My dad’s elder sister, the one who raised me in my pre-puberty years, is a bona fide fashion plate. In her GSIS days (between the late 60’s to the early 80’s) she had a new dress for every party, and most of the time I had a miniature version of what she had. She was always aware of the latest women’s fashion trends.

I remember every other weekend my aunt would weave through the maze of Zurbaran with me in tow, shopping for the latest in fabrics. We would then take our booty to her mother’s dress shop at the corner of Taft Avenue and Nakpil, where my grandmother would conjure a design with a pencil on a corner of her pattern paper, and by next weekend would bring out the finished product with a flourish. My grandmother, well-known among students (and their mothers) who went to the Philippine Women’s University across the street from her shop was considered to be one of the established women’s clothing designers in her time.

I’m rather disappointed that I never got to spend my teen-age years with them. If I had I wouldn’t be the fashion wreck that I am today. Back then neither my aunt nor my grandmother would allow me to attend a wedding in my denims, much less go to the office in them. The office always meant formal clothing, sensible skirts or slacks and Dansko shoes. And makeup. I am helpless in all of that, preferring to wear the office uniform (dark blue polo shirt with the company logo on the sleeve) and either loose slacks or denims and my trusty pair of Converse moccasins. If they were here with me now I’d bet they’d be dropping magazines that offered style resources for women and tut-tutting at me for the way I dress.

Fashion Failure

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