Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Take On Muumuus

Muumuu (From Merriam-Webster)

Pronunciation: \ˈmü-ˌmü\
Function: noun
Etymology: Hawaiian mu'umu'u, from mu'umu'u cut off
Date: 1923

a loose often long dress having bright colors and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii.

Okay. I don't see where it says 'muumuus are only worn by overweight women.'

Here is my take on muumuus;

I love them. I was brought up in a neighborhood filled with muumuu-wearing women. Some were a bit overweight, but not by much. See, back in the 1970's, muumuus were cool. I like to compare them to how I feel about Converse Chucks; They are comfy. You don't need to wear socks with them. And most of all, they can represent who you are; Feminine. Angry. Loud. You choose (Well, I can. I collect Chucks) which ones to suit your feelings, or outfit. Muumuus can be (and were) worn just like Chucks.

Muumuus were comfy. If you didn't want to wear a bra under it, so be it. They could be feminine, or flowery. Angry or loud. Always flowing. They could be dressed up with accessories (Hey... Mrs. Roper...okay maybe she is a bad example), or thrown on when all your clothes were either dirty or being laundered. Simple and comfortable.

When I was in my mid-teens, a family moved in next door to us. A divorced older woman and her two adult daughters. From the Bahamas. Stunningly beautiful; all three. I instantly befriended all three. Many evenings I would see them coming home from work and then coming to sit outside, their work clothes taken off and replaced with the most vibrant muumuus! I would walk over and join them, and be invited to have a snack of freshly cracked open coconut and even fresher mango. I asked them one day where they purchased their dresses.

"Dresses? No child. Muumuu. Sit there, I'll get you one..." and Mabel would come out and present me with a yellow, peach, and pink muumuu. I felt so free! Still had the bra on, but I felt wild. Barefoot with mango juice dripping down my chin. Soon my mother would walk over and join us, in her own muumuu.

I don't think I can count a day when my mom didn't wear her muumuus. If she had to go out, she would sometimes wear pants, but it was rare. If neighbors got together for Martinis, she'd throw on a prettier muumuu, and put on some bling, add her Revlon "Cherries In the Snow", and dab on some Chanel #5. Martini in one hand, a cigarette in the other. That was my mom. I think, if my mom was in the dictionary, she'd be pictured in a muumuu. Shopping for her was so easy; and she just ate them up!

I hate that muumuus are now automatically associated with fat women. Sure, I can understand why overweight women like them. I'm overweight and I get it! Still, it makes me sad. I own three muumuus, and I am not ashamed to wear them.

At our yearly family reunion, a cousin of mine showed up "rockin her muumuu." I looked at her with such respect. I wanted to talk to her about it, but just didn't get the chance. She did rock it! She looked great. Maybe next year, I'll wear one, too. Fat or skinny. Okay I hope I'm skinny by then, and even if I am, I will always ROCK THE MUUMUU.

PS... If you're out there, Ms. Mabel, Teri and Dale Lunn... Thank you!

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