My Mom was a clothes horse. She could still out-shop me when she was in her late ’60’s. She loved clothes, enjoyed wearing nice things and always looked really put together. She preferred shirt-jacks and blazers and most of her blouses had a bow at the neckline. Mom wore dresses until the mid-70’s when Hillary introduced pantsuits to the world. She might have owned a dress or 2 after that, but Mom had found her comfortable nitch, and rarely strayed from her usual ironed slacks (in every color imaginable plus multiples of white), a loose fitting jacket or blazer (she always thought her butt was big, it never was).

Great aunt Lena, Mom w/bow & loose jacket and Uncle Floyd…

When I was in school, it became important to Mom that I dress nice, and I did. Most of my clothes were not bought though, but hand tailored. That sounds ritzy but it wasn’t. Mom knew a gal who lived across the street from the First Reformed Church in Rock Valley. (I believe she was a stay at home mom with several children. She had an enormous amount of sewing talent. Think this was her way of working from home and helping the family budget) Her name was Mrs. Van Holland. (No first name that I can recall. Rock Valley women usually went by Mrs. So & So. I vetoed that option day 1 of marriage to Hubs).

One of my many hand knit sweaters from Mom…

Mom would get an idea about an outfit for me. Most of her ideas revolved around whatever fabulous sweater she was knitting for me at the time. She might want a pleated skirt to complete my ensemble. Mom got on a shorts kick for a couple of years while I was in high school. Not for her, I never saw in her in a pair of shorts, though I do believe she owned a pair of culottes. Notice I said she got on a kick, not me. Most of this was Mom’s doing. Dead of winter in northwest Iowa, 20 below or worse and that crazy Gerritson girl came to school wearing shorts. Oh Neese. They were bermuda length, always wool, fully lined (thanks Mrs. Van Holland for lining those itchy things). Actually, probably warmer than skirts. Knee socks were popular, so basically only my knees were exposed and showing. Mom also had a thing for orange, her favorite color. She knit me this orange mini skirt. As I remember it was pretty darn short even though we were coming to the age of hot pants and really mini-skirts.

But I’ve never been on the cutting edge as far as fashion is concerned. I guess I’m slow to accept new things. By the time I’m ready to embrace something different, it’s been out of style for a year-minimum. Sometimes I’ve never been on board for what is perfectly accepted apparel. Here’s a great example. I love jeans, always have. Mom never owned a pair of blue jeans or a t-shirt. Different era. I still prefer jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt. This is a casual outfit, no matter how dressy the jeans or top. Why would anyone wear high heels when you’re wearing jeans? Makes no sense and I think it looks dorky and dumb. Tennis shoes, flats, boots, sandals go with jeans, not high heels.

Even my saddle shoes matched…

I don’t like to be the center of attention. Makes me uncomfortable. Stands to reason I would never lean towards outlandish or fad clothes. I don’t want to spend money on a seasonal trend, say a jacket sporting some weird trim or odd shaped sleeves that surely will be out of style in 6 months. Just not me. My grandson Landon mentioned he liked the t-shirt I was wearing recently. Plain, gray Nike swoosh. Landon will be 17 in a couple months. My Nike t-shirt is older than him by a couple years. And still one of my favorites.

2001 with Landon. My Nike t-shirt is several years old already…

So last fall I was in JC Penney looking for work clothes. I buy easy care clothes for the daycare. I get drooled on, snotted on, spit on, pooped on, spit-up on, peed on, and baby food-ed on by those lovable little rascals. Everyday. Everything needs to be washed after my 6 hour shift, including me. And we’re only allowed to wear jeans on Friday. That’s if we pay for that privilege. Boo-hiss. I don’t mind paying, in fact I’d give a buck a day to wear jeans everyday. I’ve never owned so many non-jeans clothes in my life! Anyway, I found a couple of tops that were wash & wear and was ready to check out when I noticed some clearance jean capris. A dark blue pair just past my knee with a cuff. And several holes-on purpose-all over. Cute. But too young. Should be worn by gals much younger than-this-then-soon-to-be-great-grandma. Hmmmmm. Tried them on. Fit nice. Cute. Hmmmmmm. Five bucks. Sold. I’ll just wear them around the house, and if somebody sees me, they certainly will think I came by those holes the old fashioned way, hard work and wearing them for 20 years like my Nike t-shirt.

