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Pat as Fashion Cop

Clothing styles change. Sometimes the changes are so subtle that we barely notice them. Other times the changes are very radical and abrupt.

I was thinking about this while noticing the shorter skirts on the models. Of course at 5ft 4-˝ (I always include the ˝!) the short skirts worn by those tall, leggy models will probably cover my knees.

Years ago, no matter how tight money was, we always had a head-to-toe new outfit the first day of school, Easter and Christmas. Do you remember when an Easter bonnet was a must? The Easter Corsage! How lucky the ones were who had them.

Truthfully though I never liked wearing a bouquet pinned to my body and thought there seemed to be something sexist about it. "Oh look I have a boyfriend". Why didn't he have to wear a sign?

We wore white gloves whenever we got dressed up and we always got dressed up to go to church, dinner, a movie, downtown, and of course for an airplane trip.

My husband always wore his new clothes to church for the first time, as did one of my girlfriends. Both of their grandmothers taught them to do it (appropriate clothes, not pajamas). What a nice idea!

I think the styles women wear change less drastically now. Before you jump on me, understand that I mean the yearly styles. Think back - every fall we'd find out the length of our skirts. If long was the style that year by Christmas you no longer saw any short skirts in the stores. We all dressed as we were told (well most of us did).

Color trends? Well now they change often. This spring pink is in. It's the season of color, black is out (who are they kidding - just try and take away our black slacks!).

I remember about five years ago when everything was drab. Olive, gray, black, and brown. Now everything goes. Did you ever think you'd wear stripes with plaids, reds with yellow, purple with mauve? How about those prints - flowers, geese, dogs, cats, butterflies, and flags? You name it; they are on our blouses, our sweaters and even our pants. We have caterpillar and horse button covers!

Anything goes, but color is definitely in style. Personally I love color especially the bright vivid primary colors. My daughters prefer the more subtle muted shades. For all of us there is a season.

The fashion police try to get us dressed or undressed with new clothes and less material every season.

It takes a while for us to adapt them to our life styles. Once we are convinced we like something it is nearly impossible to get us to give it up. The problem is that with few things absolutely out of style our space is getting tighter and tighter. We keep buying new but don't get rid of the old stuff.

Then there's the hat. Never, never would we go to Church, dinner or a tea without one. I remember the gradual change at church. We first went to mantillas (l liked that it showed respect without a tower of flowers sitting on our top of our heads).

The stylists each fall for several years have been telling us "this is the year of the Hat" and "hats are back" but we just don't buy it. I personally like hats for some occasions but let's face it most of us have rejected them for daily wear. Maybe because the idea of a velvet contraption with bows just doesn't go with jeans.

Now pants, that's different. Once they caught on and we decided we liked them they were here to stay. The fashion heads shout dresses are back each season. Good! And we shall wear them occasionally, we like them but they can never take the place of our trousers.

I remember my mother started each day with a fresh cotton "house dress". Sometimes she had to change it several times a day depending on what she was doing. She wore stockings and a cute shoe.

I wonder now how she worked in them (not to mention the laundry and especially the ironing!) Of course a crisp apron was worn when doing dishes and cooking. Yes, they had to be starched and ironed too.

Do children still get dressed up in their mother's clothes and play house? I loved wearing high heels, big hats, jewelry and makeup. Maybe many don't now because they already have their own jewelry and pierced ears. Some wear clothes very similar to their aunts and mothers.

In the evening, at home, we always put on housecoats or robes to lounge. Lounge? What's that? Oh yes, the hours I waste watching television. Until technology allows them to see me watching, I refuse to dress for it.

When I was a young teen the amount of gores on your dress was important, especially to the twirl. Remember the pinafore dress, the poodle skirts, and the tent dress?

When I was in high school my girl friend and I tried to be very current with our clothes After years of short skirts they came out with them down to your ankle. We went to a dance and were the only two "in style". I don't think the rest of them knew it was the style. They thought we were strange.

Today I dress mostly to cover the large amount of territory I've taken over.

People go to weddings in formal attire, casual dress, pants or whatever suits the moment. Even jeans, which often cost more than the fancy dresses. I do think that for certain occasions the way you dress shows respect or lack of it. Other than that you can pretty much dress as you will and that's good.

The rule used to be "never wear black to a wedding and always to a funeral" but not anymore. They even have black weddings where the entire bridal party wears black.

Anything goes unless you dress or undress in a manner that offends others. That's a no-no in my book. I don't need to see you have a belly button, don't we all?

You can't help but notice that our clothes are much more revealing than in previous decades. Do you remember when Arlene Francis wore a dress with a little lower v-neck? She was on the television program "What's My Line". They tucked handkerchiefs into her top before she could go on the show!

I remember the Easter dinner Mom appeared in a pants suit." This is Easter mom! Pants are for everyday wear. It is almost disrespectful." As usual, Mom was always ahead of her time.

Men's styles change less dramatically. Do you remember the leisure suits? The Nehru jackets and zoot suits? When they show pictures of baseball games years ago the attendance was all men in suits and hats.

The first time my dad saw a man in shorts he shouted out the car window for him to put some clothes on, he was obscene. Ties get wider or narrower (big deal).

I remember a short period when ties of vibrant solid colors that almost glowed in the dark with matching socks were popular. I liked them and got my husband several sets. They weren't popular for long. How about the argyle sock craze? Let's face it, men were always more conservative in their taste in clothes.

Do you remember when our shoes and handbag had to match? I planned on including shoes and fashion accessories but I'm getting long winded. I think I'll do follow up columns on them. Unlike my son who can't understand why anyone would let things hang from their ears or wear anything that wasn't necessary I enjoy clothes and jewelry.

I feel it is my duty to our country's economy to buy new clothes every chance I get. Now if only the furniture designers would get on board and make those dresser drawers larger and more shelf space……. Don't they watch home remodeling on TV?

What are your style memories or thoughts on current fashion? Email me and you don't even have to dress for the occasion.

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Pat


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