Susan Dromey-Heeter's Budget Vogue: Fashion sense for all occasions

SUSAN DROMEY-HEETER August 03. 2013 12:25AM

I love theme wear, theme dressing, fashion for the occasion. It's why I've started my collection for the 2014 World Cup, which will take place in Brazil. I've got sweatshirts from Brazil, Italy and Spain, scarves from Argentina and Chile. I'm working on world domination with my collection, and, ideally, I'll be prepared for the finals.

When the Netherlands and Spain met for their match in 2010, I sported an España T-shirt for the first half and an orange sweater for the second. As a Spanish teacher and former resident of Holland, I was deeply torn over whom to give my allegiance. Thank God I had the fashion covered on both ends.

My friend Laurel recently mentioned one of her best themed outfits ever. Her sister was dating a man whose residence happened to be prison. Invited to join her sister for a visit, Laurel wore her best Veronica Lake outfit and really dressed for the occasion - making the jail visit quite an event. She sported a 1940's vintage wool suit, complete with dark seamed stockings and pink leather gloves. Gotta love that fashion enthusiasm. I'm not sure if she slicked her hair and sported dark glasses, but in my mind, yes, of course she did. I sure hope that sister's boyfriend appreciated the fashion effort. Lord knows he'd seen too many orange jumpsuits.

Vintage lends itself to theme dressing. About a year ago, I found a delightful silk 1980's zip-up jacket, replete with shoulder pads and an elastic waist. The best part about this find was the Picasso painting on the front. I wore it to accompany my eighth-grade class to an exhibit on surrealism and felt not only appropriate but, like, totally tubular. My students, typical eighth-graders, rolled their eyes. Alas, I like to think they not only got some great insight into Pablo Picasso but '80s fashion as well. And, well, I had fun.

And, truly, that's what it's about. Life is too short not to have fun, not to dress with joie de vivre - too short to take ourselves oh, so seriously.

Years ago, I had to work on Thanksgiving. The international school at which I taught did not celebrate the American holiday, so rather than become maudlin and depressed, I found some fabulous buckled footwear and sported Pilgrim shoes to enhance the holiday. My friends and colleagues also found some Thanksgiving fashion; Gina wore an apron, Doug sported a football helmet. I felt truly part of a fashion moment.

And then there are moments that can happen when fashion is not at the forefront of thought - funerals, for example.

At my own mother's funeral, my cousin Sarah wore horrendously awful earrings in the shapes of gum drops. Why? As she pointed out to me, my mother, her aunt, had never realized that Sarah's mother had never pierced her ears. Consequently, my Aunt Sue had myriads of horrible pierced earrings given her by my mother, whose taste in jewelry was horrendous at best. So Sarah wore these monstrosities with her lovely dress, giving me the best gift on a sad day: a great laugh.

Oh, fashion can be fun.

So, this summer, as I sail to the end of this season of warmth, beaches, sun, I'll sport my plastic Jackie O' sunglasses and pretend I'm a glamour girl at the grocery store, at the library, at the gas pump.

It's Budget Vogue at its best: sun and fun and delusion. Enjoy your own joie de vivre. And see you in September!

Susan Dromey-Heeter's "Budget Vogue " column appears the first week of every month in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email her at

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