Re: Style

03/02/16 - posted by W.M.

My personal "style" began after I transferred from St Cecilia's to R.L. Stevenson beginning the 5th grade in September of 1965. Ironically I always understood having all of us students dressed alike in school uniforms, but at the same time, the uniform itself was always soooooo uncomfortable for me to wear. Along with that, I always hated having to go home to change clothes before I could play with my friends for the remainder of the afternoon. So in transferring schools, I was able to (most often) wear clothes that allowed me to go to friend's houses right from school to play before I had to be home for dinner (and homework) time. So jeans, t-shirts, Pendletons, Keds/Converse, Derby jackets, etc, all became my "style" of the day. In fact I often later said, "if I can't go to (wherever) in jeans, I won't go!". Now I realize I may have missed out on some potentially memorable experiences, or NOT...hahaha

The Summer of Love introduced me to a couple of variations to include in my wardrobe; tie-dye and bell bottom jeans. I watched many of my music heroes of the time performing in GG Park at the Music Concourse, Polo Fields, and Speedway Meadows all dressed in these colorful, psychedelic clothes. Each one was the same (in uniform) while being unique and different at the same time. This "style" really appealed to both my sense of uniformity, and individuality. So my sister and I read some "how to" articles that we came across at that time, and began experimenting on creating our own tie-dyed t-shirts. She also learned how to turn my straight-leg jeans into bell bottoms by ripping the outer stitching on each leg (up to the knee) and sewing a triangular fabric piece (on her new Singer) in place to create the bell-bottom. We then turned Mom's cement-coated, iron utility sink (in the basement laundry area) into our tie-dye facility. I would empty my dresser drawers of all my older white t-shirts and tie them up in various knots, bind smaller sections with rubber bands, etc, and start filling the sink with scalding hot water and a package of Rit dye powder - one color at a time. At first we tie-dyed a shirt all one color, but as we got better at it we did some multi-colored as well. Honestly not ALL of my new homemade wardrobe came out "perfect", but it all looked "far out" to me. Actually this was probably the only period when I was dressed somewhat "in style".

Throughout my life since then, I've had one rule regarding the clothes I wear, they must be comfortable. I have never owned a tux, or even a proper suit. However, my work required me to wear a shirt and tie with dress pants, so I made certain to select only those that were comfortable while still looking "business worthy". And now that I retired, I no longer have that required mode of dress in my life so I am back to the comforts of my earlier years. One BIG change though, since I live in Phoenix I often wear shorts (as do many people here) much of year. The irony though is that some of my shorts are not unlike those gym-shorts I used to wear occasionally while at Giannini/Lincoln, and GYM was my LEAST FAVORITE class in school.

So I guess I won't be invited to walk "the red carpet", huh?

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