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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 white 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.
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?
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