Back to the Future, Outfit-wise

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Do you know where you were the summer of 1975? Or, more importantly, what you were wearing? I remember that summer vividly. My summer job, my summer crush. My favourite summer outfit. Especially my favourite summer outfit because … I kid you not… it’s pretty much what I’m wearing today. You know, sometimes when I put on an outfit, and look in the mirror, it’s as if I’ve been blasted back into the past, grabbed some clothes, and then been catapulted back to the future. Older, wiser, heavier, wrinklier, but still looking much the same outfit-wise.

Older, heavier, wrinklier, and still dressing the same as in the summer of ’75.

You see, last week when I was supposed to be shopping for sandals and a bag, I stopped into Nordstrom to try a skirt that had been featured in the Half-Yearly Sale. The skirt didn’t suit. But then I pulled on a pair of high-rise, boot-cut Frame jeans with the white jacket, and gold and cream striped tee I was wearing. Oh, my. Those high-rise, boot-cut jeans felt like they were made for me, like they’d always been made for me. When I looked in the mirror, it was as if I’ve been blasted back to the past, picked up my jeans and a tee from the summer of ’75, and then catapulted back to the future. And later when I added a brown belt, the flat sandals I found on sale at Aldo, and a straw bag. Whoa. Flashback city.

High-rise, boot-cut Frame jeans, white  linen Theory blazer, Theory striped tee, brown flat sandals from Aldo, bag from Eric Javits. Orange vintage celluloid bracelet and earrings.
Theory striped tee and linen jacket, Frame jeans, Aldo sandals, Nordstrom belt, Eric Javits bag, vintage earrings and bracelet.

Let me explain about the summer of 1975. I was nineteen. I’d just finished my first year of university, and I had a summer job at the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton. The Gleaner is Fredericton’s daily newspaper, and I worked in the classified ad section. I helped to man the phones and the front counter, taking requests and payment for classified ads. It was my first ever office job, actually my only office job, and I loved it. I felt so grown up to be working in an office, and the other staff were patient with me, and fun to work with. The added bonus was that my friend Colleen worked upstairs in “display advertising”.

Colleen and I ate lunch together every day, usually on a bench in Officer’s Square. And when we weren’t eating lunch, or working, we spent way too much time standing at Colleen’s desk, chatting, and gazing over the glass divider between her department and the newsroom. We both had eyes for a certain young reporter. That poor boy, I wonder if he squirmed under our admiring gazes as we stood ostensibly making lunch plans. So shall we go to the park? Yep. Noon? Yep. Same as every day. We didn’t really need to have this daily discussion… except… of course, we did. Then I’d sigh and go back downstairs to my own desk, jealous that she could glance over the partition whenever she chose.

Elie Tahari jacket, Frame jeans, Aldo sandals, Vince tee, Eric Javits bag, gold hoop earrings from Magpie Jewellry, vintage ivory cuff.
Elie Tahari jacket, Frame jeans, Aldo sandals, Vince tee, Eric Javits bag, gold hoop earrings from Magpie jewellry, vintage ivory cuff.

All that summer when I wasn’t at work, I wore my brown water-buffalo sandals, my high-rise flared Howick jeans (blue or white), and I carried a big straw purse. My sister Carolyn had recently returned from several months in Europe, and she’d brought back straw purses from Portugal for my sister Connie and me. Mine was round with big wooden handles. I carried it everywhere and felt chic and cosmopolitan. None of my friends had a bag straight from Europe.

So whether I was out shopping on Saturday spending my paycheque, wandering downtown Fredericton, or out in the evening with friends, I wore pretty much what I’m wearing here. With variations. Sometimes I wore my white jacket with the embroidery on the back. Sometimes the army green safari jacket I’d just bought. Usually with hoop earrings. But always with a tee shirt, flared jeans, flat sandals, and my big straw bag. My summer of ’75 look.

Elie Tahari jacket, Frame jeans, Vince tee, Eric Javits bag.
No fussy hardware or heavy doodads on this bag.

But let’s get back to the summer of 2019, shall we? Back to the future, as it were. Last week, I started out shopping for sandals, and a bag. I tried on a skirt. And I ended up leaving the store with a new pair of Frame jeans, and a belt. Plus a great straw bag. Liz had introduced me to this Eric Javits bag the week before. But I was looking for a cross-body bag, and, besides, the Eric Javits bag was more than I intended to pay. So I demurred. Then I shopped around. And shopped some more. And pretty much looked at every straw or summer cross-body bag everywhere. I looked twice at the Tory Burch straw bags, but I couldn’t get past the huge logo. I looked at numerous cross-body bags, but nothing tempted me. Nothing suited me.

