Summer Dresses

Joni Mitchell sang about the hissing of summer lawns, and Pat Remick is doing some summer hissing of her own -- at all the sleeveless dresses out there!  Read about her search for a solution to an unflattering fashion trend . . .(Goodness knows I can appreciate a pretty summer dress but the whole sleeveless thing doesn't concern me, I have wings!)

Male readers might consider this blog entry to be nothing more than a rant but I think most women will understand my dismay that today’s clothing designers and manufacturers seem to think every female adult wants to wear a sleeveless dress.

While recently searching for an outfit for an occasion I discovered this season’s hot trend is dresses without even a hint of fabric covering the upper arms. I also can’t help but note here what fabric that does exist is too clingy for anyone with a less-than-perfect physiques, although I probably better not say much more about THAT.

But sleeveless? Really? I would like to talk to whoever decided that every woman in America has the same gorgeous defined limbs as Michelle Obama. Let’s get real, people. Yes, the First Lady may be inspirational on many levels, but that admiration won’t automatically give us toned upper arms.

I think that biology is my enemy. Even my physical therapist says arms are not the primary area of toning emphasis for females. And after 40, things get really bad because the muscles in our arms tend to “relax” more than we do. In fact, they resemble wings and/or they jiggle more than the other body parts that are supposed to.

I wish someone would inform the clothing designers and manufacturers that nature has played a cruel trick on us and our arms. No matter how hot I am, and I’m talking temperature here, my upper arms should not be on public display. I want to be fashionable, but I am not going to shell out my hard-earned money to give my flabby arms an opportunity to spoil the look. And there are millions of us in the Baby Boomer demographic who want summer dresses -- with short sleeves.

What’s a woman to do? I suppose we could try to divert attention, but my jewelry isn’t spectacular enough and there’s only so much leg and cleavage I can expose without creating other problems. Meanwhile, wearing a light sweater over a sleeveless dress seems to defeat the purpose of summer attire.

I know – there are women with lifestyles or religions that require long-sleeved dresses year-round but if I wear one in the middle of August, it’s probably going to draw more attention than my jiggly arms. People might think I’m hiding something else.

I searched the Internet for “quick-fix” exercises to fix my upper arms quickly, but I couldn’t find any speedy solutions. Most web sites promise results “in a month or two” if you diligently follow their exercise plan. Diligent is a relative concept for me and besides, summer will be over “in a month or two.” And how can I be sure which of the exercise plans will do the trick? If I try one per month, will I end up with anything beyond tired arms?

Fortunately, someone is listening to my complaints: Some of my fellow Baby Boomer females have begun issuing alerts if they come across a dress with even teeny sleeves for sale. However, this has me somewhat concerned we might show up at the same event in the identical dress. On the other hand, THAT might distract people from looking at our arms!

Joni Mitchell, The Hissing of Summer Lawns

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