With summer in full swing, my mind is occupied with all the outdoor activities I get to partake in: beach hangs at Sauvie Island, drinking iced coffee outside with a book, wearing oversized sun hats, beer fests, long hikes, dog walking, etc. etc.
And every morning this summer as I’ve prepared for the day, my fingers have hovered over the shelves storing summer wardrobe, hesitant to delve into stacks of floral prints and tourist tees and the unavoidable…shorts.
Shorts have been a sore spot for me as long as I can remember. As a tween I exclusively wore Old Navy Bermuda shorts because I wasn’t sure how to dress for warm weather as a budding adolescent, unsure of what looked good on me (Bermudas certainly didn’t) and what size fit me at that awkward in-between stage. And then I got older, and Bermudas were too long and ugly, but everything else was too short or not my style. There was one summer I remember wearing ripped jeans nearly every single day. Why? I don’t know. But it happened, and I was miserable.
Before high-waisted shorts were a full-fledged trend, I was making my own from unflattering high-waisted pants from the thrift store. If felt amazing to make something that looked so horrible on me into something that looked so flattering. It took a while. I broke quite a few sewing machine needles. I made a few pairs a little too short on accident.
And now they’re everywhere, and I’m buying massive amounts of them while stores still stock them, dreading the inevitable day when it won’t be cool anymore to wear shorts up to your boobs anywhere outside of Coachella or Sasquatch.
I’ve been hanging on to the high-waisted shorts trend for as long as I can because they look good on me. I have long legs for a relatively short person, so I think they flatter my figure and accentuate my waist. But I’m 25 now, and at times I feel like I’m getting too old for trends that are popular among college students and recent high school graduates. But it’s a weird trend. Because isn’t the high waist evocative of mommy jeans and fanny packs? Isn’t it kind of an old-person style? Aren’t I getting old(er)? Should I buy a fanny pack? Do I need to stop posting Throwback Thursdays and taking selfies?
I feel like I’m reaching that awkward in-between stage again. I don’t like it. I’m not freaked out about getting old—I could care less about wrinkles and gray hairs and stretch marks. But my mind is constantly turning over what is appropriate for my age. I’m torn between “dress like a goddamn adult” and the mentality of “wear what you want and what you feel comfortable/look good in, and also maybe you could stop taking so many selfies and pictures of your food? That would be cool.” Maybe working in the grocery industry is to blame for this—I saw way too many moms emulating their teenage daughters’ wardrobes, and I vowed to dress for my age as I get older.
And that’s the problem with being a woman when it’s unbearably hot out: you get scorned for short shorts and wearing bathing suits in public — we even do it to other women (see above paragraph). Our options are limited. How am I supposed to avoid sunstroke and get an even tan while wearing long shorts and a t-shirt? How is anyone? Riddle me that.
Sacrificing self-confidence and self-comfort for age appropriateness in public feels like a copout. I shouldn’t feel too old to dress comfortably for 100-degree weather. I should wear cutoffs and a crop top if I feel like it (weather permitting). I should dress like a tacky ‘90s tourist if I want to (and I do, oh I do). I should wear a crochet bikini top and maxi dress if I want! (I don’t really want to, but the option’s there if it should strike my fancy.)
The thing is, styles slowly burn out—only to be replaced by another trend that will endure its own slow burn into the past. Then it will return (Hello, bellbottom jeans I saw at Target last week.), quietly at first, and then with a roar. And if you like it, why not keep wearing it, and enjoy it despite the fluctuation of what’s on-trend? Why isn’t it ok to be like the mom who still proudly wears scrunchies 10 years after the fact? (Hi, Mom!) It should be. I want it to be.
There’s not much left for me to do except strap on my fanny pack and stockpile high-waisted shorts like they’re going out of style, which is inevitable. They will. And I will be the girl with the biggest hoard, struggling to fit into my five-sizes-too-small shorts when they come back into style 20 years from now.
You can bet my future 45-year-old fat ass on it.