The Mountain Times

°F Mon, April 21, 2014

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All I wanted for Christmas was my old tye-dye skirt, pocketbook, jeans and sandals

I used to have the coolest tye-dye skirt. I ordered it years ago from the Chadwick's catalog. Whenever I wore it, friends and co-workers would refer to my "hippy skirt" (yes, this means you JW). It had every color of the rainbow in it, so I could wear it with anything. The drawstring waist meant it fit into both my skinny wardrobe and fat wardrobe. I wore it until it was threadbare and it pained me to throw it away. And I only just did that last year.
When I wore that skirt I was transported back to the early 70s - my high school and college days. It reminded me of all the other wardrobe items I loved back then.
My daughter has an affection for Coach purses. Every time I see her, she seems to have a new one. When I ask how much it cost, she always replies, "It was 50% off." I never actually know the true price. She has found a little niche market though to help defray costs. When she wants a new one, she sells a couple out of her collection. She doesn't sell them to girlfriends - women want the whole experience of going to the Coach outlet, perusing the aisles and choosing the perfect "on sale" bag. Then when people ask how much it was, they can reply with the stock "percentage off" answer.
What my daughter does is sells her slightly-used purses to men who have girlfriends. They get to look like a hero without having to go to the store and shop. She gives them a discount on the price she paid, but only a little since she already got it at a discounted price. The guys think they made a great deal, their girlfriends are impressed with the purchase and my daughter gets the cash to get a new purse. Everyone wins.
I am not a purse fanatic, though I am currently using a Coach bag - a gift from my daughters. But what I really want back is the macramé bag I slung over my shoulder every day when I headed to classes at Brentwood High School. It was navy blue which meant it matched every pair of jeans I owned. It had beads woven into it and they clanked when they hit my locker. It had no compartments or side pockets. It was one open nylon-lined bag and I could fit a hundred things in it at once.
My macramé bag wasn't practical. I could never find a thing in it. But that was ok, I simply would dump the contents onto a table or my desk and rummage through until I found my lip gloss, spare change, cigarette lighter or the roaming pack of Teaberry gum.
I have reached the age where I buy shoes more for comfort than style. Long gone are the days of high heels and spikey boots. Simple black flats go with most of my outfits these days, though during the warm months and outside of work, I live in flip-flops. I probably have 20 pair.
Back in the 70s, there were four basic types of shoe in every college coeds's wardrobe - buffalo sandals, desert boots, Frye boots and Dr. Scholl's. I didn't own a pair of Frye boots, they were out of my price range. But I was lucky enough to have a friend at college who wore the same size shoe. She would let me borrow her jeans, her baby doll tops and once in a while, her precious Frye boots.
Buffalo sandals actually came in two versions. The flat version was also known as "hippy sandals" or "Jesus sandals." Typically all leather, they went with anything from shorts to jeans to skirts. The ones I had were platforms with beige leather straps crisscrossing over the top of the foot and a buckle around the ankle.
I also owned several pair of wooden Dr. Scholl's in various colors. Though touted as an exercise sandal that forced natural gripping and flexing of the feet, they were extremely dangerous when walking on an uneven surface - though not as dangerous as my platform buffalo sandals.
Desert books were suede, ankle-high boots that laced up through three sets of grommets. They were a staple with jeans and sweaters. I still don't understand the name as I doubt anyone would wear them in the desert. Today, I lean more toward my ten-year-old cowboy boots that I just had refurbished at Cecil's Shoe Repair.
For those who have been reading my column since the beginning, you will recall the infamous one about finding a pair of jeans that fit. That column elicited more fan mail than any other one to date. Boomer women can relate to the dilemma of trying to find a pair of jeans that have enough material to cover the entire boomer butt. Oh how I long for my Levis 501's and the way they felt straight out of the dryer. Fitting more like a glove than a pair of pants, they were the core of every female wardrobe. You could wear them with t-shirts, sweaters, silk blouses and my favorite combination, the white man-tailored shirt.
I hate shopping for clothes these days. I'm not ready for the old-lady polyester pantsuit look or elastic-waist jeans. But this body does not conform to low-slung jeans, midriff shirts, platform heels that make me six inches taller and definitely not thongs.
So I'll just keeping searching for the perfect jeans, flip-flops in a color I don't already have and a tye-dye skirt that screams "hippy."
Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountian Times, she can be reached directly at