Last year I was moved to wear blouses. Not sweaters, not T-shirts, but blouses: pretty blouses, blouses with ties, gathers, tucks or lace.
I first spotted this navy sheer lace blouse with dotted swiss in the window at Ann Taylor. It looked Prada to me. Or maybe it looked Italian. Or could it be that it was speaking Catholic to me? I lusted for it, but I kept on walking.
Confessing my Catholic Envy
I could imagine going to confession wearing this lace blouse. If being a non-Catholic wasn’t a roadblock, the first thing I’d confess would be my envy for all things Catholic.
My best friend in high school was Catholic. She’d go to church at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo. Incense was burned; Latin was spoken; there were pews that had kneeling benches; you could go to mass every single day; you got to eat fish sticks on Friday. (Love fish sticks!) It was all so exotic!
Pontoppidan Lutheran Church where I went? Not exotic.
And there was so much MORE to love about Catholics.
- They had school uniforms!
- They wore tartan plaid every day…LOVE!
- They wore saddle oxfords.
- They wore ties at the neck of their crisp white shirts…LOVE!
Then in my mid-thirties I studied Art History at the College of Marin. Do you know what the numero uno subject is in the history of art? The Virgin Mary!
She goes by great alternate names, too: Blessed Mother, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy, Mother of Mercy. Who wouldn’t want to flock to her?
All anybody calls me (well, my kids and their friends) is Mommyfoxy. Not the same.
Embodying my secret Catholic crush
When I saw this blouse on the sale rack at Ann Taylor a few weeks later, it was meant to be mine.
I can’t remember if the only size available was an XL or if I decided that was the best size to wear in order to move the focus away from my menopausal middle. But that’s what I purchased back in 2015.
A couple of weeks ago I saw this necklace made by my friends, the Sol Sisters. It’s an Amazonite double strand with a Sacred Heart pendant and a grey suede tassel. One of the Sol Sisters loves bringing religious symbols into her jewelry making.
I heart religious art but could I wear it? A voice from the heavens said: Buy me. I obeyed.
I wanted to wear it right away. I thought to go to the Catholic/Italian section of my closet which holds one item: the sheer lace pretend-Prada/Italian/Catholic blouse. But when I tried it on it seemed big and irreverent.
Because it’s sheer I have to wear a camisole underneath it. (I’m no Madonna, willing to wear a lacy black bra under a sheer blouse. That’s where my Lutheran self draws the line.)
Praying for a fit solution
But the back of the blouse, which is a T-shirt knit fabric, was sticking to my Lutheran cotton camisole. A sin if you ask me.
I had two problems that needed fixing: blouse too big, blouse sticking to camisole.
I fixed the sticking problem by wearing a microfiber tank under the blouse. I used to wear this practically vintage Max Mara top under jackets, but now it’s handy as an underpinning.
Problem solved: No sticking!
Now to make the blouse smaller. I decided to unbutton the last couple of buttons on my blouse and tie a knot at the bottom. It brought the fabric together and solved my “too big” problem. It was a miracle!
I wore this with skinny jeans and pewter leather booties.
In fact, I loved it so much I wore it two days in a row. Do I need to go to confession for that?
Are there some secrets you play out with the help of fashion? Do share!