I am a child of the 70’s. By that, I mean that I grew up in some changing times. Girls wore dresses to school – no matter what the weather. My mother wanted to dress me in ruffles and frills. She liked puff and fluff. Just take a look at my school pictures and see what she did to my hair and what she chose for me to wear. But being between two brothers and having a father who was a coach, well, I wanted to be one of the boys. I wore dresses, but I fought the girlie stuff. Mom bought me stockings, but I hated wearing the girdle. I might argue with Mom over my dresses, but she usually won, and I wore whatever she bought. I didn’t really see much choice in the matter. Shopping for school dresses was an unpleasant ordeal. My grandmother made some of my dresses – simple and with pockets so I could collect and carry stuff. As soon as I got home from school, I would be out of those dresses and in to my jeans and tennis shoes and romping with my brothers. When my little sister came along, I congratulated Mom on finally having a girl.
When I was in jr. high in 1970, the higher ups decided that girls could wear "pant suits" to school – dress slacks with matching top. All this time, boys had been wearing jeans and t-shirts or whatever – how very unfair. Maybe it was the women’s movement – equal rights and such – that changed things. My sophomore year in high school, we were allowed to wear jeans. Being a jean and T-shirt type girl, this was right up my alley. I rarely wore dresses to school after that, but style in the 70’s was very simple and more practical. Even my wedding dress in 1977 was a simple country-style dress – certainly not the fluff and puff of today’s dresses.
In college I had a 7:30 AM class. I could wake up 15 minutes before class, throw on my jeans and T-shirt, pull back my hair and make it to class, while other girls were waking up hours early to put on all their make-up and fix their hair. Low maintenance would be my style.
When I started teaching, I did wear dresses – Mom bought me several skirts and blouses. I wore high-heels most of the time, because I looked too much like one of the students as it was. I did feel that it was important to be professional and set a good example. As soon as the school day was over, it was back to my jeans.
I have not been teaching or working outside of my home for almost 20 years. I rarely wear dresses or slacks – even to church. Comfort is the name of the game, but I do have a style that I have created through the years. My "dressed up" look is usually nicer jeans and nicer shoes and a nice shirt or sweater (but it is not good to feed the chickens while wearing this get-up). That 70's thing in me thinks that jeans are better looking and nicer than polyester pants. I do have some dress slacks and a few dresses for when the occasion calls for something special.
I have been to Scotland, Italy, and Canada for a month each and only took one suitcase. So, Monday when I walked into Mom’s house and saw what all she was taking on her upcoming trip to Australia, I nearly hyperventilated. She showed me the clothes she had packed – all were beautiful, feminine, matching, etc. Then she showed me all of the jewelry that matched the clothes. I had an anxiety attack. After several deep breaths and calming techniques, I thought, "What the heck!" She will be gorgeous and stylish on her vacation. I don’t have to carry her suitcase. It will all be fine. But I did tease her about it. I could have traveled around Australia with a backpack, but that is just me. I did talk her into buying some lightweight cargo pants that rolled up into capris. I don’t know if she will really wear them, but it made me feel better.
While we were shopping for the cargo pants, I kept thinking about how different Mom and I are on certain things – like the fact that she is tall and skinny and I am short and round. Clothes have always been easy for her. Clothes never quite fit me right and were a chore. She cut her hair very stylish, but it is a style that will require more work than I would bother with – a ponytail or braid is best when traveling. At one point while shopping, we were trying to think of what we had seen and tried on and what we should buy. Neither of us could think of the name of the store we had been to earlier. We got so tickled that we both nearly peed our pants. Yep, we are a like in some ways.