Free write for ten minutes about purple – when was the first time you noticed purple, how do you feel about purple, what images come up for you around the color purple (besides the movie, unless of course it was something that affected your life).
Ah, sweet youth. No matter whether you grew up sporting a fedora, penny loafers, poodle skirts, bell-bottoms, leg-warmers, skinny jeans, Madonna-inspired net shirts and rosaries, goth garb, a spikey mohawk, or even a wave that would put the Bieber to shame, you made a fashion statement, unique to you. Describe your favorite fashions from days of yore or current trends you think are stylin’.——–
I think I have always been interested in clothes and shopping. I remember being a small girl helping my Mom decide what to wear when she was going out for dinner or to something with my Dad’s work. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was little so my Mom often sewed her clothes and even some of ours.
Mom has been sewing since she learned how to sew when she was a young teenager. My Baba and Grandpa Wilson didn’t have much money and Mom could stretch her dollar by buying fabric and thread and not buying something ready made. Not to mention, when my Mom sewed she could sew so her outfit fit her perfectly. She is short so she could make her pants whatever length she wanted and her dresses could be any fabric she chose.
In elementary school, Mom made my first two winter jackets. The one I remember most was a purple jacket with purple snow pants. I got to choose the color. I never chose pink because when you’re a blond girl whose young everyone wants to dress you in pink clothes. I don’t think I ever wore pink again until high school.
I went to Brownie’s for a bit on Tuesday nights at this church. I loved how all the girls wore these dresses with big skirts that were frilly. So, my Mom made me this black dress with pink and purple flowers and we bought a frilly white skirt to put underneath. I wore that dress along time.
As I became older, my Mom worked a bit as a supervisor at our school lunch program so we had a bit more money and could afford clothes from stores more. Also, my Mom had less time to sew. There was this store I liked when I was around eight to ten-years-old called Please Mum and I fit their clothes well. I was stocky as a little girl. We didn’t go to the mall often but when we did my Mom would often by me something. She bought me this white blouse once and it had a frilly clown collar. I told her I would wear it but you know what I hated that collar it was too girly for me then.
Later, there was a store Northern Reflections for Kids and my Mom bought us clothes there. I was fashionable for the nineties I suppose. I wore jeans in various colours that were ‘Mom Jean’ like in a relaxed fit and went skinny at the ankle. I wore ugly sweater vests and mock knocked shirts.
In grade six I began to thin out and all I remember wearing were oversized T-shirts and flares. The flares weren’t too big in grade six but I remember they got bigger like to “elephant” pants in grade eight. My Mom made me a pair of green cord elephant pants. I also loved these sweat pants I had with a rainbow ribbon down the side of each pant leg and the flare was pretty big coming down from the knee.
In high school for the majority of it, I wore a uniform. I wore a grey kilt, a white blouse, a navy sweater/cardigan/vest and tie. I wore knee socks and dress black shoes. There were casual t-shirts and long sleeved shirts and casual pants but I mostly wore a kilt with little gym shorts underneath with a pair of name brand converse type shoe. I cared about fashion and tried to dress my most stylish on the few non-uniform days we had. I bought my clothes on sale at The Gap or Jacob. I loved Jacob clothes for along time but they shut down in Canada last year. I wore flares in jeans and khaki’s and I liked pink a lot. I wore pink three quarter length shirts and I had the cutest black jean jacket that I received for Christmas with Ruffles at the top of the shoulders. Plus, we all tried to find substitutes for our uniform clothing that a busy teacher wouldn’t catch. Needless to say, the vice-principal started calling almost everyone to the obvious one day a month and we would all get written up for having uniform infractions. The rest of my high school clothes were gym sweatpants and hoodies, team shorts, and team t-shirts. I played both volleyball and basketball so those things were a must along with good runners. My parents paid for items such as a winter coat or new shoes but everything else including skincare and makeup I purchased with family allowance money. Both my parents had good jobs, in fact my Dad was the principal at my high school, but they paid for my tuition partially because in junior and senior high school I went to private schools.
In university, I worked on campus at the bookstore. I paid for half my tuition, got scholarships, and received my books at cost because I worked at the bookstore. I liked yoga pants and sporty tops especially by Fila and Adidas. My jeans were flared and from the Gap. With my birthday and Christmas money I went shopping before each school year. And I bought other clothes with money earned during the year.
