By Larry Teren
They say that ‘clothes make the man’. Yeah, sure- they make the idiot. And I should know.
If you are a baby boomer, you probably remember pedal pushers. My older sister wore pedal pushers during one summer in the 1950’s.. These were pants that were designed to make it easier to ride a bike. The cuffs ended a few inches above the ankles. Then just like that a couple of years later, nobody ever mentioned pedal pushers again or at least for forty more years.
In the mid-1960’s I got into the fashion act in high school. Well, it wasn’t really stylish but more practical. Ma bought me corduroy slacks to wear on those one hour long public transportation rides to and from school. Whiskey colored, wide grain- the kind that made the whooshing noise when your thighs rubbed against each other as you walked. It went great with a matching poncho shirt popularized by Fess Parker on the Daniel Boone television show. Poncho shirts, of course, were the open collar shirts that required a string pulled tight tied like a shoe lace. And let’s not forget the turtle neck dickie. You wore it inside your shirt under your collar. It made it look like you were wearing a turtleneck sweater underneath your shirt. Again- very practical for looking for ways to keep warm but not overheated as you traveled during the bitter wintery march to school and back.
Into the 1970’s and college bound, I was intrigued by those ‘keep on trucking’ cartoonish ads and soon bought me some bell bottom pants and white patent leather two inch heel boots. Yeah, go ahead and say it. But, it was very stylish along with the two button blue denim material sports jacket. Along with the long side burns aka porkchops and Rollie Fingers type fu man chu mustache, I was nobody to be messed with.
Once that fad evaporated, I got very comfortable into the Billy Jack thing. I bought me one of them Indian hats, a blue jean cowboy jacket that cut off at the waist and a scowl that let everyone know I wasn’t to be messed with or I’d make them drive their car into the lake just like Bernard did. If you don’t know this movie reference, go watch the film- sheesh!
Once the 1980’s rolled around and I was trying to construct a career as a computer consultant , I gave up the expensive habit of wild clothes in exchange for paying the rent, a car loan and the daily bread. When the rent turned into a mortgage, I gave up wearing clothes- nah, just kidding (or am I?).
As I get closer to those social security years, I find that I don’t particularly care what others think about how ratty I dress but do make sure not to get any locals confused about my gang color association.
Besides, if and when I need something new to separate the world from seeing my natural beauty, I go to Walmart and check what is on sale. It would be nice, though, if all those fashion designers in Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, and China would check with me so I can let them know what is in style.