Answer?

by Laura W. Haywood


When I was a girl -- back in the days when Elvis was discovering that guys could bump and grind, too -- getting dressed was fun.

Clothes were pretty in those days. I can still remember some dresses I loved:

white linen sleeveless sheath with a blue and aqua silk jacket and matching bow at the neck

black lace over pink net evening dress with a pink cummerbund that tied in a huge bow in the back

a charcoal-gray princess-styled wool dress.

And you knew what sort of thing to wear, because there were rules for dressing. You wore a hat (or a veil with a bow that sat on top of your head) for weddings, funerals, church, job interviews, and formal teas. You wore gloves whenever you went out: lined black kid for winter, white cotton for summer, and above-the-elbow white gloves with a formal dress. You wore a suit for work and lunch with the girls. You wore a dress for dinner, a date, or the theatre. You dressed up for the theatre and dressed up even more for the opera.

You gave a lot of thought to accessories -- your gloves matched your hat and your purse matched your shoes -- and wanted people to know you'd done your best to look good.

But it's all different now.

I remember when I first realized that none of the rules applied any longer. I was invited to the wedding of a friend's son. It was an early evening candlelight ceremony with a reception at a country club. I wore a taupe chiffon knee-length dress with a beaded Peter Pan collar and cuffs. And the only one more dressed up was the bride. The mother of the groom wore a plain cotton dress. And at least half of the guests were in blue jeans and t-shirts.

I haven't given up completely -- I still try to look my best, but it's so much harder now, because you have to look as if you didn't try at all. You're supposed to look as if you grabbed the first thing in the closet and the colors just happened to go together.

It's okay if your belly-button shows; it's okay if your clothes are torn, and it's okay if you have pieces of metal in weird parts of your body that also show. Even the designers have failed us. I saw an ad a year or so ago for a dress that was designed to show your panties. It's been so long since I've worn a dress I don't even know what my size is. I do my best but these days, I never hit the mark. I'm always too dressed up or not dressed up enough.

And if I still had that white sheath with the blue and aqua jacket and bow (and if I could fit in it), I'd wear it and not give a hoot who knew I loved it.


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