Fashion or faux pas

Do you follow styles or keep up with the latest trends in fashion? Regardless of whether you go to that extreme, I think we all want to look neat and tidy. Especially when you’re the sort of person my dad used to refer to when he’d say, “That guy could put on a three-piece suit and still look like he just climbed out of the tractor after a hard day’s work.”

Not quite to the point of sackcloth and ashes, mind you.

I always make an effort to spruce up when I go out (as opposed to the rest of the time when I look like absolute junk). My mother used to insist we kids put on our “work clothes” after school, and that habit stuck with me through life. Sadly, the clothes I wear around home these days aren’t fit for rags.

Fashions for both men and women are cyclical, meaning a style will fade away and come back every fifty years or so. Take blue jeans, for example. In the 60s, during that tumultuous era of flower power and self-expression, bell-bottom jeans were all the rage. They disappeared for many years, but now they’re back—with a twist. Wide-leg jeans have returned to us riddled with holes. 

I know this rant will date me, but jeans these days look as though they’ve been through a wringer. The more frayed, hacked up, and ratty they become, the more popular and expensive they are. Sometimes there are more holes than material.

Naturally, there are plenty of styles without tears; this just happens to be a pet peeve. I’m personally fond of denims made of stretchy fabrics and snazzy colors, without being slashed to bits.

When I was a teenager, around the time of the first printing press (not really, but it sounds impressive), pants didn’t have stretch. They were worn tight, sort of like a second skin. Before going out for the evening, I’d often lie on the living room floor, hold my breath, and get my brother to zip me up using a pair of plyers. He also had to help me stand afterward. Now that’s tight! 

Sometimes, Dad would shake his head and remark that it’d be a wonder if my internal organs withstood the strain. Other times, he’d loudly cast doubts on my future ability to bear children. Yet, with a giggle and a wave, I’d flit away to visit with friends. 

Actually, it wasn’t so much of a flit as it was a stiff-legged hop, but I left nonetheless. Then, all socializing would be accomplished in an upright position, usually propped against a wall. This made driving my car a feat of endurance. 

Wearing jeans that tight led to other problems too. Splitting the seam out of your trousers was not an unusual occurrence back then, and quite awful for a girl functionally incapable of sewing. To prove this point, I have a story.

Once, the hem tore out of a favourite flouncy dress and I fixed it temporarily with safety pins. Thankfully, my friend Susan took pity on me and offered to help. She could sew.

Afterward, she dropped a heavy bag of clattering metal into my hand and said dryly, “There are thirty-two of the damned things. Count ‘em.” Forty years later, Susan still laughingly holds this tale of ineptitude over my head. A seamstress I am not.

But I digress. Suffice it to say it’s fun to find your own personal style, holes or not. And, contrary to popular belief, some of us are pretty handy with a pin. So there.

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