I realized I seriously love this tote. It’s so simple. So pared down. No doodads, no swinging pom-poms, no obvious logos. And no heavy hardware. It’s much, much lighter than my old Michael Kors straw tote, and it’s the perfect colour. This Eric Javits bag had simply bewitched me. So I went back to Nordstrom and bought it.

Elie Tahari jacket, Frame jeans, Vince tee, Eric Javits bag, gold hoop earrings from Magpie Jewellry, vintage ivory cuff.
I’m ready for my close-up, Max.

So yeah. I’m pretty pleased with my back to the future outfits. I like my new jeans and sandals with the Theory striped tee and my Theory white linen blazer. But I think I prefer them with my plain white Vince tee, simple gold hoop earrings, and the vintage ivory cuff I bought last fall. Plus this old Elie Tahari safari jacket. I’ve had this safari jacket for donkey’s years. I love the detailing: the covered snaps, the silk panels in the front and back, and the deep pockets. And it seems made to go with my boot-cut jeans and flat sandals. Not to mention my new straw tote. Which reminds me so much of that first ever straw bag, way back when.

You know, ever since the summer of 1975, I think that jeans, a casual jacket, flat sandals and a great straw tote have been part of my summer style DNA. Sometimes I go with a really neutral palette, like here. Other times with more colour or a more jazzy jacket. But it’s a combination in which I always, always feel comfortable. Like myself. Like I’ve always been. A bit older and wiser, now. A lot heavier and more wrinkly. But still essentially me.

Elie Tahari jacket, Frame jeans, Aldo sandals, Vince tee, Eric Javits bag, gold hoop earrings from Magpie Jewellry, vintage ivory cuff.
Still me, still my favourite outfit after all these years.

I think all things considered the summer of 1975 was pretty good. The sun shone a lot. I spent most of my pay on new outfits. My old friend Colleen and I spent more time together than we had in years. Neither of us ever made a move to do anything about our mutual crush. I do remember seeing him in the beer tent during a downtown festival one weekend. I almost screwed my courage to the sticking point (a la Lady Macbeth) and went over to say hello. But my nanosecond of bravery soon fizzled. Ah well. It was probably best. Some dreams are not meant to be tarnished by reality.

So how about you my friends? Can you recall what you were doing or wearing back in 1975? Any particular outfit that you wear which blasts you back to the future?

Linking up this week with: Visible Monday#IwillwearwhatIlikeThursday Favourite Things#ShareAllLinkup

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50 thoughts on “Back to the Future, Outfit-wise”

  1. Yvonne Harrison

    Not sure if I was wearing skirts or pants (probably both) but I am 100 % positive I had on a sweater. No matter what time of year or what the thermostat says, I will have a sweater on. Long sleeve, short sleeve, no sleeve. I was born wearing a sweater and my Mother knitted them for me as long as she was able. I am proud to be a Sweater Girl!

  2. I was living in Iran in 1975, and wore long floaty skirts, paired with a lacy top or T-shirt, and had a huge straw bag which went with everything. I loved the way the skirts floated and moved as I walked the sidewalks of Tehran. I had lots of long floaty skirts back then, I remember having a pink, one shouldered T-shirt that I loved and wore wth everything. I have one long floaty
    Skirt now, that I absolutely love, it’s multicoloured and I usually only wear it when I’m on holiday, but you have prompted me to get it out and find a top to go with it, and wear it this summer on the sidewalks of Toronto.
    I look back now and wish I’d kept a lot of those floaty skirts, not that my waist would fit into them now, it was just a look I love. Thanks for prompting the memories!

  3. Beverley in Canada

    Summer of ‘75: at school in Montreal. Away from my Toronto home. Flared blue jeans, light coloured tees, brown leather sandals and belt. White or tan cotton blazer. Straw purse. Gold hoop earrings. You, basically. ?

    Now I’ve been both reminded, and inspired, I think I’ll put on my current version today. It still feels right. Unfussy, and effortless.

    Off to dig up a brass and brown leather necklace I bought that summer!

  4. I was still at school in 1975 and really can’t remember what I wore. I suspect it was probably tshirt and shorts or skirt, too hot for jeans during an Australian summer. I wasn’t interested in clothes and was pretty much a style-free zone at 15.

