WPW: Overalls

GAP medium wash denim overalls

Breaking news: I’m blogging again! I’m wearing overalls again! I’m using exclamation points again! That last one is probably not a shocker.

Last semester I did not blog as often as I wanted to because I was barely holding it together. I used all of my energy for teaching my two lovely classes and going to various doc appointments. This semester I will have more classes, fewer medical appointments but probably more meetings, and hopefully more inspiration to blog. Why wait until the fall semester to get started on the blogging, right?

In the summer I came to the conclusion that I wanted to buy a pair of overalls. I wrote about this in my memoir–that shows you how important this was to me. It was important for a few reasons. Here’s the chapter from my memoir that explains why:

Flatties Wearing Overalls

When I was a teenager I wore overalls all of the time. They were comfortable. They were easy. They had lots of pockets. (Girls need pockets, dammit.) My mom hated them—overalls, not pockets. She said they had no shape. My body was hidden by this profusion of denim. That’s the way I liked it. I wanted to hide beneath the blue jean.

People made fun of me for being so skinny. I had nicknames like Bony Marony from a young age. If I was walking outside and it was windy, someone would say, “Hold on to her. She might blow away.” When I liked a guy in high school and had a friend ask him if he might like me, he told him, “She’s too fragile. She might break.”

But it wasn’t just my skinny body I was hiding. It was my chest. I was an A-cup—notice how I defined myself by cup size—and that basically meant I had no breasts as far as the world was concerned. It’s funny how you can be an A-student and everyone’s like, whoa you’re smart, but if you’re an A-cup woman, people act like you are deformed. Like, why didn’t your breasts grow in? What happened to you? I remember one time talking to my mom about this. Why did she have reasonably sized breasts, and I didn’t. What was wrong with me? Of course, nothing was wrong with me, but I couldn’t see that then.

So, I wore overalls and eventually stopped wearing overalls. As I aged, it felt almost costumey or childish to wear overalls. I wasn’t a train conductor or engineer (cue stereotypical image of person wearing overalls), so I couldn’t wear overalls. I wasn’t a kid anymore either, so if I wore overalls I wasn’t owning up to my age—or so I thought.

But now at 42 I have bought myself a new pair of overalls. I have been seeing girls (yes, they are mostly teens) wearing overalls, and I have been thinking about how cute and comfortable overalls are. I have also been thinking about what overalls hide. They hide the fact that I don’t have breasts anymore. They are the perfect clothing choice for flatties.

So, I was on FaceTime with my sister and niece, and I said that I bought overalls because they are perfect for flatties. My niece looked at my sister and said, “What’s that?” In other words, what’s a flattie? I said, “Oh, it’s a person who has a flat chest.” My sister chimed in to help explain this to a 4.5-year-old. “It’s someone without boobies, someone who isn’t nursing.” My niece, with her wonderfully inquisitive facial expression, said, “Oh.”

One day she’ll see me wearing these overalls, and one day she will really know what it means when I say proudly that I’m a flattie. It’s nice to hide what’s not there, but I am not ashamed of the fact that I don’t have reconstructed breasts. What is left is mine, even if it’s caved in and scarred. Oh, and overalls are cool.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking when will she get to the pictures. OK. Well, I already posted a picture of the pair of GAP overalls I bought at the factory store for $34.99. I have yet to wear them because it has been too hot to wear pants. I’m relishing every second of summer and refuse to wear jeans until it cools down.

I bought a second pair of overalls this summer–a wonderful $12.99 find at TJ Maxx. I have worn these twice. They are so comfy, and they are fun. I mean it’s a leopard print jersey knit shorts overall. C’mon. You gotta admit that that’s fun. Here are the pics:

Blueberry picking with my niece

Oh, hey, there’s my remodeled kitchen

Close up

I felt great wearing these to my colleague Shana Youngdahl’s book launch of her novel As Many Nows as I Can Get. (Oh, you should get your copy.) These overalls are so soft and fit loose enough not to feel constrictive but tight enough not to be falling off or showing everyone your underwear.

You’ll notice that in the first picture I wore a black shirt with a graphic on it. I’m here to say that it’s ok to let only a portion of the graphic poke out the top of the overalls. You do not have to wear a solid shirt under your overalls. I wore a Country Music Hall of Fame t-shirt.

You’ll notice in the second picture I wore a pink shirt, but what you might not see is that it has a graphic. My hubs made this shirt for me a couple of years ago. It says “What would Jane do?” and has a silhouette (presumably of Austen). He found it on one of those websites, like Redbubble, where people design shirts and sell them. Here’s another thing worth your notice. I wore a pink shirt with taupe and black. Now, you might be thinking, um, excuse me, those colors don’t go together. And you’re right. They don’t. And that’s why they work. Pink + leopard = fun, my friend, fun. It’s ok to pair bold colors with bold patterns. Fun. 🙂

Next time you think, hmm, should I buy that wacky print or should I buy overalls, the answer may be yes. To both. Choose the print according to your personal style and body. Same goes for overalls. No matter what, feel good in what you wear.

One response to “WPW: Overalls”

  1. Yeeessss! Wear all the bright colors and patterns you want! Just read a book about this and loved it.


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