I went to junior high school (a slightly different lineup of grades–7th, 8th and 9th–than what’s now called middle school) in the dark ages, my mother’s second favorite phrase* for temps perdu. It was a significantly unenlightened time, girls were required to take home economics, while boys went to shop. And although the dress code had been pried open wide enough to permit girls to wear pants (men’s 505 Levis were our favorites), Abby was hauled into the principal’s office when he couldn’t wrap his mind around how groovy (the adjective we used in the dark ages when we meant awesome) her gorgeous, bought in the West Village, lace-up sandals were.
In our future homemakers of America class we were supposed to learn to cook, bake and sew. Extra food during the school day was much appreciated by endlessly hungry adolescents but few had the talent or concentration for stitching by hand or machine.
Getting a zipper to lie straight and flat, covered over by the cloth it bisected was impossible and–unlike complicated ideas in history or science classes–not interesting. My grandmother, whose talent and skills made her the dark ages equivalent of H&M (she worked for a garment district firm, copying expensive dresses for the stylish woman on a budget) gave me just a little assist when I took the misshapen garment home ostensibly to work on it.
I laughed out loud, outside, the first time I saw a stylish woman wearing an otherwise well-made dress with an exposed zipper–I could have sewn that–and seemingly it’s an ongoing trend, adopted widely. I’ve even seen pictures of Michelle Obama with her zipper showing.
*contact me for Doris’ first choice