Natalie had to "interview" me for homework the other night. She was asking questions about what I was like when I was her age. The questions were simple and fun to answer, and I admitted to her that my favorite song at the age was Rock On by David Essex and she seemed suprised that they had radios "way back then." Then she started asking questions about fashion, and I think at some point my eyes glazed over and I went into a trance where I relived the whole sordid decade.
My mom was the cause of all my major fashion woes. She was the dress nazi. My friends wore jeans to school, I had to wear dresses. Once in a while she would relent and let me wear neatly pressed and creased jeans, but while everyone was wearing Levi's, my mom would take us over to the bargain basement at May's Department store and get us Wranglers. Levi's were light blue and soft. Wrangler's were dark blue and hard. They made you walk like you had a stick up your ass, and the Wrangler label on the back of your jeans usually signified that you were horribly out of the fashion loop.
What the hell did it matter to me, anyhow? I was stigmatized from back in first grade when my mother dressed me up in this hideous pinafore type dress that had an embroidered clock right on the front of it. Can we say DORK? This has become one of those family inside joke things. Whenever I am trying to blame my mother for mental quirks, one of my sisters will always yell "you made her wear a dress with a clock in it!"
There were dresses made out of terrycloth and macrame and velour and shorts that were really skirts and sweaters that doubled as jackets.
I revolted later on, if you can call it that. Yea, I thought I was being cool. I had Earth Shoes, damn it. I had courdoroys. Yea, baby...cordouroys. I had my first pair of platform shoes -with corked heels no less - and groovy bellbottom jeans with patches all over them.
The later in got in the decade, the worse the fashion became. Everyone looked like Stevie Nicks at one point, all angel sleeves and flowing, handerkchief cut hems on the dresses with patterns that could make a blind person dizzy. If you weren't Stevie Nicks, you were Annie Hall, dressed in whatever unmatching ensemble you found under your bed that morning. It was impossible to keep up with what was cool to wear in the late 70's. But when the disco style came in, I bailed out of the fashion race. I toyed with androgony for a while, sporting an ensemble that usually included Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star hi tops in black, a concert jersey (baseball style, with colored 3/4 sleeves), worn out Levi's that were all frayed at the bottom and my then-boyfriend's army jacket.
Then I found my fashion voice. Black. It's simple, really. When you can't figure out what the smart fashion is, or you don't like what everyone else is wearing or you want to hide your head in the sand and pretend that fashion doesn't exist, wear black. You can't go wrong. Black shirt, pants, shoes, sweater...hell, I've got it down right to the bra and panties. You never look dorky or hopeless. Even better, you usually blend into the crowd, and people don't even notice you. Which is nice, if that's what you're going for, like me. It's the ultimate fashion statement, really.
I think I've figured this out. It's the inevitable evolution of my fashion sense and pride. Next time my mother yells at me for wearing black all the time, I can just point my finger in her direction and blame it all on the clock dress.