“She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.”

I heard the rain through the open window when I woke up this morning. The rain is steady but it’s a light rain, the sort where the drops from the roof make more noise than the rain. I love days like today when the room is dark and all is quiet except for the raindrops.

A lot of the pine pollen has been washed from my deck, but under the deck chairs the yellow-green spots are protected and only pitted by the rain. They look like paintings, like Pollacks dripped from brushes. The umbrellas are back to being red. The deck will soon be in its summer finery.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t need or want much. I had my sled for the winter and my bike for the rest of the year. I wore sneakers all summer, the same pair until I either out-grew them or they finally wore out. I wore shorts and blouses, the summer uniform for girls. Fashionable hadn’t yet become part of my vocabulary. Whatever I found in my bureau drawer was what I wore for the day. I don’t even think I worried about matching colors.

When I became a teenager, clothes were paramount. I had to have what everyone else was wearing. Individuality was a concept none of us espoused. I remember one Christmas getting black stretch stirrup pants and a fluffy, almost Angora like pink sweater. That outfit was so much the rage you’d think it was a uniform for a strange band. I loved that sweater and wore it until it was unwearable, worn and no longer fluffed. We wore our cardigans backwards, the buttons down our backs. They were best worn with tightish skirts which zippered in the back. I never had enough clothes back then-at least I thought so.

In college, for my first two years, we were required to wear dresses or skirts. None of us liked it but we didn’t have a choice. The coldest winter in years occurred during my junior year and the clothing rule changed. We could now wear slacks to help keep us warm. The horse had been let out of the barn, and from then on we could always wear what we wanted though shorts were not part of the deal.

In Ghana, in those days, women had to wear dresses, never pants. I wore a dress every day to teach. I travelled for hours on busses in a dress which actually made pit stops easier as most places were holes in the ground in sheds. Pants would have been complicated. I had a pair of jeans I wore for long rides on my motorcycle, and I had a couple of pairs of shorts I wore around the house, never outside. The good part of all of that was my dresses were made in Ghana of Ghanaian cloth and were bright, colorful and beautiful.

Teaching here started in dresses and went to pants at some point in the late 70’s or early 80’s. My casual clothes were jeans and flannel shirts in winter and shorts and polo shirts in summer.

Now, for the most part, I wear pants and all sorts of shirts. When it’s cold, I wear a hoodie. I have two summer dresses and a spring-fall dress. Seldom do I go places where dressing up is demanded, maybe a wedding or two. My life has slid back into the comfortable. Fashionable is no longer part of my vocabulary.

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18 Comments on ““She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.””

  1. Mtatazela Says:

    It’s supposed to be winter here in sunny South Africa. Our day temperatures still peak at 25Degrees C.
    To many women don’t appreciate our climate and wear pants!
    Nice Post.

    • olof1 Says:

      25C is what we have during summer here in Sweden and we think it is hot 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Christa,

        That’s hot for here during June and July. It usually gets a bit hotter in August buy only for a while.

    • katry Says:

      Mtatazela,
      Thanks!

      In the winter, all women here wear pants as it gets really cold, so cold your legs get red.

      Your 25Degrees C is pretty darn warm for winter!

  2. Hedley Says:

    My wardrobe is relatively complicated. My choice for today is “Man at Tottenham Hotspur” or “Man at THE Detroit Lions” ….and with the Euros only a couple of weeks away the England jerseys will be pulled out just in case they need me to play.

    Yours in fashion and Ndamukong Suh

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      How can you decide? So many choices!

      Ndamukong Suh’s name is amazing. How do you pronounce his first name?

      • Hedley Says:

        We don’t, we mostly yell his last name…a lot. The Prince has a very cool Suh 90 replica jersey.

  3. olof1 Says:

    I had a short period when I was interested in clothes but it dies fairly quick 🙂 Since I’ve worked mostly in factories I’ve used the clothes the company gives us but I wore a shirt and mostly almost clean jeans when I had my garden center. Then I needed to look sort of proper 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I usually wore hand me downs when growing up, most of us did in my neighborhood so it was just natural. We got what we needed and I don’t think any one of us gave it a thought 🙂

    Warm and sunny again today and a strong wind to cool us down. They say this will continue until Saturday when cooler winds comes from north, but we will still have sunshine 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I have really never had a long time interest in clothes. I had no choice when I worked, but I couldn’t wait to get home to dress in my comfortable clothes.

      I was the oldest so I had no hand-me downs. I think my sisters did for each other.