What was I thinking?

I haven’t worn slacks with a pattern since the wacky 70’s. I don’t know if it’s becauseI think they make my butt look huge, or that I’m just too much of a chicken. To wear printed pants. That’s just plain crazy right? So this loner-introvert bought a pair of herringbone print slacks (on clearance, duh) for work this winter. They hung neatly in my work closet while my I gathered courage to actually sport them for a day being peed, pooped, well you know what happens to me at work. The slacks are kind of loud, not exactly fushia, maybe cranberry and black. No one noticed. Maybe a few of the babies. They’re all into textures and colors and seemed to like my loud pants just fine.

Since it was October when I shelled out that enormous wad on beat-up capris, I didn’t give much thought to them over the winter. In May when it was time to change my dreary winter closet to spring/summer duds, I spotted them again. Didn’t feel foolish or flamboyant when I wore them either. Until Ari came over to pick up Jovi. As she was heading out the door said, “cute capri’s gram.” Oh-boy, a sure sign they’re too young for this great-grandma.

Kerrie, Kelli, Shannon w/hot-pants-mama-me, Christmas 1971…

I was not done with impromtu/foolish purchases just yet. Wandering around the aisles of my favorite department/grocery store Meijer this spring, checking out the clearance racks. My weakness, jeans. Something called boyfriend jeans. Kinda baggy through the legs, with a cuff. If they really are supposed to be your boyfriend’s jeans, that’s the way they should fit I guess. No boyfriend around, but dang if those jeans weren’t sporting similar holes, rips, frayed spots, and something that definitely looked like a patch. Cute though. Hmmmm. Fit cute. Hmmmmm. $2.80. Sold.

Let this be a warning to anyone (of a certain age) considering a similar purchase. These holy jeans and capris can be deadly. Here’s the scoop. Gospel truth. It’s a few weekends ago, and my goal for the day is finishing a story for my blog. Don’t think I’m leaving the house, so it’s a safe bet the boyfriend jeans will be seen by no one other than the Hubs. I lounge around in sweats, reading the paper and finally decide I’d better shower or the day will slip away.

Grab my $2.80 jeans, a comfy t-shirt and head to the bathroom. Shower, dry off, and ready for clothes. Undies, check, shirt, check and now for the new jeans. Got my left leg in, (remember they’re kinda baggy) and I’m sliding my right leg through when my big toe hooks that darling, on purpose knee hole. (Due to my profound hearing loss and Meniere’s Disease, my balance is dicey at best). I start to lose that delicate balance, yet somehow manage to catch myself before flailing into our new glass shower doors. I miss a perfect 10 face plant by an inch above the water level of the toliet. My right arm hits the rim pretty hard causing my head to bounce back up. Gulp. Close, but no I didn’t gulp any water. Still don’t know how I managed not to get seriously hurt. I must have had my dumb foot going through sideways instead of straight up and down. My 3 dollar jeans almost cost some new teeth and a pretty smashed up face. Lesson learned. This old gal will be making no new fashion statements (no matter what the bargain price) anytime soon…

Obviously I need to sit when pulling these on..

2 thoughts on “Fashion-Senseless…

  1. Hi Denise,Glad you didn't get badly hurt.Born too soon, Dept? When I was 12, my mother bought me brand new dungarees ( that's what we called them ). That very evening, riding my new three-speed bike, I fell and ripped a hole in the knee. I went directly to my mother hoping she'd say, \”It's on the seam, I can sew that up.\” Of course that wasn't the case and those \”pants\” instantly became hang-around duds. My mom was very upset and did not offer to buy me another pair ☹️ Tell me, is that ripped style just for females? I don't recall seeing guys wearing jeans with holes/frayed areas. Maybe I'm just not paying attention.Naive Paul


  2. Hey Paul, no I've not noticed guys with rips and frayed, except for construction guys getting them the old fashioned way. Doubtful my Mom would have replaced a new piece of clothing I was careless with either. And they've always been called jeans for Iowa kids. You eastern states talk different. Thanks for your comments…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s