Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Memories of Childhood Clothing

This will be boring for most of you, but I wanted to write it anyway. You can always hit the back button and go back to the more interesting blog you were reading before this. ;)

When I was a child, my Dad traveled during the week. He would leave on Monday morning, and not get back in to town until Thursday afternoon or Friday. On Monday morning, as he was saying his goodbyes, he would ask my mother how much money she needed for the week. Remember, in those days (that makes me sound ancient) there were no ATMS. You had to either write a check, or go to the teller to get a withdrawal from your account. My mother was extremely frugal and would usually ask him for $20. I suppose she could have just gone to the bank and gotten her own cash, but she didn't like the hassle I guess. We ate very frugally during the week, and most of the time my mother made our bread. No offense to my mother, but she wasn't a very good cook anyway, so we would just eat simply. My husband often talks about all of his favorite foods. It occurred to me one day that I don't remember having many favorites as a child, because nothing we ate was that good. lol But I appreciate my mother's frugality.

However, my mother was also very frugal when it came to clothing. When I was a child, the only store bought clothing I can ever remember buying was one dress. We had gone to visit my married sister Nene, and I had forgotten to pack a church dress. All of my other dresses were sewn by my mother. I didn't own a pair of jeans until I was in middle school, and I think they were hand-me-downs. Up until middle school, my mother made my clothes. After that, I often got clothes from my Dad who worked for a women's clothing store chain, and would buy things for me occasionally. I also got hand-me-downs. So, you ask, what did I wear? Well, my mother made many of my clothes out of double knit. In case you don't know, double knit was considered as a replacement for pavement because of it's durability. Okay, I'm joking, but seriously, double knit is one of the strongest materials, and hottest, known to man. My mother made "pant suits" for me. This included a lovely heave double knit shirt with some sort of goofy applique, and a pair of long double knit pants with an elastic waist. Here is a picture of one that I remember:

In case you can't tell, that is a chicken hatching out of an egg. I also had one just like this in a different color that had a large fish chasing a smaller fish, who was chasing and even smaller fish....pure loveliness.

I guess in Nene and Inklings school, it became popular to wear mini-dresses with a pair of bloomers underneath. This gave girls the chance to wear mini's without the immodesty. My mother decided this was a look that I should also try. She made me several short dresses with big bloomers to wear underneath. The bloomers had lace around the bottom of them. I don't think she realized that this fashion trend had not caught on at the elementary school level. I still wonder what the children and teachers thought about this girl going around school in bloomers.

One last torture memory. (Torture for you....) When I was in 9th grade (still middle school back then) my best friend told me that she had decided that she was going to alternate wearing pants and dresses to school. I thought that sounded so grown up and mature, so I made that goal for myself. Every other day I would wear a dress. Looking back, I can't help but wonder who that girl was, because I don't really like wearing dresses or skirts now. But I had set the goal, and I kept it up for an entire year. At least by that point the bloomers dresses didn't fit anymore. ;)


Carma said...

In many ways this gave me some flashbacks. :) Hope you are doing well and have recuperated from vacation.

Christina Bess said...

It's always good to write memories down as you remember them even if you think they are boring. I love reading things from my relatives after they have passed away. I enjoyed your clothing memories blog.

Amber said...

Okay I am dying to see what these bloomers and mini dresses looked like, did the bloomers hang below the mini dress? I love wearing dresses, they're just so comfy and all you have to do is slip it over your head, put on a pair of sandals, and you're ready to go. Also a dress is so much cooler than pants on a hot day.

Inklings said...

Mom used to make Nene and I sister dresses. We both hated them, especially Nene, because she wore hers, then she had to wear mine. Dad would bring boxes and boxes of material home that he got for free from the dress factories. One time Mom got it into her head to make us frilly yellow dresses with long pantaloons underneath, and no, they were not the style. We were mortified to have to wear them to church, and later she made Twist wear the pantaloons for pajamas, so I guess he got it the worst. :0

By the way, Happy Birthday!
(My word verification is cheesest...so close to cheesiest, which is how we dressed when we were young :0) )

Nene said...

Mom made a ton of my clothes too. I remember Inklings and I having matching tank tops and blouses for vacation. Mom would make them from the same pattern, but in different colors. Even as teenagers we were dressed alike.