When you get to the top of the stairs and find you are clutching the butter and not the washing, you know you are losing your mind. It has been that kind of day. Do not even bother asking where I put the washing.
I was thinking earlier, as I plodded off to pay the bills, about clothing. As one does. How it has changed. When I was a student, it was the era of mini skirts, hotpants and maxi dresses. The era of extremes. I had one outfit I loved - a dress which was short, with buttons from the waist to the neck, and matching hotpants (shorts) to wear under it. It was orange floral. And those of you who are YOUNG can stop wincing this instant. It was classy and I looked stunning.
I remember walking up the thousands of steps at university wondering if my pants (as in underwear) were visible. We all did. Our skirts were SHORT back then. And then, we had the long floating maxi dresses too, which were a lovely way to feel cool and feminine. They created their own breeze. Hell to walk up stairs in, of course, especially when we were clutching heavy files, and couldn't hoik the dress up. It is a wonder our teeth were not knocked out when we tripped.
In res, we were required to wear academic gowns to dinner. And any evening function meant evening dresses. I must have had about 6 or more when I was a student. Probably more.....
If you went to the Opera House (the Nico Malan in Cape Town) to see an opera or ballet, the dress was black tie. Men in dinner suits and ladies in creations - long and formal. I can tell you it made going out ultra special. You would get there early and waft about in your long dress, sipping cocktails before the performance started. My Dad loved sherry over ice. I remember that well. We went to every ballet and every opera. And then there was the theatre....... we had 2 main theatres back then - the Nico and the Baxter, and you dressed smartly when you went to a show.
You know, it was great to have the chance to dress up. I loved it. And I have to say that I have never met a man who did not look stunning in evening dress.
When we got married, I did bring a maxi dress or 2 to the UK. My mother-in-law was appalled. So they were relegated to the back of the cupboard. But when I went to sea with Geoff when he was in the RFA, the dress code was veerrrrry strict. You could wear jeans ashore, or during the day, but absolutely NOT into the lounge or to a meal.
Mind you, in those days, wives were not allowed to darken the doors of the lounge without a male escort, so if G was working through meals, he had to organise one of his junior officers to escort me. There was much rolling of the eyes on my part, I can tell you. And we had to wear skirts at lunch time, and long dresses at night. Just as well I had so many.
The officers all wore their uniforms at lunch and the monkey jackets and dress uniforms at night. The ones with short white jackets, cummerbunds etc. Gorgeous. The stewards used to love washing and ironing my evening dresses and would be vocal in their advice about which one to wear each evening. Accessories too. Hysterical.
And when we had our first home, and entertained at least once a week, our friends wore evening dress. So did we. Unless it was a BBQ, of course. It all changed when the kids came along, though. The entertaining was more family friendly, because we were parents and exhausted! And it was often a last minute gathering of groups of friends, which I loved. I still love impromptu gatherings.
When Geoff left the RFA and joined a commercial company instead, he still wore uniform for dinner, and we (wives) still changed, but not into evening dress. Just into something smarter, usually a dress.
And now??? I think I own one or two dresses. I seriously doubt if they would fit. Scarlett o' Hara had the right idea. You remember the scene where she was hanging on to the bedpost while she was laced into her corset? I need one of those corsets. Urgently. Not to mention the bedpost to hang on to and the maid to lace me up. Everything seems to have lost elasticity and expanded alarmingly. And forget layering - unless it is of the elasticated variety. Layering just makes me look even more rotund. Groan.
I happened to be in Tesco this morning, and I saw a floaty top. It actually reminded me of the tops we wore when we were pregnant. All the fashion nowadays. Floaty can also hide a multitude of sins too, remember..... Anyway, I went to try one one, and it didn't look bad, but what do I know, so I opened the door to the changing room, and asked a passing young Mum (about the same age as my children) if I looked ridiculous in it. Whether my children would be horrified. Whether I would "pass in the dark" as my Dad used to say. She liked it. She also told me she would not say so if she didn't mean it. That was after I said she was free to be totally honest, and gave her the beady eye.
It is almost a full circle in some ways - wearing something which is the same as I once wore when I was young. That sounds strange, but I know what I mean. I miss those long dresses. the way they made me feel. The opportunity to dress up. Feel special. Pretty. I almost wish they would also come in full circle too.
Nowadays, the only opportunity to dress up happens at the occasional "special" birthday. I have some evening outfits - I love them, and they are timeless. But I miss the dresses. And the high heels - oh heavens, they were high. But we can talk about shoes another time. I am certain I wouldn't make it more than 2 steps before I did serious damage to something. White boots.......
Enough of the nostalgia for now. I don't think I have finished talking about fashion from days past.... I may return to the subject. It is fun looking back.
What fashion item do you remember most? Tell me.... I would love to hear!