Aug 8, 2009

"Appropriate" Clothes

We just got back from a short vacation this week. I am still catching up on the laundry...

During the vacation I took a book with me from a series that I had read when I was a young teenager. It was written in 1960, so the sentiments in the book are still in the 50s mindset.

Appropriate clothing, for example. I was struck by the references as they seemed to be addressing a growing trend amongst the younger set. The storm clouds were gathering! As I was reading I knew I had to do a post about it. Ironically, 50s gal has posted about this very same thing. You can read her post HERE. Apparently, it's time to speak up about the situation of "appropriate!"

Read the excerpts below and see if they sound an interesting chord with you.

(Donna, who is 14, has been asked to a party. She has decided to wear her cashmere sweater. She asks her mom for permission since it's her "special occasion" sweater.)

Mrs. Parker sighed. "I suppose it's all right. And which skirt will you wear with it?"

"Skirt? Why, my plaid Bermudas, of course."

"I should say not!" Mrs. Parker announced, in a very definite tone. "Personally, I think it's disgraceful the way you girls wear shorts to parties. I certainly will not have a daughter of mine appear in public, in the evening, and with a boy, wearing shorts."

"I don't care," the dark-haired girl pouted. "Everybody wears shorts, and I don't see why I can't, just because I have a mother who's so old-fashioned."

"It's not necessary for me to give any reasons," Mrs. Parker said. "However, my own feeling is that half the trouble with the young people today starts with the way they dress."

(The boy comes to the door and the little brother comes up to tell Donna. He informs her that the boy is wearing "A shirt and tie like Dad wears to the office, and a fancy jacket.")

Donna smiled. Wasn't it lucky she had worn this dress? She grabbed her short white gloves and slowly, majestically, walked down the stairs."

(Funny how Donna didn't give her mom credit for insisting that she dress appropriately! Donna's best friend's mother had just died and Donna wanted to go to her house to comfort her as the arrangements were being made. Her mother had just explained how important it would be for her to just be a friend.)

"Now get dressed so you can go over to Ricky's."

Donna sighed. "Could I wear my dungarees, or should I wear a dress?" This was all such a new experience.

"Certainly not dungarees. There will probably be other people at the house, Donna--family and friends. Dress as you would to go to school."

(Donna and her mother invite Ricky on a shopping trip to look for a dress for the 9th grade graduation. Ricky has chosen a more grown up dress than the full-skirted dresses the other girls will be wearing.)

According to Ricky, it was perfect. She ran her hands down the sides of the gown. "It looks as though I'd been practically poured into it," she said delightedly.

"Don't you think it's a little too bare looking for graduation?" Mrs. Parker asked, trying as hard but as tactfully as possible to discourage the girl.

"Everyone else is going to wear full skirts," Donna added. "And won't that be hard to walk in? It looks sort of--" she searched for the right word, "--sort of slinky."

(Ricky later realized it was indeed inappropriate and returned it.)

Interesting, no?

My favorite drawing in the book showed the two girls (14-years-old, mind you!), the mother, and the hostess as they entered the luncheon area. What they're wearing is appropriate for shopping and a light lunch. Nary a dungaree in sight!


Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

Wow! This is funny...I just bought that VERY book at a thrift store. I haven't gotten up to the part about the clothing, though.

I read all of the books in this series when I was a teen (I was born in '53), and have bought many of them recently at thrift stores for $4 each. They are so great. Good manners and good principles were taught.

I have a collection of Scholastic Book Services books, and have posted their names and authors. I'll get you the link. You might enjoy some of them and may be able to get them in libraries.

And...I have done a series of posts (chapters) from the 1964 book by Kay Arthur: Secrets of Loveliness.

Click on Secrets of Loveliness on my sidebar. There are about 40 posts.

Thanks for sharing. I miss those days, when everybody dressed appropriately.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

Here is the link, Roxanne:

I have many books listed here.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

Here is another link from my site:

It is the high school dress and behavior code from 1969-70. Read it and weep!

Elaine said...

Hi....I have read a couple of these books (born in the 1950's myself). By the time I was a teenager things were changing very quickly, but I still have fond memories of the way my Mom and my aunts dressed and did things! I find myself today trying to replicate this. I really enjoy your blog and the fact that you appreciate some of those things.
I have given you an award and you can stop by my blog whenever you like to pick it up. You're supposed to give the award, in turn, to 15 others. I thought that was quite a large number and it was time consuming, so I'm just letting everyone know that they can handle it anyway they like. You can give the award to as many OR as few as you want to. Just enjoy. :)
I really like hanging around your lovely place and I thought you deserved it!
Elaine :)

Amanda said...

I did not read this particular series as a child, but I love reading my childhood favs from time to time. They remind me of happier times :)

Roxanne said...

Mary--thanks for the link! I loved reading through them. I read the school rules about manners outloud to my son. I don't think he really believes other people have to follow those rules, too LOL!

Elaine--thank you for the award! I appreciate that you're finding things of interest on my blog. I love how we can share common interests with one another.

Amanda--I love reading the childhood books again because I now have a different perspective. Now I relate to the MOM! I recently read through the Little House books and there is all sorts of stuff to appeal to and interest an adult.

You just don't get that same multi-level interest with "Dora" and "Goosebumps" and whatever else they have nowadays.

Packrat said...

One of my favorite series, but I don't remember this exact book. I was surprised that in the book Donna "talked back" to her mother, though. So many niceties we have forgotten! My family and town was old fashioned. Things didn't start changing until late 1969. Enjoyed this and 50's gal's post.

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