Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bell Bottom Memories

A favorite pair of jeans or a well worn sweat shirt can take the edge off a hard day. We all have them, these items that bring comfort to our lives, the ones that we can’t seem to part with no matter how torn and frayed they become.

As a teenager I had a pair of jeans with many patches. These were placed haphazardly across the backside and in various places along both legs. Colorful swatches of many colors and patterns were attached with clashing thread. Jagged edges and odd shapes were laid one upon the next, to cover each hole, as the threads wore bare with a few more for effect.

My mother and father could not understand why I wanted to wear these things, when a closet of more suitable clothes waited untouched. A teenage basement dweller, I would rise from the deep as they shook their heads and exchanged looks of irritation each time they spotted the dreaded patched pants. Their reaction only served to reinforce my desire to wear them as often as I could.

Fashion rules change and for a few years, the rule of cool was bell bottoms. Denim drug the ground, causing frayed ends that only added to their appeal. Talented seamstresses added color fabric to the side seams to further widen the leg. Hip huggers, topped with wide belts, propped up with platform shoes, were what the groovy kids wore. No one wanted to be caught wearing floods, or high water pants, the polar opposite of cool. Cut off shorts made from the last year’s favorites, were the norm in summer attire.

Skirt lengths were more forgiving, as there was an array of choices from the mini, the midi and the maxi. Maxi coats and skirts paired with granny glasses were hip. Fringe hung on everything from belts to bags and the ever popular suede vest. The true hippie chick donned love beads and flashed an occasional peace sign.

Designer jeans rolled onto the scene in the 80’s, as this generation tight rolled and tucked to avoid any kind of flair at all. Shorter lengths were all the rage and stone wash ruled. Waistlines rose higher and higher, now referred to as mom jeans. By the 90’s the designers had found ways to get big bucks for jeans that came prewashed and pre torn.

I hung onto the old favorites for many years until finally they were too hideous even for yard work and with trepidation, I tossed them into the trash can. The stone wash, ankle length mom jeans are but a memory as well.

As we roll through life, fashion concerns can often take a backseat to the many other areas that demand our time and attention. As I survey my closet, I find that the jeans residing there are all the wrong length, color and size. I find that it is time for a closet intervention. No matter how comfy the old standby’s are, some more fashionable alternatives are much needed. Jean shopping I must go. So I head to the mall with my credit card and memories of styles past tucked into my back pocket.


Terri D. said...

The clothing from this era was never boring? I did love my bell bottoms. Unless of course it was a rainy, muddy day. then what a mess! LOL!

J Goode said...

I remember attending an outdoor concert wearing bell bottoms and moccassins. I can tell you that after draggin through it all day it was very messy, but I would not have missed it for the world.