      It rained all day today until late afternoon. I went to the movies and I think everyone else did too-the whole place was filled.

  4. Bolga Says:

    Kat:
    In Ghana you did wear shorts outside–a pair of blue stretchy type fabric. We have some videos taken in Bolga, and in one you are seen playing with Kelly’s pet monkey, which he brought to the school to show off.

    I always thought it was incongruous that we were required to wear “proper” clothes when teaching in Bolga, yet 10 minutes after the close of classes, we had changed into something more comfortable and saw the same students in the compound that we had just been teaching in the classroom. I occasionally wore a nice fugu in the classroom, but mostly pants and button-down shirt, with those great sandals made of goatskin.

    When we were kids, we couldn’t wait to get home from church on Sunday to change into our play clothes. Nowadays the most I get dressed up is to wear a Hawaiian shirt and pants, never a tie and jacket. When I worked for Harvey International, if I was not traveling, we had to wear ties in the office, as if a colored piece of cloth around the neck makes one more proper and productive.

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      I have that same picture except the shorts were green. It was right off my porch in the front of the house. I think I meant to say I never wore them outside of the school or even far from my house. I figured I was inside when Kelly brought the monkey. I know I’d never have worn them in town or outside the school. Proper women didn’t wear pants, only yama yama girls.

      I never changed too often, mostly left the dress on even after classes. I didn’t have a whole lot of other stuff to wear. I remember you and your fugu and pants. You looked professional. I always envied men the fugu as being cooler with its vents on the sides. The Ghanaian teachers were always well-dressed to teach so we had to be as well.

  5. Zoey & Me Says:

    Other than Catholic School I really don’t remember restrictions in High School or College. Girls wore what they wanted, even shorts in the spring. I kinda think the craze for jeans came along about then as everyone had to have a pair of Lee jeans. Me too. My first into to shirts and ties was my first job. Everyday felt like putting on a uniform. And then the Army . . . well, what can I say?

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      I wore uniforms through elementary school and most of high school. It made everything a whole lot easier.

      I wore jeans when I was a little girl. They had zippers on the side right by the pocket. Some even had flannel lining.

      For most of my professional career I wore dresses or skirts. Now I almost never do.

  6. Bob Says:

    When I was in elementary school here in Texas the uniform for boys was jeans, tennis shoes and tee shirts. When I moved to NY in junior high we had to wear slacks, collard shirts, ties and dress shoes. The first day I entered the eighth grade after the Christmas break I didn’t have a tie. The vice principal had lots of long ugly ties for the boys to wear when they forgot to wear a normal one from home. I was wearing a golf shirt and with the addition of a long ugly tie I started my junior high career in the NY public school system looking like a damn fool. This affected my ability join other prepubescent boys in gangs and to pick up woman for several years.

    In high school they couldn’t get the boys to wear ties but jeans were still verboten. This was the era when IBM required all of their executives and salesman to wear navy blue suites, only white shirts and plain ties. The loafers and casual dress were considered only fit for lazy people. I now work in a company where the instructors have to wear uniforms. It takes a lot of guess work out of dressing in the morning.

    It’s a shame that we spend so much time judging others by the clothes they wear instead of their abilities and their character. The times they are a changing but not fast enough.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I went to a Catholic school so the boys wore white shirts with blue ties. I don’t remember about the pants. When I moved to the cape, guys had to wear shirts with collars. I remember my brother got sent home for wearing a sweater with nio collared shirt underneath. Such a rebel!

      Jeans were verboten for guys as well. Chinos was what most of them wore.

      You’re right about clothes being far less important now in day to day living. There are times, though, when I think getting a little bit dressy wouldn’t hurt.

  7. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I had a brief interest in clothes back in my 30’s and I owned several very nice dress suits with skirts and some pretty dresses. I still have one or two pieces stored away. There was one dress I called my sofa dress because it was a chintz patterned soft cotton material. It was a favorite because it was as comfortable as a favorite t-shirt. I may also still have the dress I wore to my youngest brother’s first wedding way back in the 70’s. I saved it because I looked so damned good in it at the time. 🙂
    Most of the time, if I was not in school, church or work, I wore jeans and a sweatshirt and sandals. It was my uniform. Now I wear jeans and t-shirts and flip-flops around the house, sneakers when I go outside. That’s how I like it.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I was forced to have an interest when I was an administrator but as soon as I retired all interest faded.

      Like you, my life is purely casual. Right now I’m wearing pants, a t-shirt and flip flops. I might even be over-dressed as they are fairly new pants (bought last year for Ghana trip).


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