Clothes of our Lives

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, people have worn clothes of one sort or another. That is, unless they are bathing or skinny dipping. Fashions tend to go in cycles with new incarnations of old styles. Fashionista I have never been. Nevertheless, I have a history.


Lack of money has always been a factor in my wardrobe. My dad was a poor preacher man, and there were four of us kids. My little granny bought me red oxfords until second grade when some of the girls fun of them. Granny also saw to my “Sunday go to meetin’” attire – she had always wanted a little girl.

I “lucked out” during my growth spurt at puberty. A young woman who renovated her wardrobe twice a year was my Lady Bountiful. Then miniskirts made their debut and I learned to roll up the waistband of my skirts on the way to school. Later my mom, who was recovering from a C-Section, had time on her hands and looked at me carefully. She deputed my dad to take me to Sears. I don’t think the sales lady ever recovered after he asked her to fit me with some “double-barreled sling shots.”

 The Seamstress

I learned to sew in seventh grade. Fabric and patterns were affordable alternatives to the hand-me-downs. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was making most of my clothes and some for my sister and Mom. Dresses, skirts, pants suits, nightgowns, and dog coats exited the old Singer on a regular basis.

When I got my first teaching job, I created a “teacher wardrobe” suitable for the Christian school where I taught. Mom had a hesitant and timid relationship with machines of any kind so she was happy that I had taken responsibility for her sewing machine.

Blending In

When I packed to move to Portugal with my new husband, there was no question that the new machine I bought in college was going. My wardrobe had to change. Hubby wanted me to have a smooth transition to the culture and the Portuguese dressed in dark colors all year ‘round. I reluctantly left the bright teacher wardrobe behind. Harry was right about the colors, but he was not a prophet. In December of that year, color television came to Portugal. The vivid colors on the Brazilian soaps changed the clothing industry in Lusitania forever.

 Homeschool Mom

Eleven years later we packed up our lives and our children to move to picture perfect Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We had begun homeschooling our children in Portugal, and found Lancaster fertile ground for this endeavor.

Upon our arrival, a patriarchal home-churching homeschool family took us under their wings. The family introduced us to the mystery of their faith: women dress modestly (i.e. skirts and jumpers), are keepers at home obey their husbands joyfully no matter what and do not interfere with their reproductive capabilities. They were convincing. I lengthened our skirts, grew out my hair, wore a head kerchief and made swimming suits for my daughters in which they might have drowned.

We survived, and moved  to Florida, and currently hide out in the Ocala National Forest.

So what stories do you have about clothes? A favorite outfit? Something someone made for you? Comment on the post and share it with others.


About Susan P

Reader, writer, mother, grandmother, wife, traveler...
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3 Responses to Clothes of our Lives

  1. Elizabeth Signer says:

    Heh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome! It’s dangerous to let people know you can do this, SP. For REAL.

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