Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Fads of Yesteryear

“Every Generation laughs at the old fashions, but religiously follows the new.” 

 By Henry David Thoreau.

Last night when I got home from work hubby had just gotten back from the laundromat, and he was sorting the clothes. And as he began sorting through his white socks, I couldn't help but chuckle as an old school memory flashed before my eyes. Amazing, as I get older, that little things such a pair of white socks can trigger thoughts of a time long ago, or perhaps school starting this week has triggered some of my own school time memories. Whatever it is, it was a great reminder of how different things used to be.

What I remembered was a time back in the day when someone who wore white socks was a 'nerd'.  I remember how a handsome young man would walk past us and we'd point and mutter, "Oh, he's wearing white socks" as if it was a fashion mistake, and back then, it was.  In classrooms, we used to point and laugh, and I find myself feeling pretty bad about it because I was teased myself and know how it felt.  But I wanted to belong so much that I went along with it.  Of course, some of the very same boys that teased me were the object of our ridicule, but two wrongs do not make a right.

And as I sat there reminiscing, so many other memories came to mind. My gosh, I remember how we had to lay on the bed, and sometimes even use pliers, to zip up our jeans because they were so tight. I wonder how I stood it. Today, I cannot wear anything tight around my waist. Anything tight is just so uncomfortable. Today's youth has gone in a completely opposite direction. I shudder when I see today's teen-agers with their pants hanging down to their knees. If underwear was supposed to be shown, they'd have called it outerwear instead. 

And how about massively poofy/teased hair? When I entered high school, the more bouffant your hair, the better. We called it the 'beehive', and it sure did resemble one. Actually, it surprises me that bees never tried to make their homes in our ready-made nests. We'd go through a can of hair spray every day just to get it to stay up there.  And forget about running a comb through it.  Makes me think of how hard it was for a boyfriend to romantically run their fingers through our hair. Forget about it.

What about Bell bottoms and midriff blouses. Weren't they just the greatest or as we used to say 'the grooviest'? Brings to mind one evening that I was headed to a dance with a group of my friends. I was wearing a pair of flowered bell bottoms and a new white midriff blouse and really felt pretty good about the way I looked. It was a convertible and the top was down as we drove along, all of us were smoking cigarettes. (Smoking was cool back then. If we only knew)  Well, it was definitely not a good idea to smoke in a convertible. We were almost to the dance when someone cried out "I smell smoke", and we all looked around to see where it was coming from, thinking maybe an ash had blown onto the car seats. Well, turns out it wasn't the seats at all. It was my new white blouse that the ash had lit upon and I arrived at the dance with a hole that had been singed onto it.

Then there was the year I entered high school.  Wig hats were the fad back then. These were hats that puffed up were a hat, but combed out resembled a short wig. Now that I think about it, they never 'really' did look like a wig at all. These  hats came in a variety of colors, all pretty fake looking, but most of us chose white or silver. Well, to make a long story short, on the day I wore mine, I decided that I was going to skip the first class so I headed over to the soda joint and hung out. When I arrived at school for the next class and took my seat, I was immediately sent to the principal's office. It seems that they'd made an announcement during the first period that we were not allowed to wear our 'wigs' in school, and everyone who was wearing them had to take it off. But, of course, since I wasn't there, how was I to know?  Got three days of suspension over that one.

Remember culottes? I don't think they ever really went away. The came as dresses, shorts, skirts, but these, too, were not allowed at school because they resembled pants, and girls were not allowed to wear pants to school.  Oh, in the cold weather, our mom's slipped a pair of pants under our skirts, and that was allowed, but as soon as we got to school, they had to be removed along with our coats.

Some say they were too strict with their dress codes back in the day, but as I look at today's kids as they head out to school, I wonder if a few rules wouldn't be in order. Girls in mini skirts so short that you wonder how they are able to keep themselves covered when they sit and low cut skinny tops and boys with their butts hanging out just don't seem appropriate to me. And, it's not just those girls who go to public schools.  On the contrary, some of, no, most of these school uniforms for girls in Catholic schools barely cover their thighs.  

Times certainly have changed, haven't they?


  1. In our high school, if your skirt was too short you got called to the principal's office and had to kneel on the floor. The principal used a measuring stick to verify that the hem of your skirt did or did not touch the floor as you knelt. If it did not, you were sent home. Crazy times. Fashions come and go, that is for sure. I will be glad when the boys stop letting their pants fall down!

  2. I used to embroider flowers on the bottom of my bell bottom jeans and on my suede clogs. My hair was down to my waist, straight as a pin and parted in the middle like Cher. I was a flower child and love and peace was my mantra.

    Sound familiar ?

    I guess I have not changed all that much. My hair is still very long and blonde and straight. I just cut a good 4" off so it is
    not down to my waist anymore. I have to wear
    it up when I work and love and peace are still
    what I preach.

    I do, however, remember in high school getting stopped by a teacher because my dress length
    was just below my knee. She actually sent me
    to the principals office over that. This was when Twiggy was just bringing in the mini-skirt
    which was much shorter than what I had on.

    She followed me into the washroom and said terrible things to me, enough to make me cry.
    The principal did not think much of it and that
    only made her more upset.

    The following year I had her for shorthand and
    for typing... yikes ! Needless to say I was
    petrified of her and that was a very difficult
    time for me. She was my homeroom teacher.

    I think every generation goes through this mind-set of wanting to wear clothes or makeup
    or weird hairdo's to try and shock their parents. They like to push the envelope, so
    to speak. I believe they think it makes them
    look cool.

    I also think they believe it displays individualism. They thing is ...
    most of the time, the others follow like sheep
    to copy anyone who has a unique look.

    Thus, how unique is it really ?

    this one took me back Mary.

    Have a great day

    hugs and love Sharon

  3. Yes Ma'am, they have!!!

    Gentle hugs,

  4. I had different fashion faux pas when I was in school. Punk rock was the big thing. Talk about ugly! I never stuck any safety pins through my skin or dyed my hair rainbow colors but I was feeling so bad about myself (which is why I think a lot of kids today dress like they do) that I was willing to stand out and shock. My parents of course had fits over how I looked. Now, when I look at kids who dress way out of bounds I just remember my feelings of inadequacy and feel sorry for them.

  5. Sept. 9th

    All OK, where you are? After Saturday's storms?

    Saw that there was a tornado in Brooklyn!

    Gentle hugs,