General Non-Fiction posted August 16, 2019


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Trying to be cool before it was cool

Having a leg up on the fashion s

by Susan Larson


I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that the latest fashion trend among teenage girls is mismatched socks, which is very upsetting to some parents. And even more upsetting, their daughters are squandering their allowance on socks that are already mismatched! Some are spending more than $20 a pair!

It seems there are a lot of worse things happening in the world for people to get upset over, but if this is big enough news for the WSJ, then I think it deserves some attention from me.

First, I want to say this is not news. Back in 1960 when I was in 8th grade, colored tights were the newest rage. At $1.00 a pair, they were a bit pricier than bobby socks, but well worth 3 hours of babysitting money.

Then Seventeen Magazine featured tights with legs of two different colors. How cool! Only problem was they were $5 a pair! Considering how easily they snagged and resulted in runs, $5 was pretty pricey. However, my friend Mina, who was a lot smarter than I was, came up with a brilliant idea.

"When we get a run, let's just cut off the bad leg and wear two pair, each with a different colored leg," she said. (I think today that's known as "recycling." Mina was a step ahead there, too.)

When we showed up at school, Mina with red and blue legs, and I, with black and red, we were so proud of ourselves, putting our best foot forward both in our fashion sense and resourcefulness.

We strutted down the hall together before class, like we'd just walked off the cover of Seventeen Magazine. Then who came stomping towards us but the principal. He stopped us in our tracks, admonishing us not only for dressing in such a ridiculous manner and disgracing the whole school, but pointing out that we were both in the 8th grade algebra class (the only AP class back then) and that we were expected to conduct ourselves like upstanding citizens and set a good example for all the other students.

"You know all the other students look up to you and want to emulate you. What do you think this school would come to if all the other girls start going around looking like this?" he asked.

Yeah, right. Like all the kids in our school, especially the greasers and the skanks, got up every morning and said, "Gee, I can't wait to see what the geeks are wearing today so I can try to look just like them."

I don't know if he was really that naive, or thought we were that naive, or just couldn't think of any other reason why we shouldn't have a leg up on this fashion trend, but that was at least one time in my life when I was actually thankful that I couldn't afford something.

If Mina and I had managed to come up with the money for those $5 tights, we'd really have gotten hosed.




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© Copyright 2019. Susan Larson All rights reserved.
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