Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Mom Dressed Me Funny

Weekend Assignment #149: Reveal Your Teenage Fashion Disasters! Yes, whether it's big hair, Nehru jackets, acid-washed jeans or an ill-advised tattoo, let us know what about your style as a teenager you would change today.

Extra Credit:
Are you kidding? Pictures, baby!

As some of you may have gathered over the years, I loved my mom very much, but in many ways she drove me crazy. One of our major sources of disagreement, and the one that caused me the most trouble in school, was the question of what constituted appropriate attire for a teenage girl in the suburbs. Her position on this subject was far from my own, and even farther from the norms at Eagle Hill Junior High and Fayetteville-Manlius High School. My mom was always in favor of me dressing in a ladylike manner, although she didn't put it quite that way. Unfortunately, her idea of feminine clothing consisted almost exclusively of what was available in Lane Bryant mail order catalogs. In short: polyester was the order of the day - nay, the decade. I didn't even own a pair of jeans until Joel's mother bought me some during my trip to Bethesda in 1972.

The staples of my pathetic wardrobe in elementary school were jumpers (mostly plaid) for school, and stretch pants to wear at home as "play clothes." In junior high the polyester pants moved into the school, to the derision of my peers. A blue or red sweater vest completed the ensemble. As the result of my frequent protests, the blue stretch pants with the line down the front were eventually replaced by other polyester pants (one of them was houndstooth), and polyester pantsuits. The one in my senior portrait above (which was taken in the spring of my junior year) was a relatively benign version. The worst pantsuit was textured turquoise doubleknit polyester. I think it had epaulets. I liked the color, but when my 65-year-old English teacher praised it I knew for certain it was horribly wrong.

Another staple of my wardrobe, especially in junior high, was the culotte. I liked the fact that it wasn't a dress, and yet I was allowed to wear it to school. This one was dark navy with white polka dots. Around my neck I wore a peace symbol on a leather strap. I liked this outfit just fine until I posed in it one day for a newspaper article about a dangerous puddle near my house. I had erected a warning sign asking drivers to slow down, since people were constantly stalling out after driving through the huge puddle. Kids at school accused me of wearing a dress to play in puddles.


Here's another item I actually liked: my blue velvet cape. But I wouldn't wear such a thing now. My mom was a great believer in capes and caftans, shawls and ponchos.

Dang, I miss her.

Karen

1 comment:

julie said...

Wow, we must have been dressed by the same "designer."

Unlike you, I'd still wear the velvet in a heartbeat. I am still such a nerd.