What we wore in Oakland by
(11 Stories)

Prompted By What We Wore

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Back in elementary school in Oakland CA, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. We treasured the days when a field trip to a farm or park allowed us to come to school in our stretch pants – sometimes with stirrups on the feet! Disneyland made women and girls wear dresses to the park, and when taking an airline flight, one got dressed up.

By the time I hit junior high, the school district had loosened up the dress code. Jeans and pants were thankfully allowed. We worked hard to break in our Levi’s 501’s – no pre-washed in those days. No women’s styles, either. We proudly marched into the men’s department and tried on those treasured button front jeans. We welcomed the holes that eventually formed in the knees, and sometimes helped the process along. When they got too ratty, you just cut them off and had a pair of shorts or a skirt. No hems, of course.

Unlike Gillian’s story, we were allowed to wear mini, midi or maxi length skirts to school. I was always a shy child, but I wanted to fit in with the cool kids, so I convinced my mom to buy me a maxi skirt. The day I wore it to school I felt so uncomfortable because I just knew everyone was staring at me. Of course they weren’t, but my insecure side was sure they were. That skirt did not get a lot of wear. I do still have the mini dress, with maxi coat that I did wear quite a bit. Its in a box of memorable clothing that also includes my hippie style knitted vest with fringe at the bottom, and my hippie headband.

High school brought Hot Pants and Sizzlers – not the steak house:-) – into fashion. Looking back, a sizzler outfit was pretty much the same as the toddler dresses we wore with the little frilly matching underpants. Who would have thought! I sure hope that fashion statement doesn’t make a comeback.

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Tags: hot pants, hippie, fashions in the 60's, fashions in the 70's
Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    I wasn’t cool either and tried to fit in…I understand.

  2. Wendy Ng says:

    Nice! We could not wear pants in junior high school in the early 1970s. That changed when I went to high school. I can really identify with the 501 jeans. I was thrilled because they were comfortable and fit me. I remember when first getting the jeans and having to wash the when they were new that we called the denim “furry” because there was always a very light white lint on the jeans until they had been washed several times. Yep.

  3. Patricia says:

    That pattern envelope is priceless—I don’t remember the Sizzler at all. Did they really let you wear something so short to school?

  4. Live Aloha says:

    They did, although I bet they were looking for ways to forbid it:-)

  5. Suzy says:

    You were lucky to be able to wear pants in junior high and high school. You must be younger than I. I graduated in 1968, and we had to wear dresses or skirts (and not too short!) all the way through HS.

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