Haute couture has never been my style.
Then again, I avoid the Vermont Country Store muumuu look whenever possible.
But, truth be told, my husband and I are the type of people who hang on to stuff — like clothing — long after others have let go.
For instance, when one of our three kids needed an outfit for a middle- or high school ’80s theme day and their classmates were rigging Flashdance ensembles from Shopko sales rack finds, we simply walked to a closet and pulled out a T-shirt from the Who’s 1982 “Farewell Tour.”
Protests ensued while we contended this, like original Coke, was the “real thing.” They typically caved and wore the garment. Despite being met with peers’ skepticism, they reluctantly admitted teachers of a certain age admired the shirt and praised their good taste.
Examples of other vintage items still in my possession are a varsity band shirt from my senior year of high school (eons ago) and a couple pairs of jeans from eighth and ninth grade.
Fashion has taken a turn for the retro — or maybe I have just crossed the threshold to the age when everything old is new again.
A major household move last year forced us to confront our packrat tendencies. Egged on by our two pandemic-penned college-aged young adults, I boldly donated or tossed belongings to which I’d stubbornly clung for decades.
Out with the ragged bath towels! Gone were several dozen plastic souvenir cups, some of which dated to the early ’70s (don’t worry, we checked; they were worth nothing on eBay)! Banished to the trash were socks with worn-out toes or heels!
Lightening the load almost started to feel restorative; we whittled away at drawers and piles, realizing it meant less clutter and weight in the long run.
But what fresh hell was this? I’d no sooner clipped dated shoulder pads from the ’90s blazers and blouses I opted to keep when J Lo or Kim Kardashian was seen stepping out with visibly enhanced shoulders.
And the second I reluctantly donated my high-waisted ’80s jeans (Did they fit? A separate question!), the low-slung skinny-legged denim I’d fairly recently acquired was suddenly declared passé … and, wouldn’t you know, it was all about “mom jeans” (is that term a compliment or an insult?) once more.
Among my most regrettable “gotta go” actions concerned fanny packs. For years we had acquired them, in various fabrics (usually cheap synthetics) and colors, often as promotional giveaways from medical centers, fishing gear companies and the like.
“Mom, you are NEVER going to use those,” asserted my daughter, her voice firm and assured. “They’re ugly and you look totally dorky.”
With a sigh and a few backward glances, I launched the entire pile, adjustable straps dangling like menacing snakes, into a plastic bag destined for Goodwill.
Then, walking through the Mall of America in mid-July, I almost hyperventilated.
“I have to get out of here,” I told my daughter, who was sporting … a new leather fanny pack that is apparently all the rage.
In the department store aisles were racks of bell-bottomed pants, “mom” jeans, tiered “prairie” skirts, peasant blouses, platform sandals, tie-dyed T-shirts and sundresses with wide ruffled straps.
“I already survived the ’70s,” I justified.
Seeing the styles I had so recently been urged to toss reemerge as major fashion statements was too much; the industry taunted me, daring me to have a second go.
Be assured no one will persuade me to part with another article of clothing, no matter how out of date it appears to be — because it’s certain that in fashion, what goes around comes around.