at Pomegranates and Paper suggests the topic each week. Take a look at the other lists.My top ten Teenage Wardrobe items
When I was a teenager, what thrilled me was to buy clothes with labels – not fancy labels. Just any labels. I grew up with a grandmother and a crowd of aunts who were all dressmakers, a mother and another aunt who were whizzes with knitting needles, and an uncle with a knitting-machine, so until I reached my teens, very few items of clothing came from shops. They were made for me with love and attention to detail, but I always envied people with clothes that came off a rail somewhere. So the items I remember especially loving first were :1
A pair of lemon crimplene bellbottom hipster trousers, worn with2
A lemon/orange/cream floral nylon blouse (I know, I know…!!!)
Once I’d gotten over my infatuation with synthetic fibres,3
A white broderie-anglaise short-sleeved, short smocked top that I bought in a boutique, having haunted the place every day after school until my mother relented and gave me the money for it. I called it my Altar Boy top, and wore it even when I’d ripped a hole in one sleeve.4
A pair of brushed denim jeans with zipped pockets on the side of the legs, below the knee. Practicality? Dunno. They just felt so cool. Then – disaster – dropped a bottle of bleach, splashing one leg of my jeans. Disaster? No –oo. Wore them until they fell apart, with the huge bleached splash all down one leg. Wore them proudly, and called them my “cement trousers”. Paired with number 3, I still think I’ve never felt better in any outfit.5
(blush, blush) in the worst stage of my hippie phase, a “kaftan” I made from a bedsheet and embroidered with flowers, smiley faces, clouds with sun peeking through, rainbows… I wore this in public. It still looked like it was made from a bedsheet.
One summer, something strange happened:6
I borrowed a fisherman’s knit, moss-green jumper of my father’s and never gave it back. I wore it and wore it and wore it, with7
A pair of beautiful, brown, leather men’s sandals. Also my fathers. I know! I know! (His feet are small, but the sandals were still too big for me. I didn’t mind). He had had them for years. I took just one summer to destroy them.
The summer my breasts grew:8
A grey wool duffle coat, over an assortment of black items of clothing, to wit: One pair of black bellbottom trousers, with buttons on the side from knee to hem, a black A-line skirt, a black POLO NECK (in summer), a black cheesecloth blouse. Black tights.
And the summer I decided it was ok to have breasts:9
An embroidered cheesecloth tunic bought on a school trip to Paris. Chic!10
And this one is interesting. When I was thirteen, one of the hated, hated items in my wardrobe was a tweed suit – trousers and jacket, green with an orange stripe (see? Horrible!) Made by one of my hardworking aunts for Christmas. I wept when I was forced to wear it, considered it an abominable cruelty on my mother’s part to insist that I wear it to Christmas Mass, and abandoned it at the back of the wardrobe, hoping my mother would forget about it. She did. Four years later, I pulled it out, and suddenly it had acquired a certain je-ne-sais-quoi – retro chic? – I wore it and wore it and wore it.
And there are no photographs of any of those items. Honest! Really, there aren’t!