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Dresses and scarves, Hats and gloves, Shoes and purses, Oh My!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back when I was in junior and senior high school these things were always important to me. I had to have everything match from tip to toe. When we went to church or anything dressy, we sported it all - dresses, scarves, hats, gloves, shoes, and purses.

I was very fortunate growing up. My mama was a teacher and really enjoyed clothing, skin care, makeup, and accessories. Monetarily we weren't really wealthy or anything. But both of my parents worked, so mama and I could also aford to get our hair cut, curled, and in her case colored. She taught me so much about fashion, color combinations, etc. I loved to watch her with her skin care and make up. Often she would spray me with a spritz of perfume! Then there was her nail polishes. She usually used some shade of red. She would also follow the moon at the bottom of her nails. I noticed nails polished the same way in movies meant to take place in the 40's - 60's. But I guess a lot of this explains a lot of my obsessions with these things! The best part of all of this is we would go shopping to some of the better stores four times a year and she would let me get one outfit each time. The rest of the time she would show me to have all these beautiful things at very reasonable prices. Lots of it was searching sales and finding discounts. Today I still enjoy buying at the outlet stories.

Some of these ideas are dated, I know, but it was how my generation learned. The only time we wore capris, slacks, shorts, etc. was for sports activities and outdoor events. In school we were expected to wear dresses or skirts that hit below the knees. If the principal or a teacher thought our outfit was too short, we were made to kneel. If our skirts didn't touch the floor, a girl was often sent home from school. We also had to wear stockings with our shoes and sandals when we had on a dress or skirt. I remember my mama being so happy when panyhose first became popular and when teachers were permitted to wear pant suits to work!!

When I was 20, my brother and sister-in-law were living in Illinois as my brother was going to school for his PhD. At that time United flew from our little local airport and they had a discount card for those 18-21. I was able to fly to see them because it was about 1/2 the normal cost. I can remember the pink with navy trim suit I wore. I also had navy low heels and carried a navy purse and wore white gloves. I didn't wear my hat then as I didn't want it messed up on the plane. It was the first time I flew and I only knew what others told me. The plane wasn't very full and at a layover to pick up passengers, the stewardesses (that's what they were called in those days) came to my seat and were talking to me. One asked me if I was going to "Stew School" for United. The others were excited and before I could answer, they started telling me the ins and outs of school! I was kind of in shock. I mean, I couldn't have because of wearing glasses and being married. Those were two rules that couldn't be broken then. But they were all so beautiful with great personalities. I didn't even think I was pretty and I was so, so shy. Finally I took off my gloves and they saw my wedding rings. Then they changed the subject and we talked about my husband being in Viet Nam and my brother at the University of Illinois. They told me because I was dressed to a tee, the right age and going to Chicago, they thought I was going to school!!

Even today there are some fashion rules my mama taught me that are difficult for me to give up on. The white after labor day rather went by the way, as she wore white a lot in her later years in Florida. As soon as I lived here, I did, too.
I have had a difficult time with going barelegged with shoes and sandals. I never did like bare feet inside a shoe. I still try to match my purses with my shoes and outfits, but I would rather have a few well made ones than a lot of inexpensive ones just in order to match. And to be honest, I hate changing everything around a lot. Each season seems to work for me.

My hats I still love though I usually only wear the good ones to church. I have several western style ones and lots of ball cap styles. Most of those are from Bob. I also have some visors, but rarely wear them as I have to keep out of the sun and they don't give much protection. Some straw hats that kind of flop are a part of my collection, too.

Because of all of this, I guess it was no surprise when I went to cosmetology school when the PD had the layoffs. I enjoyed doing manicures beside hair. All the wonderful colors are impressive. So many are alike, but I always changed mine up each season. Our teacher was fond of saying " You can't sell it if you don't wear it." That is so, so true. I love OPI polish. It holds up really well for the price. And I love their colors and the names!! some of my favorites are Hawaiian Orchid, Barefoot in Barcelona, and Cajun Shrimp. So much fun!!

A lot of family and friends will give me scarves and/or pins. I love them both. Mama also taught me if you have one or two good pieces the others can all be costume. And being I never like to be like everyone else, I still mix a lot of her costume jewelery even though it can be 45-60 years old. I love it! Sometimes I'll get strange looks, but hey! I like how I look and the appreciation for the fashion lessons my mama taught me.

I know I have shown this picture a lot, but I think it shows my mama's love for matching, hats, skin care, and makeup. She was paralyzed on her left side and in the nursing home but her aides all new how she liked to dress and how to do her face care and makeup. She was 84 in this picture on Mother's Day. She passed away in July that year. One of aides wanted to come in to dress her even if she was off duty. They called her in, and the woman did her hair, her face and dressed her in a beautiful dark jewel green outfit. I think she would have been very happy.

Love and peace to all my friends.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I enjoyed the story. I did a little walk down memory lane right along with you. emoticon
    2221 days ago
    I love this story. I can certainly relate. I guess I have also passed my love of these same things to my D. She still, at age 32, loves to match her shoes and purse to every outfit. Recently we went into my closet to show her some purchase I had made and when she looked at my shoes all lined up she commented that , even her closet didn't have as many shoes as mine, however, I dispute that because when we shop together she will purchase two pair to my one. Lol, what fun we have! emoticon
    2222 days ago
    Thanks Evwing for this heartwarming story. What lovely memories you have of your wonderful mother. I wore a hat to my youngest daughter's weddings. One of my friends wore one too. I love hats but I only own a couple and don't often wear them. Today's dress codes are different, agreed, but isn't it nice to show some individuality in makeup, hair and jewellry. Thanks so much for sharing!!!! emoticon
    2222 days ago
    A very nice tribute to your mother, and a nice insight into who you are as well. I still can't go bare legged unless its just sandals under pants. I remember having to wear dresses in Elementary, but that started to change by the time I got to jr. high and high school. By the time I graduated from high school, dresses were more the exception than the rule. They went really short when I was in jr. high, and then by high school and college, the midi lengths were in. It was so nice to have that hiatus from the mini skirt.

