I am going to try to write this without sounding whiny or shallow or overly vain.  Try.

Here’s what’s going on: I have a new body that I’m learning to dress, and I’m not happy about either—that is, the new body or having to learn to dress it.

I’ve always had a good body. I mostly took it for granted, though I was reminded of it often by both women and men.  When I would read studies that said “women don’t like their bodies,: I’d think “not this woman.”  And I always dressed with confidence because of that. I had a good idea of what looked good on me because so many things did. Dressing myself wasn’t that hard.

Provocative clothes have never been my thing, but I have always leaned toward what was fitted—not a lot of wiggle room. That’s changing now. I’ve heard and read many times that middle-aged women—even those who are not overweight—tend to put on weight around the middle. I assumed this didn’t apply to me. I was fit, hadn’t been pregnant, and have a pretty healthy diet.  Why would I suddenly get a belly?  Well, ummm, because I’m middle-aged?  (Actually, that might be an understatement; I’m only middle-aged if I’m going to live to be 112).

So about six months ago, I started to thicken around the middle. I was pissed.  Still am. I started to run again—against doctor’s orders—as a way to try to offset this.  I wrote about it in my blog, The Spinsterlicious Life. http://www.thespinsterliciouslife.com/2011/07/my-knees-my-gut.html  I wanted to chronicle it because I assumed it would be temporary and I would look back at it someday and smile.

Not smiling yet.

A short while ago, though, I stumbled across something called “ruching.”

 I love ruching. I love it because it can camouflage what I’m trying to hide. I can still wear fitted dresses that give the illusion that I’m not hiding a gut that makes me look like I’m 4 months pregnant.   Norma Kamali is my new best friend. She uses ruching (or something that looks like it) a lot.  She has a Wal-Mart line and a full-priced line and I shop them both.  Here’s one of my favoritesfrom her Wal-Mart line:
I bought four of them. Here I am wearing it, successfully hiding my middle-aged belly.
 And, this summer I bought and wore my first one-piece swimsuit. Norma Kamali again. They both have “gathers” that hide stuff. The white one is the one I currently have and the brown is the one I’ll soon be buying for my trip to Turks & Caicos.
 And now I’m into sweaters. Not because I’m chilly but because they hide my gut. My friend, Benilde, and I would often admire Eileen Fisher’s ads because they are very attractive but we, perhaps a bit cattily, would say the clothes are not for us—they’re for women with bodies who need more “forgiving” clothing.  We are now those women. I now have a closet full of long-ish, drapey sweaters that help hide my gut. Here are a few more that I plan to buy:
 But my favorite hide-my-gut strategy is boots.  Yep.  They are stylish, look good on me, and deflect the eye away from my middle. I already have several pairs and I’ll be wearing one or both of these very soon:
So, while I’m grappling with this newfound body part, I’m also intending to learn to “get over it.”  So what if I have a bit of a gut? So what?  I’m not there yet.