Women and Clothes

Where were you in 1966-67?

I was a freshman at Centerville (Ohio) High School, just south of Dayton. The fashion of the day was short skirts with pantihose or knee socks. No pants allowed for girls.

The high school had two buildings–the old junior high (they built a new middle school) and the newer high school building. The football stadium was in between the buildings. I don’t remember how long we had between classes, but it was barely enough for those of us who had classes in both buildings. Long enough for our legs to freeze in the winter!

I read a book recently called Women and Clothes, a collection of essays and responses to a long questionnaire. It was surprisingly interesting.

It triggered memories like our ridiculous short skirts.  Why were we not allowed to wear pants? Short skirts blowing in the cold winter wind surely weren’t more lady-like.  I remember one English class where our desks were in two sections, facing each other.  I am sure many a boy was distracted staring straight at our short skirts.  I finally got to wear pants to school in the spring of my senior year in high school, 1970.  Yay for Women’s Liberation and the power of petitions!

When I went to UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall of 1970, I wore nothing but blue jeans.  I had a maroon turtleneck bodysuit (remember the shirts that snapped in the crotch like baby clothes?) that I wore constantly one winter with a pair of bell bottoms embellished with crochet trim at the hem and some flowers I embroidered on the legs with yarn.  I held onto those jeans for a long, long time.  When my girls got old enough to want to wear them, I couldn’t find them.

At some point in the late 1990’s, I bought a black two-piece dress–my first grownup little black dress. It was lined and made of crepe with a slightly flared black skirt and a matching sleeveless shell top.  It fit.  It was the right length.  It could go a lot of places. I wore it several times to go out to nice restaurants when my daughter was in college in Washington, DC, and I always felt good in it.  Then I gained enough weight that the dress was a size too small.  I gave it away.  I still miss that dress and how I felt when I wore it.

I can only wear skirts and dresses in warm weather now.  I can’t pull up tights anymore because of the arthritis in my hands.  I love the way skirts and tights look.  And I liked how tights made my legs and butt feel firm.  I miss that feeling.

My daughters came of age in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  My older daughter and I clashed for weeks over Guess jeans when she was in middle school.  I refused to pay what I considered an absurd price for that red and white triangle on the back pocket (see it here).  I never did.  These days, she’s Maggie’s mom and buys designer holiday dresses at consignment stores and then resells them when she’s done with them.

When my younger daughter was in kindergarten, she decided she needed a pair of hot pink Chuck Taylor high top (click here) shoes.  Why??  I found imitation ones at Kmart and bought a hot pink pair and a turquoise pair.  She would wear one of each.  I would never wear anything that out of the norm, then or now, but I loved that she did! These days, she is Adaline’s mom and delights in picking out funky outfits for her to wear to school.  I buy Adaline crazy patterned leggings. Her mom sends me pictures of Adaline’s outfits.

Women and Clothes asked women about having “a style.” I wondered–do I have a style? A lot of days I dress like I did in college: jeans, a t-shirt, a sweater, and clogs. Is that an appropriate style for a woman about to turn 63?  I do consistently like clothes from Jjill (click here for their website). They are casually chic, I guess, made from soft, natural fabrics. They have good sales!

I don’t think about clothes much anymore. I know what I like.  I know what I feel good in.  I know what’s flattering. I want to be comfortable.  And I’m not really trying to attract attention anymore.

I just don’t want to be a frump!


Published in: on February 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm  Comments (10)  
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Alone and Together

I love my family.  I especially love my granddaughter, Adaline.  I have trouble holding her now–she’s 18 lbs. of wiggle and joy and my arthritis-damaged wrists are only safe for her when we sit quietly and rock.  I’m still good at getting her to go to sleep, if she is willing to miss what’s going on.

We are blessed to have both girls and their families close by.  Our two sons-in-law are very different, but equally entertaining.  All together (including 3 rescued dogs) we make a raucous, raunchy commotion.

The original four of us are 3 introverts and one extrovert.  The introvert daughter married an introvert and their genes combined to create an (apparently) extrovert baby.  The extrovert daughter married an equally driven extrovert and they adopted a big dog that has finally begun to settle down some.

Extroverts are energized by being around people.  Introverts are energized by solitude.  I am an introvert.  My husband is an introvert.  We are all (including our aging dog) tired at the end of a weekend with people, even if we love them.

After the last people-full weekend, I changed the sheets on our bed and started on a pile of laundry.  I wrote and I read.  I went through all the fliers/brochures/emails about classes and workshops available this fall.  Many of them call to me, but I can’t add very much to the rhythm of my days.

I need balance and moderation.  I want it all.

People tell me their sacred stories.  I want to listen to them with presence and serenity. My sponsor says we can only give from our overflow.  I remember HALT (Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?).

God, help me find my balance, so that I may do your will.  Amen.