Lululemon became a huge thing in university. Despite being an expensive yoga store, all girls bought hoodies, shirts, zippy’s, and yoga pants/crops there. I still have my first Lululemon top and it still looks good. On the other end of the sporty spectrum was the bar shirt spectrum. We shopped for sexy black shirts and tiny skirts to wear out to the bar. Not to mention a comfortable enough pair of high heels. Somedays in university I dressed up with heeled boots, jeans, and a tight long sleeved top but because I was hauling around boxes of books and going to the gym everyday, sporty clothes were good. We also had one or two formals every year in university so I had a few pretty dresses for formal occasions from Le Chateau. My favorite was this slinky pink dress I got for $13.00 and it had no back. But it fit tight and I paired it with some silver sandals and it looked great.
After, I left university I looked through my wardrobe and realized I had only two blouses and one pair of dress pants. I wasn’t making much money yet, I was just temping but a place called Ricki’s had a sales rack with pairs of pants all my size, a suit that fit me, and I found a couple blouses at Jacob cheap. That did me for my first job before I became sick and went on disability. I hated how cheap Ricki’s material felt. My Mom always made emphasis on good material but $80.00 for four pairs of pants, a jacket, and a couple blouses was truly a good deal.
When I was sick I lost a lot of weight so at first nothing fit me. Then I gained it all the weight back and then some. Once I reached about 175 lbs I was able to shop. Even though I was on disability, I had more spendable income because it was too hard to go for more then coffee with friends so I wasn’t spending money at the bar or out with co-workers at lunch. I wasn’t even paying rent at that time.
I bought Lululemon and I had just started to begin getting into Banana Republic for clothes for work that were more expensive but of quality. I started shopping online because it was easier and found that BR clothes went 40 % off often. But I liked how their clothing fit, the material was nice, and if I bought clothes on sale, it was a good place to shop. Skinny pants have come in so I buy jeans and black pants from them. They are great for sweaters or cardigans with wool and cashmere blends. Their shirts fit well. I liked the blendability of the pieces and especially the dresses and skirts.
I cannot work now,so I dress up when I go out for an appointment or to see a friend. I like Simons too for a little cheaper clothing that is more of a fad. Jacob is no longer, as I said. And I love Anthropologie and its boho look but it is too expensive with the rate of the Canadian dollar.
When I see fashion I think they want us to wear big bulky shapeless sweaters over skinny pants. On most people even if you’re skinny a belt that gives you a waist or a tighter shirt underneath a cardigan looks nicer. I hate the wide wide pants that are trying to come in. I don’t think they will because they are too big and don’t look good on anyone. But I could see flares coming back in as they seem to have a little bit.
I like that there is colour out this winter, not only black or grey. I think skinny pants look good on most people it depends how you wear them. Sometimes a shirt a little more tunic length looks better but I have seen nice looks with moto leather jackets and blouses too that are shorter. Peplum has been in awhile and I think it is a flattering shirt or dress style. I love pearls and pearl like jewelry and I like to mix my mettle colours of jewelry. I like high heels and tall boots. But I think the shorter boots might be in for awhile now. Booties are good in Fall in Canada but I like the taller boots in Winter for warmth. The problem is it’s hard to get boots for smaller or thicker calf sizes. I like flowy tops that give you a waist and float out and cover stomach problems. But I like tighter shirts honestly most of the time, the show shape. I still like Lululemon for anytime and for Yoga and workout wear. I like to look put together in general and look for classic silhouettes. But I do find a modern thing here or there I like. What about you?
Prompt: Critique something.
I know that Black Friday is coming. Last year I avoided it, most of my Christmas shopping was done by that point. But from online shopping emails, I noticed how great the deals were from both Canadian and American stores. I remember going to Banana Republic Canada’s website and seeing all clothes were 50% off. That hardly ever happens at Banana Republic! The best price you can get is 40 % off and that’s not often. In fact, it was odd to me that Canadian websites and stores were giving deals that were so good on Black Friday and they were better then the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day deals. I like to shop, that’s not a lie. But I also have this part of conscience that is telling me that whether we are shopping crazily on Black Friday Week or Boxing Week, we are missing the point of the holidays these shopping marathons are based around.
The largest difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving is when we hold our festivities. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and Americans the third weekend in November. But I know for both nations, it is a time for us to be thankful for all God has provided us with in our lives. For the plenty we have in our wants and needs. We remember so many do not have ‘plenty’ in other places in the world. We give thanks to be alive and for the relative peace we find living in our countries, especially when places so close to our hearts such as Paris, are attacked by terrorists. We eat large meals and see our family, whom we may not see all year. But to be specific, Wikipedia tells me, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in the US after the pilgrims first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days and in attendance were fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Americans. In Canada, we simply celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year during our Thanksgiving celebration. But I wonder how such a time of thankfulness has become a shopping race, to find the best deals. To think of all we ‘want,’ instead of all we have.
