Fashion makes no sense to me anymore | News, Sports, Jobs


Darby Hinkley


Fashion. What is it, and why?

If you look at me in my pink plaid flannel basic button-down shirt that’s half-casual, half-professional (at least in Alpena), I obviously do not know what I’m talking about when it comes to fashion.

I just have to wonder what I’m “supposed” to be wearing nowadays, even though it appears to me, as I look around my tiny world, that anything goes? Or does it depend on my age? Or just my confidence level? Because if that’s it, then color me confident in a Foo Fighters T-shirt and the nearest, cleanishest pair of high-waisted stretchy ankle jeans with a little bit of rippage, but not so much that I’m basically wearing shorts that go all the way down. That’s just dumb.

I mean, I see 19-year-olds in shorts that look like half a swimsuit bottom, and they’re out there killing it, I guess. Oh yeah, and usually just a sports bra (worn as a shirt?) on top, as though every day is a day at the beach. Am I super old, or is this acceptable in public now?

It’s like there are no rules now. When I was in high school and college, I wore baby T’s and mini-skirts, too. But I feel like every year, there’s less and less fabric. If you look up jean shorts online, you will be very surprised to find that they range in length from literally a thong to bermudas, and everywhere in between. Some of these shorts make Daisy Duke look like a prude.

But enough wishing I was young enough to wear inappropriate clothing.

Back to the question, what on Earth should I be wearing? Is there an app for this? Oh wait, I forgot I had a brain, and AI just makes me not use it so the robots can take over the world faster as we de-metamorphosize back into globs of cells and prepare for the digital apocalypse, which is already here, and we are in a simulation. Dear robots, can you write a better column than this? Of course you can. Anyone can.

Digression is my middle name. So, today, I am wearing a loose-fitting denim button-down shirt, olive green ankle-length khakis, and brown combat boots. I always wear earrings and rings, too, so I have on peace sign dangle earrings, a cross ring on my right hand, and my wedding set on the other.

To quote Will Ferrel in “The Other Guys,” to his strikingly beautiful wife, Eva Mendes: “Look, if I put that in my Cosmo Fashion App, you’d probably get a D-.”

Oh, and I’m wearing a Fitbit, too, to calculate all the steps I’m not getting by sitting like a lump at my computer. They need to make a finger Fitbit for writers that calculates how many words you typed that day. I’d win that marathon.

I just Googled, “What should a 42-year-old woman wear?” Guess what popped up? Denim shirts that look exactly like the one I’m wearing. Ha! So, either other 42-year-olds wear the same stuff as I do, or enough of us have no idea what we’re doing that we’re breaking Google in desperation.

One thing I know for sure is I’m not taking fashion advice from my husband. Love the guy, but he’s 38 and dresses like he’s 83. Anytime he leaves the house without my prior outfit approval, I get nervous. One day, years ago, he came home wearing a classic blue oxford (acceptable on its own, but wait for it…), a greenish gray houndstooth sport coat (somewhat grandfatherly, but I’ll allow it…), and a RED SATIN NECKTIE that looked like he stole it from a prom supply warehouse. I didn’t even get to the pants. I don’t even remember the pants. The pants don’t matter.

The conversation went like this: “Oh my expletive. What are you wearing?”

“What do you mean? This looks nice, right?”

“Ummmm… You didn’t go anywhere important today, did you?”

“Well, I had a photo shoot for an in-house ad at work.”

Radio silence. What’s done is done.

“Is there something wrong with this outfit?”

Uproarious laughter, peppered with moments of defeated sobbing.

OK, I might be exaggerating for dramatic effect, but you get the point.

My hubby wears fedoras (he has about 25 of them), cardigans aplenty, some with elbow patches, and many a thing that does not pass the Darbina Fashionista test, not that I even have a clue at all. He calls his style “Hobo Chic.” I call it “Grandpa’s Laundry.”

But, the point is, really, he likes his style, so being that he’s an adult and all, he has every right to wear what he feels cool and comfortable wearing, and so does anybody else.

I’m not about body shaming, or clothing shaming of any sort. I have my opinions, but we all know if we were 19 again, we wouldn’t give half a crap what some 42-year-old thinks of our hot little outfits.

The one trend I can hop on board with is the baggy sweatpants look. Granted, they somehow look better on the younger folks. I walked out in sweatpants at my brother’s house a few months ago, and he said something like, “Hey there, Frumpy McFrumperton!” I laughed and continued being comfortable. “Let me take you to Frumpy Town!”

Wondering what to wear? Wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable, whether that includes a lot or just a little fabric. The most important thing is that your clothing represents who you are, and you are uniquely designed to express yourself in creative ways, including fashion.

Darby Hinkley can be found purchasing basic button-down shirts, sometimes from the menswear section, and meandering through the shoe store, pretending to want to wear the strappy stilettos, but ending up buying another pair of combat boots to add to her collection. Reach her at 989-358-5691 or [email protected].



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