High School Fashion

Yesterday I received an update for a reunion that will be held for my high school class this fall. Memories flowed as I read what was planned.

Although I have seen my classmates since graduation, I still picture them just as they used to be.

I grew up in the 60s so the fashion from that era came to mind. When we went to school we wore dresses or skirts. There were no slacks allowed. Dresses were of a certain length as well. They had to come below the knees. We either wore nylons or socks. The socks were white bobby socks that came to within four inches of the hem of the dress.

Another thing we often wore especially during the winter were knee socks with pleated skirts. I had knee socks in every color to match the skirts that I owned. A simple cardigan sweater was an accompaniment to this outfit. I also had many of them.

We did not resent wearing skirts. That was just the way things were. I had a couple skirts that had large pins to keep them wrapped around you. I loved the colorful plaids. I think the thing that I liked about them was the opportunity to wear different colors to coordinate with them. That made for many different outfits without a lot more clothes.

I went to work as soon as I turned 16. I worked to augment my wardrobe. My mother was raising me without the help of my father. He never contributed to my upbringing. Life was tough. Money was scarce. I had what I needed, but not always what I wanted.

Working helped me contribute to my wardrobe. I was able to purchase a few things that I really wanted. I remember a special aqua plaid outfit that I just loved. I saved until I had enough money to purchase the skirt as well as the sweater. I already had a beige sweater that would match, but I really wanted the aqua sweater to match.

Since there are pictures of me in some of my clothing I am able to remember many of the things that I wore. I had a brown plaid skirt that I wore with red, brown, and orange. Depending how you wore it, it seemed to match everything. Grandpa found a sweater that he placed on a post near where he found it. No one claimed it so he brought it home for me. That was the orange trimmed sweater I wore with that skirt.

We did wear Bermuda shorts and slacks when we were not in school. Once again, my knee socks came into play. I matched them up with my plaid shorts to complete the outfit. There were no jeans in my day — not even to work in. Denim certainly was not in!

I really enjoyed dressing up. I recall that I wanted a poodle skirt, but I never got one. I did get a pretty navy skirt that I wore for special occasions. When I was teaching, my class planned a birthday party for me. I had the same group of kids a couple years earlier and they remembered the date. After lunch, they had the room ready. They brought in some period records (from the sixties) and a record player. They wanted me to teach them how to jitterbug. They were all dressed like we dressed in the sixties. Some of them put poodles on their skirts. That was nearly my undoing because I shared with them that I never had one of those.

There also was a certain fashion with shoes. First it was penny loafers. There was a small pocket where you could actually place a penny. Then we wore saddle shoes — the black and white kind with black soles. Sneakers were in for leisure time but not for school. We only wore those in gym class. And speaking of gym class, we had suits that we were expected to purchase to wear for gym. I remember when they finally let us buy navy shorts and a very long white blouse. We were expected to keep these in our locker because gym class met three times a week.

The next type of shoes we wore were still white and black but they were much lighter. I liked this kind better than those first ones that came on the market. I had to watch what I wore because my senior year I went to work right after school. I had to have on clothes that were appropriate.

We were on split sessions. I reported for school at 7 a.m. and was done by noon. There was a milk break about ten o’clock with donuts offered for purchase. Sometimes we had pizza sales. The pizza was served cold but it really went over well. The reason we had split sessions was because part of the old building was condemned and could not be used. The junior high arrived at 12:15 p.m. and went until 5 p.m. I do not recall how they fit in all of the sporting activities because I was unable to participate. I was at work.

For our last class reunion, we were able to tour the old high school. By now a new building has replaced the one that we attended but the old one is the middle school. What fun it was to walk through those halls and reminisce. There were three floors of classrooms. Most of them are as they were, but now there is a big library in that building. We even got to go up on the roof. It was neat to see what was visible from there. We pointed out all of the landmarks.

I am not sure how my children remember their high school days but I know that many of the outfits they wore are now out-of-date. The hair styles are also different. I hear them teasing each other about their styles from days back. My daughter even did my son’s hair for him back in the day.

Ann Swanson write from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net


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