Every Black Friday or Cyber Monday we see Americans literally fighting over electronics and grabbing items from each other as if they were toddlers. People are pushy, loud, and not nice to each other. They think that if they act how they act, they’ll get all the items they want. It is all about “me” and “I” or “my family.” I have to say it is worse on Black Friday in the US, worse then it ever gets in Canada even though Black Friday is gaining force here. But I’m not sure deals will be as great this year with the fall of the Canadian dollar from near parity.
What ever happened to being a decent person, sharing, and being thankful for what you have? You may get a great deal but at what immoral price? What are you teaching the younger generations when you gorge on food, say that everyone should be thankful, then push and shove in Victoria Secret over a bra, of which you have ten or more? Or, was it worth it to battle through bodies and buy a TV at a hundred dollars saving?
I know some of you Black Friday shoppers are kind. And that every person just wants nice things for their families or theirselves at a good price. Maybe you can only afford certain items on sale, so these shopping days are important. Things are pretty tame in Canada but there is always the exception. And it’s just my point of view, but I wonder how being thankful and all this merchandising, advertising, and worked up shoppers fit together.
In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day after Christmas. It’s origins lie in people boxing up their leftover food from Christmas meals for the poor. But instead, we shop with our gift cards and Christmas money for more of what we have, for stuff, instead of celebrating family and Jesus’ birth; instead of celebrating people being together. I just find it a bit difficult, putting Christmas and shopping hauls together. I still shop and I still celebrate with my family. But I try to remember that when I’m out buying merchandise there is a way to treat other shoppers with respect, not like they’re the competition. I remember that buying stuff is fun but only temporary. “You can’t take it with you when you go,” as the saying goes.Whether you can buy a lot of things or hardly afford any, in death we leave all our junk behind. We need to remember that there are people who can’t afford are grand celebrations at Thanksgivings and Christmas. We need to give money and our time to those in need. To give presents to kids whose parents can’t afford, or food to the family who can only go to the food bank.
I think if we were more thankful we could see how it is for some people to have so little, while we have a lot. For some people a tiny gift or a helping hand is worth so much. Little things like God, family, good friends, and health should matter the most. Without them all the ‘things’ in the world are worthless. So, be happy if that is what you have and if your basic needs are met. Happy Thanksgiving Americans and start of the holiday season for many of us. May you be thankful and gentle when you shop and generous with your time and donations to those less fortunate. May you cherish the life you have because you’re a priceless person to many people you know and loved very much.
Prompt: How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.
It has always been important to me to have clothes that make me look good ever since I was a little girl. When we were poorer and did not have so much money I hated that I had to wear second hand clothing from some other little girl but I knew we were poor so I didn’t complain much about it. I have had to buy my own clothes since about grade eight and I did not have much money to buy clothes until I was in university. Before that, Christmas or my Birthday was a grand affair because I got to go shopping and buy whatever I liked at the stores I liked. But I still always bought only clothes on sale to stretch my funds.
Luckily in highschool, we wore uniforms but there was always one day a month where we got to wear street clothes so it was a big deal to have a new outfit every month. I had a bit of money so most often I was able to scrape enough money together to buy a new shirt at least. In university, I wore what I wanted and mostly had the money to shop a bit and buy what I liked every so often. Luckily, my tastes ran to Gap, Jacob, and Hollister and those stores had sales very often. So usually, I could always find a shirt or two and occasionally I would buy an item from Lululemon since wearing yoga clothes to school from Lululemon was a big deal.
My style now runs more to what I like to wear. Every couple months I can get an outfit I like and I can buy it from where I would like to which is usually Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Lululemon, or Victoria Secret. I enjoy shopping but I also learned from over shopping about 3 years back, that too much shopping can get you into debt (along with other things). I have a budget of what I can spend on clothes or even makeup and I stick to those budgets.
I think you can tell that appearance is quiet important to me but you have to wear what suits you and looks good on you. I am almost 30-years-old and I’m a couple sizes bigger then what I was in university and I can’t wear the tight bar tops and short skirts I use to on a night out. I can’t wear tummy revealing tops tops to school and I would rather people see me as professional or at least well put together. I would always care about this because my mother taught me to but also because I am sick and can’t work I look a lot more approachable, intelligent, and with it if I dress nice. This does not mean I will always be able to shop at Anthropologie but wherever I can shop I will shop to look nice.
I feel better if I am dressed nice as if I have my armour on to face the world. I feel more confident, and more like myself. I feel ready to face the day and take on the tasks I need to get done. Even if I am just going to a doctors appointment I dress up and don’t wear yoga pants. This makes me feel I am on the same level with my physician and that he or she knows I mean business and can comprehend well what they are saying because I am educated and have insight into what they are saying to me. Do clothes make the woman? No, the woman makes the clothes and they help her present herself in life.