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When Clothes Talk

“Hi, Gran, you look like Dad!”  Micah said.  I’d walked up behind my six-year-old Grand while he played with Matchbox cars on a track he’d made in the dirt.  He turned quickly and looked up to greet me.

             “Micah,” I said, “why do you think I look like your Dad?”  Son2, aka son-in-law, and I are about the same height, and he could wear my t-shirts, but his would be a bit tight for me.

            “What you’ve got on,” my Grand answered. “Doesn’t Dad have a shirt like that?” My t-shirt had a bicycle on it and because Son2 has ridden in many biking events, he often wears t-shirts with a picture of a bicycle.  I shook my head to answer Micah, and realized I was wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes, like Son2 wears most days since he’s been working at home during these months of the pandemic.

            Now, I love Son2, but Micah’s words that I look like him made me think about the clothes I wear. What other time in history would a child’s father and grandmother wear the same type of clothing?  I can think back one generation when my mom wore pants, but not jeans.  Her pants often had elastic waistlines and were made of stretchy fabric, and Mom wore long Bermuda shorts in the summer.  I never saw either of my grandmothers wear pants; even when Granny hoed the beans and pulled weeds from her flowerbeds, she wore a cotton shirtwaist dress. 

            History tells us that in the mid-1800s, women wore bloomers under dresses. By the early 1900s, women’s trousers appeared on high-fashion runways. During World War II, when more women entered the workplace, they wore pants for comfort. It wasn’t until the 1960s that pants became fashionable and popular for women.  And even then, we college students in the late 60s remember that pants weren’t allowed in classes.  I often wore my lightweight knee-length raincoat over shorts or pants to class.  

            By the early 1970s, pants suits, made of matching or coordinating fabrics, were poplar and comfortable.  The long tops were several inches above the knees and covered loose wide-leg pants.  And then the hippy revolution hit, with bell-bottom pant legs and jeans, and women began to wear pants everywhere.

My favorite jeans were bell-bottoms, wide legs that dragged so long that I almost tripped.  Now, like most women, I have several pair of jeans and I’ll keep wearing them.

            Who doesn’t have a collection of comfortable t-shirts?  We wear them to support sports teams, state our beliefs, and show where we have travelled.  But Micah made me think that I’ll wear other shirts when I’m out and about.            

The day I wore a t-shirt without writing or a picture and visited Micah’s house, his mother said, “You’re dressed up.  Going somewhere special?”  I didn’t tell Daughter that I was wearing a plain pink t-shirt because of something her son said, instead I said, “Yes, to visit with all of you!”

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