    I think we would benefit from being a little more formal and careful about our dress today as well.
    2223 days ago
    I loved reading this blog, Ev! My grandmother loved her accessories, not scarves and hats so much, but certainly her handbags and shoes...though the women in my family were never big on makeup. You mother looks as my Mum would say 'like she was taken straight out of the box' - just perfect. I am sure those memories of her are very precious.


    2223 days ago
    Great blog and such wonderful memories.

    When I travelled to India two summers ago, I brought 20 pair of knee highs to go with my sandals and salwar suits . . . I got lots of funny looks for this and for being a white American in Indian clothes. I still have trouble with not wearing stockings and this year was the first year I found some comfort in being bear legged (as well as a wealth of financial savings). Being at goal weight seems to give me a little more confidence. I continue to enjoy hats for both function and style! - Some of these summer restaurants are too air conditioned to not have something on my head to compensate (I do not enjoy eating if I feel like I'm freezing).
    2223 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 12:25:56 AM
    When I was writing this last night, I never dreamed I would have so many comments from those of my same generation! It does amaze me that so many mothers were teaching us the same things no matter how close or far they were. I was also glad to see someone else loves the older jewelry as I do. My mama was a teacher and a lot of her pins were from students at the end of the year. The necklaces and bracelets were mostly from my dad or my brother and I.

    Someone asked if I passed on the info. I was a Girl Scout leader and one of the things I enjoyed was having my council bring in seniors to teach the troops some of the things they knew best and talk to them about their lives and let the girls ask questions, etc. There were so many fascinating ladies in our community. But yes, this info was passed on to them.

    As so many of you, I hate to see the too tight pants or those hanging down. Under garments showing in any way gripes me, too. So many of my tops show my bra straps because they have become too large!

    Anyway, thank you all for your wonderful comments!

    2223 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/19/2012 9:47:07 PM
    Your mother was a beautiful lady!
    2224 days ago
    Ev, Your mother was a doll. Such a lovely blog.

    I have to have makeup on too and losing some weight helped me to get back to dressing nicely. Some of the dress codes went away in the 70's but, I remember telling a H.S. friend she should not wear navy blue and black together...even if it was jeans and a t-shirt. I thought it looked trashy.

    Wish I could still wear the heels but, comfort comes first. I have some with platforms that feel great!

    Bridie....panty lines LOL! Not for me either and no underwear hanging out.
    2224 days ago
    EV, we are kindred spirits i just love to tell a story, even better i like to read a nice long story in a blog. That was a great blog, I totally enjoyed it.
    I grew up poor in England but my mothers mantra was clean honest and educated. Even though we were poor and at time homeless it came through for me. Follow my mothers example I am so happy I did. I am 68 years young and loving my life Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2224 days ago
    Ev, we're from the same generation..to this day I will not wear a top that shows my bra straps, or pants so tight they show a panty line, or leave the house without makeup,. We are indeed our mother's daughters..and tht's a proud thing to be.
    2224 days ago
    Ev, you must be from my generation! My, how things have changed!
    But, it's always fun to rehash our youth isn't it?
    My 19 year old GD refers me as her 'party-girl' GM. You wouldn't know it now, though.
    How are you?
    2224 days ago
    That is an incredible story. It's incredible how much times have changed. I never had anyone teach me anything about these things. Most of my clothes growing up were hand-me-downs, but when I did get a few things at the beginning of each school year my mother was particular about what she wanted to see me wear (at least until I became a teenager). I never had anyone to teach me how to do my makeup or my hair. I had a Walgreens cosmetics clerk show me a few things, but I was in my 20s before a friend took pity on me and showed me the right way.

    Did you pass on all these lessons to the next generation? If you had the time I bet you could find a girl scout troop or a church group of young girls and they would love to learn things like this.
    2224 days ago
  • LINDA!
    This is a lovely photo and a lovely blog. I am 57. I remember those rules of dress so well. Even when I was working, I always tried to dress up. Also tried to have my hair cut and styled. I still wear polish on my nails and have my feet pedicured. Much of this is good, as I also live in Florida and wear sandals most everyday.

    There are times that I look at styles today and so wish some of the old rules still were in effect.
    2224 days ago
    I bet you never in your wildest dreams thought people of all ages would be wearing flip-flops everywhere they go. The only flip-flops I owned were to wear in the showers at camp, and I hated those crazy things. This was a wonderful blog.
    2224 days ago
    Ev this is a wonderful blog.I am 53 but my Mum had me as an afterthought,she has been dead since 2001 and she taught me the same rules your Mama taught you.Isn't it funny My Mum was a war bride brought up in London England thousands of miles away from your Mum yet she taught me the same things. I loved the photo of your Mama and I am sure she would be so proud of you .I think I see something of her in your smile.When my Mum died I lugged home all her jewellery and some of the prettiest pieces of her scarves and handbags ,people thought I was nuts ,they are 50 years or more old (my Mum looked after her things) but who is laughing hardest, Kayleigh my daughter is 25 and she will wear some of those pieces now and when people compliment her on them and ask her where she got them she says "London" she doesn't add unless she knows them well it was London in 1965 or 1972 or perhaps even 1954 LOL!
    2224 days ago
    What wonderful memories you have of everything your mother taught you.
    2224 days ago
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