  5. That outfit suits you perfectly. (That clean, classic straw tote is beautiful.)

    Summer of ‘75? Hmmm. I think I was helping to write song lyrics for a school show and readying to leave for Paris… Those were days of jeans with everything (and very short hair and kohl-rimmed eyes). They were also years when my perfume was Halston.

    I definitely have an outfit that zaps me back (but not that far)… it’s all black, of course. It zaps me back about 12 years. My “goal” outfit motivating me to shed recent pounds (sigh).

    1. Weren’t you lucky to be able to go to Paris so young? I also did the kohl rimmed eye, and my friends and I all wore Charlie perfume. Although Halston was a huge fav a couple of years later.

  6. Wendy in York

    Summer 1975 for me was flares , platform sole sandals & plenty of cheesecloth . These days wider trousers are looking good again & thick soled shoes , but linen instead of cheesecloth . I’m not keen on straw bags even though they seem to be very fashionable just now . Most of them look like beachwear to me even when they are expensive but I love that one . The minimal design , depth of colour & especially the texture – gorgeous .

    1. Cheesecloth…. we all wore it too. Buttoned cheesecloth shirts that after a few wears had to be sewn shut, and pulled on over one’s head. This we learned after an “incident” in a pub when my friend flung both arms wide and every button on her cheesecloth shirt came undone. She was mortified.

  7. I wasn’t so solidified in my outfit choice/style back then. I do remember feeling very chic in a peasant skirt and knee high boots in my first job. I think skirts are a part of my fashion DNA… Love your line “Some dreams are not meant to be tarnished by reality.” How true!

  8. University of British Columbia in 1975 and a favourite outfit was a denim jumpsuit with military style gold buttons and epaulettes…loved the gold braid trim too…always felt in control of a situation when wearing it! So this past fall when I purchased a much sleeker black jumpsuit it did bring back some fond memories of my first and much loved one piece outfit from the 70’s. Love the cool palette of cream and beige in your summer look.

  9. It’s a great, classic look! BTW, a relative of mine has an Eric Javits bag that she loves and tells me has held up for *years.* So it was probably a good investment.

    Summer of 75, I had just graduated from high school and was working two jobs (some days at a gift shop in town, evenings as a cashier in a restaurant) and trying to squeeze in as much time on my horse as I could. I remember wearing a patchwork wrap skirt quite a bit when hanging out with friends.

  10. Pat from Ohio

    I was a junior in college in ‘75. All my school years until then and in my first job I had to wear uniforms so I was still discovering how to dress. Unusually it was jeans and tee shirts.

    I recently discover Eric Javits bags and got one at a resale shop. LOVE yours. Love your taste and style and enjoy reading your blog.

  11. I’m a number of years older than you and was a stay-at-home mom in 1975 (first baby), my outfits were pretty much confined to boot-cut jeans and/or shorts and t-shirts, with an occasional foray into maxi-dresses when attending summer weddings. Usually wore a triangular navy bandana to hold back my my waist-length hair.

  12. Ann in Missouri

    For me, that’s a Lauren Hutton outfit. 🙂 You know … the look where she’s not wearing control top pantyhose, much makeup, sunglasses, striding across the veldt or a Parisian crosswalk.

    Jane Fonda did that look as well, but with boots and a heavier jacket. It was my introduction to the gentlewoman style (a term I learned from Alyson Walsh).

    FTR, in 1980 I was living in L.A. with my soon to be ex-first-husband. Not soon thereafter I was 35 and single in L.A. Everyone should do that once. 🙂

  13. L. Marie Black

    You are always so chic! Even when dressed casually and comfortably. Gorgeous!! Thank you for showing us how to elevate our jeans and sandals. xoxo from California

  14. Hi Sue…Mmm…1975. Flared jeans and a jersey long sleeve, buttoned down top which had birds on it. I’d wash it again and again.
    I wore scrubs back in the day so my casual clothes were lacking.
    I love your new jeans.
    Robin

  15. Just finishing school. I’m Not In Love by 10cc was top of charts. I loved Simon…unrequited. Blue denim bags, floral smock, massive wooden platforms, long hair, Middle parting. Whole life ahead of me. Had I known what I know now I would have: cut my hair, kicked off the platforms and sorted Simon right out. And everything would have worked out fine.

  16. Your jeans are fab and those straw colours look so lovely on you. I spent six months travelling round Europe in the second half of 1974 so by 1975 I was back at uni wearing all the great stuff I’d bought on my trip. Like lingerie from London and Paris, a gorgeous tangerine trench coat from Rome and silver jewellery from Athens. I think 75 may also have been the year of wearing floor length black skirts with white shirts and ties to uni! Not sure what that was about, but my girlfriends and I had fun.

