I am 54 years old. I was raised in the South and the Midwest. In my world, a truly well-dressed female carried a handbag that matched her shoes. Ideally, the shoes would pick up a color in her ensemble or at least be darker than her hemline (except for sneakers or white shoes between Memorial and Labor Days). Her jewelry would match her outfit. If she wore a print, be it Liberty or quirky red, white and blue running shoes on white polyester (yes, in 1975 I had a dress in this fabrication), she picked up a color in the print and selected her accessories accordingly. Even the not-so-fashion forward female might wear eyeshadow that matched her outfit. These fashion conventions made shopping and getting dressed relatively stress-free. Once you mastered the concept of matching in kindergarten, you could be turned loose in Castner-Knott's or Roots or any fabric store. Wearing a color-matched outfit could even be a saving grace as in, "well at least it matches."
I don't know when matchy-matchy became a condition nigh unto awareness walk- worthy. I suspect that it originated in New York. Which is ironic since I've observed that Manhattan-ites routinely dress in all black and it's not because they're goth. Anyway, like many undesirable conditions, I didn't pay much attention to it until it became personal. A few years ago, I attended a family reunion. I wore a sundress with a festive print and accessorized it with a light summer cardigan and cute little sandals. I thought I looked well put together until we got to the event and one of the new additions to the family pulled her husband aside and said, "She's so matchy-matchy." And it wasn't in an admiring tone of voice.
Ever since then I've been hyper aware of society's bias against matchy-matchy.
There are some advantages to not being matchy-matchy. I carry the same purse all of the time because, of course, I don't want to be matchy-matchy. And y'all know how fundamentally lazy I am. However, the advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages. First of all, it takes me at least a third more time to get dressed for any occasion because of my indecision while selecting accessories. Secondly, I still live in the South and most women of my generation were socialized to match their colors. Thus, although I might impress Stacey and Clinton with my non-matchiness, my peers may suspect that I got dressed in the dark.
I am taking this opportunity to speak out against matchy-matchy prejudice. Furthermore, I am walking the talk. I recently scored a cute, sleeveless, tropical print summer dress at Goodwill and defiantly purchased a J. Crew summer cardigan that matches it. Just don't judge me if I cave to societal pressure and buy a nude shoe to wear with it.
So what are your thoughts and feelings about matchy-matchy? Let's discuss this controversial topic.
Tootles and hugs,