I have a web site, two Facebook pages, several fashion apps on my iPhone and sometimes I Tweet. I subscribe to online sites for Vogue Magazine and Daily Candy, which give me up-to-the-second fashion and trend tracking in selected cities. Technology is influencing what we wear with the touch of a keyboard or iPad. Information is constant and sometimes overwhelming. And I can’t get enough of it. Besides the online fashion stream, I receive several magazines and newspapers that editorialize trends on local, regional, national and international perspectives.
As a teenager growing up in the Midwest, August meant the fall issues of Seventeen and Glamour magazines were available with back-to-school trends. I imagine our mailman was not thrilled about squeezing the two-inch thick volume of fashion into our mailbox. It would take several hours for me to analyze every picture and article from cover to cover while sitting by the pool or in my semi-private bedroom shared with my little sister. I would tear out photos of styles I thought I could copy and read about parties and models who lived in exotic places like California and New York.
There were ninety-two of us in our senior class at Ladywood, an all girl’s school in Indianapolis, Indiana. We had to wear uniforms of tan blazers, white blouses and brown, heavily pleated skirts, which could never be worn above the knee. If there was a question about the length, we were asked to kneel so Principal Sister Dorothy Mary could make sure the hem touched the floor.
Shoes had to be brown and most of us preferred penny loafers or saddle shoes until one of the upper class divas wore a pair of Bass tie weejuns, and the rest was footwear history. Shoes were one of the only ways of making an individual statement, even though there were several attempts to modify the dreaded uniform. We rolled the waistband of the skirt to make it short, hoping to have enough time to unroll it when we saw the nuns coming. The original uniform was later replaced by a herringbone suit with a collarless jacket, box-pleat skirt and Peter Pan collar blouse. It definitely didn’t resemble anything being worn in Seventeen Magazine in 1969. Modifications were continued with the new uniform, like filling in the herringbone fabric with a pen during Latin class.
Recently, I’ve been contacted by ten of my Ladywood classmates through Facebook. These are women who I have not seen or heard from in over forty years. Did I say forty years? It started with a posted graduation composite photo, then lots of comments, more images and friend requests. It has been a bit like time travel as we learn what has been happening in the lives of girls that experienced the late ’60s in a private school together. The class is scattered throughout the country and we have pursued diverse professions. Postings included specific memories of the good old days along with discussion about hair color and going gray, pets, ex husbands, children, grandchildren and tracking the missing. One of the missing was Carla Farnsworth, who by some miracle ended up in Benicia after having a career on Broadway as a dancer. Carla now teaches at Stage One Dance Studio and has been discovered by her Ladywood classmates through a link to the Studio’s website.
It’s August 2011 and I’ve turned off my laptop, iPad, iPhone and PC because the fall issues of my favorite magazines are due to be delivered any moment. Even though the internet is the way of the future, I still prefer a magazine with its special scent, glossy pages and beautiful images to the glow of the computer monitor. My collection of old magazines has grown through the years, and finding a place to store them is a challenge (currently in unused kitchen cabinets) because I can’t part with them. It’s great to reconnect with a click of the mouse or the turn of a page with a lifetime of friends, and of course, fashion.