    1. Thanks, Maria. I’m imagining going back to Fredericton with a haul like that! Fall of 1974 is when my sister was in Europe, and she brought back the most amazing leather jacket from Italy. I coveted it for years.

  17. After leaving my above comment I was listening to NPR and they were discussing Elton John’s song Rocketman was mainly a hit because it was played so much on CKLW, Windsor. What a blast from the past. Windsor is only about 60 from Northwest Ohio and we listened all the time.

  18. Same age as you and similar style, but you always take it up a notch and look just great! (Unrelated, but can I ask what color nail polish you use?)

    1. Thanks, Jean. I’m afraid I can’t tell you what nail polish colour I have on because I had a pedicure and I just picked it out of a selection and have no idea of the name. I do know that the salon uses OPI.

  19. I got married in April 1975 and I was 23 that summer. I had just graduated from college and wasn’t working yet that summer. I think I was wearing jeans, shorts and sundresses. We were living in Southern California and the summers were hot. We had a pool right outside our apartment and I know I spent hours sunbathing, lounging by the pool and reading. It was wonderful.

    1. That does sound like a wonderful summer. I don’t think that I ever had a summer off until I started teaching full time. But it felt wonderful to know that for six weeks or so, I didn’t have to be anywhere at any specific time.

  20. Clearly you found your style at a much younger age than I did! I do remember the summer of 1975… I had just graduated from university and was about to move to Alberta to begin my teaching career. I, too, had a summer office job and when I scratched my head and thought about it, some of what I wore that summer came back to mind. I would not, however, be seen dead in those things or anything resembling them today! One thing I remember is lots of small floral patterns; definitely not something I’d wear now. Your 1975/2019 style is much like mine today. I can visualize myself wearing exactly what you’re wearing in today’s post and feeling very much myself. Too bad I didn’t recognize that in 1975. I might have felt much more confident and self assured!

    1. I don’t think I was very self-assured back in 1975, quite the contrary. But I did always know what I liked fashion-wise, if nothing else. Comes from all that practice with Barbie dolls, maybe.

  21. Lovely! The bag is a perfect one,I really like it and safari look is one of my favourites. It suits you so nice.
    I was still in high school ,wearing long floaty (little flowers on black) skirt or my first boot-cut jeans with t-shirts or cheesecloth white (or checked blue-white,with jeans) shirts and tunic (we called cheesecloth clothes “indian” because there was Zagreb Fair twice a year and India has their benches with clothes to sell.). I’ve wear crochet string cross body bag . I was in Rome and Naples with my parents and I’ve bought brown bikini swimsuit for summer
    Two years later,I’ve bought my first safari outfit in Italy,together with caramel sandals with block heels -this is something I would wear today indeed,I loved it so much
    Thank you for the walk down the memory lane!
    Dottoressa

    1. I wonder why it always sounds so exotic when someone else describes what they bought, especially if it came from Europe. I remember crocheted bags very well.

  22. Nancy Faraday

    OMG.
    Howick Jeans. Ballrooms. Five-stars. Do you remember the Tribal vests and dress pants? I think they were Howick, but I could be wrong.

    1. Tribal vests… the name sounds familiar but I can’t picture them I remember shopping at Orientique on Sparks St the first time I was in Ottawa in 1973. I thought it was so cool.

  23. High waisted, wide flares … jeans and trousers … High platforms, pastel stripe, close fitting cheesecloth shirts, keyhole style t shirts and a shirt style chambray / denim dress that I felt sooo grown up in! I also embraced my curls!! Like Annie I was experiencing unrequited love and playing 10cc’s “ I’m not in love” on repeat!
    Thanks for enabling these memories to float around in my consciousness for a while Sue! Good times!

  24. Rosemary ( Rosie)

    Hi m, me again … just wanted to add that ( as always) you have written some really great posts recently Sue … really fresh and always interesting! It amazes me, considering how many you’ve written over the years that you always achieve this … Congratulations! I can never imagine not enjoying your blog! I think you’ve achieved all you set out to do … and more!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Rosie xxx

    1. Thanks so much for saying that, Rosie. Some weeks I think that my posts are meh. Others I’m much more pleased about. But so far I’ve not run out of ideas. Fingers crossed, though.
      P.S. Looks like you guys re having a wonderful trip on this side of the pond.

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