The first day of September is a portentous date isn’t it? Heralding the end of care-free summer days, and the beginning of school. And when I was growing up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the event we kids waited for all summer, and saved our pennies and quarters for… The Fredericton Exhibition. The Ex. always started the week that we went back to school. So the beginning of September was anticipated with longing and dread in equal measures.
The picture below on the left is of Scout’s first day of school in To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s all gussied up in a new dress and none too happy about it. She’d much rather be wearing her overalls.
I remember kids going barefoot all summer when I was little. And like Scout many of them chaffed at having to become “civilized,” in their good clothes and shoes, for school in September. The shot below is of my mother’s baby brother, Everett, taken one summer in the 1940’s. Isn’t he sweet in his little shorts and bare feet?
Like all the other kids, I both longed for and dreaded the coming of September. But while the thought of school made the butterflies dance in my stomach, I couldn’t wait to wear my new shoes and my new first-day-of-school outfit. ‘Quelle surprise,” I know.
I remember vividly the yearly shopping trips “across the lines” for our back-to-school outfits when I was a kid. One of my grandmothers lived near the Canadian-U.S. border, and everyone shopped in the States,”over across” as we called it, where the selection was bigger and the products a lot cheaper. I’m sure the border guard didn’t suspect a thing when, at the end of the day, Nana’s car rolled up to his wooden hut. “Anything to declare, Mrs. K?” he’d say, while he peered into the backseat where us kids sat, looking innocent in our new duds. “No George. (or Frank, or Sam… she knew all the guards by their first names) Just a few groceries.” It’s not really smuggling if the guard knows darned well that we were clothed entirely in outfits purchased that afternoon… is it?
I’ve been back-to-school shopping most of my life. As a child, a high school and then university student, and then as a teacher. But this year was different; I did most of my fall, back-to-school shopping, in July. I wrote about that adventure in this
post. And while I was still wearing my summer tank tops and sandals, my new fall purchases hung in my closet, taunting me, for weeks.
Until the other day. When, even though the weather said it was still summer, I deemed it was time to start transitioning into fall…. slipping into at least some of my lighter weight fall clothes and combining them with my summer staples.
So, out came my cropped, white, NYDJ jeans, and my black Helmut Lang jacket. Both have done yeoman duty this spring and summer. I ditched my sandals in favour of my Stuart Weitzman loafers. And added this striped, grey and sage green, long sleeved Vince tee shirt.
The tee shirt is one of the purchases I made at the Nordstrom Anniversay Sale in July. I bought the same shirt in white two years ago, and it’s become a staple in my fall and winter wardrobe. It has very long sleeves, which are great for my very long arms. It falls away from the body, good for covering middle age middle. And I love the dropped shoulders, the side slits, and the fact that it’s longer in the back. See.
So I’m off to Nordstrom in this transitional, mostly summer but slipping somewhat into fall, outfit. I’m having a make-up makeover today. Katie, the lovely girl who manages the Laura Mercier counter at Nordstrom is going to show me a new way to do my eye-liner, and at the same time give me a new fresh look. I can’t wait.
And I’m excited that my new look will be featured in the “Midlife Makeover” series on the blog Daily Plate of Crazy
. I’ve been reading D.A. Wolf’s blog for over a year now. It covers everything from relationships, to women’s issues, to fashion, to musings about life after 40. You should check it out. And be sure to check out her post Midlife Makeover: Shake Up Your Makeup
. Love that title.
I love having a new make-up palette for fall. I’ll write my own post about my make-over experience soon. Once I master the skills I’ve learned, that is.
I guess I should start calling my fall shopping “back-to-school…not” shopping. After all, this will be my third September without lesson prepping, and department meetings, and classroom decorating, and school dreams (nightmares, really) for two weeks before school actually starts. I had one recurring nightmare for years when I was a young teacher. I’d turn my back on the class to write on the board and, when I turned back around, the students had all tiptoed out of the classroom. And I was SOOO afraid the principal would come by my room and find that I’d lost my whole class. Phew. That was stressful. I’m not missing that tradition.
How about you? Any back-to-school traditions? And how are you transitioning into fall when the weather says it’s still summer?