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A Texas Two Step

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Simplifying is not so simple

By SHEILAH PEPPER

The Gazette Staff

I've been thinking a lot over the past year about the need to simplify my life. However, simplifying can be complicated as it involves making choices.

This effort has ranged from thinking about food and the need to pare down the items in the pantry, to the contents of the house and a desire to spend less time dusting things I seldom use. I'm putting off an effort to do anything about the mess of paperwork in my office.

Right now, my closets are now under scrutiny. Working from home and seldom needing to "dress up" I find that I use less than 20 percent of the clothes hanging in the closet.

In addition to the wish to simplify things, I find that sheer comfort in clothing, and other things, has become paramount. I haven't worn a dress or pantyhose in years. My favorite outfits these days, beyond the everyday tee shirts and jeans I wear around the house, involve loose hip-length tunic tops and lightweight leggings.

The topic of comfort came up recently in conversation with a friend, who mentioned that overalls were the most comfortable article of clothing. I hadn't thought about overalls since childhood. As the tomboy in the family, I was allowed to wear a dress only on Sunday for church. That was fine with me – I loathed dresses largely because adults nagged me about spills and stains.

During my childhood, money was tight for my parents and most of their friends. A friend of my mother, a French Canadian lady, was an accomplished seamstress. She made almost all of her family's clothing and occasionally made something special for friends. One day, she presented me and my younger sister with crisp, newly-sewn cotton dresses. My sister's was pink, smocked and frilly with a big bow tie around the waist. My dress was precisely the same, but in light blue. My sister was thrilled and insisted on wearing her dress right away. I thanked my mother's friend politely and went off to my room. My mother came in later and hung the new dress in my closet. She said, "Well at least you were polite to Mrs. Taillon!"

On Sunday, the minute I was home from church, the pretty blue dress came off, and I jumped into my scruffy overalls. A muddy creek ran through the woods not far from our house. I could skip through the muddy water happily and not be scolded about mud stains on the overalls, which my mother picked up regularly at yard sales or as hand-me-downs from cousins.

Recently, I checked out a couple of likely woman's casual clothing catalogs online, and sure enough, one of them contained overalls, for grown-up women.

They looked very comfortable, although really not very flattering. I guess I'll stick with my old jeans and tee shirts! Meanwhile, I've got at least a half dozen dresses to give away. Overall, I think my new dress-up uniform of tunic and tights is here to stay.

Copyright©2011SheilahPepper