Lost in Suburbia: When good moms wear bad clothes

Tracy Beckerman

Whenever I go shopping, I'm usually pretty good about knowing which stores are age-appropriate and which are too young or too old for me. Typically, if the dresses in a store have less material than my underwear, I know my daughter should be shopping there, not me. And if a store sells clothes that could double as window curtains, both in volume and pattern, it is usually better suited to my grandmother. 

But one day as I was window-shopping, I stopped in a new store that seemed youthful but not too young. I barely made it in the door when the "thump, thump" of the unintelligible, bass-driven music they were piping into the store hit me square in the chest. 

This should have been my first clue that the store might have been too young for me. However, I was seduced by the racks of pretty dresses ahead, so I convinced myself that the store owners were trying to determine if middle-aged shoppers would buy more clothes if they were driven insane by blaring dance music. So I went in.

Then I noticed that everyone else in the store was about 20 or 30 years younger than me. This should have been my second clue that the store was too young for me. But since I already had three pretty dresses in hand to try on, I convinced myself that the other girls were all in there shopping for their mothers.

Ignoring all the warning signs, I went into the dressing room and tried on one of the dresses. Admittedly, it looked pretty short on the hanger, but when I actually got it on, I was stunned to see it barely covered my backside. In case you were wondering, this is not a particularly age-appropriate look for a woman over 40, even if you are built like Madonna, which I am not.

This was my biggest clue yet that I was in the wrong store. But just to confirm my fears, I stepped out of the dressing room to model the dress for two of the salesgirls.

“OH. MY. GOD! That dress is like, TOTALLY T.C.F.W. on you!” exclaimed one of the girls.

“Totally!” agreed the other one.

“T.C.F.W.?” I asked, shaking my head in confusion.

“Too cute for words!” explained salesgirl No. 1.

“TOTALLY!” agreed salesgirl No. 2. I’m pretty sure it was the only word she knew.

I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I agreed with them that the dress was like, totally T.C.F.W., but I begged to differ that it was T.C.F.W. on me. Moreover, I was pretty sure that if I bought the dress, one of three things would happen: a) I would be arrested for indecent exposure; b) my daughter would disown me or; c) my husband would adopt me.

“You have to get it!” said salesgirl No. 1. “You look adorable.”

I grimaced. “Adorable” is one of those words you use to describe toddlers and puppies. Not 45-year-old housewives.

“Thanks,” I said sweetly. “But I think I’ll pass.”

“Really? Why?”

“I’m just T.O.F.T.S.,” I replied.

“T.O.F.T.S?” said salesgirl No. 2.

“Yeah. Too old for this store!”

For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Twitter, @onerebelmom.