by Chrysa Smith

The poodles had a date with a groomer, so I killed some time at the local mall.

Since the snows are coming within 24 hours, I thought I’d save some gas, do some indoor walking and check out the spring fashion scene until it was time to pick them up.
I am most happy to report that the news is good; well, at least for me. I saw fun pinks and peaches and blues. I saw more traditional navy and white/black and tan. And best of all, I saw a return to the peasant top. I’ve always loved the peasant top. I wore them religiously back in the 70’s when I was many years and pounds less, with long, straight hair and jeans. And now, with a few more pounds around the midriff, my hair now shoulder-length and wavy, I still think they work. Finally, something to look forward to that doesn’t have to be squeezed into; something that brings back great memories—memories of roller skating at the World’s Fair Grounds in NY, playing the guitar, bowling with the gang on Friday afternoons, heading to the corner candy store for some bubble gum and listening to 45’s on the turntable.

So, what’s changed? Well, my hair, my weight, my age, my home, my marital status, my views and of course, the prices. Tops that might have cost $15-$20 full price in the mid to late 70’s are now $50+ at discounters. Took the visionary walk through Bloomingdale’s thinking that it might be possible to pick up something drastically marked down—-it was. It just wasn’t author visit, poodle walking or grocery shopping clothing, which make up the vast majority of my wardrobe. But I did see a cute madras style pink and pastel, large plaid top that wasn’t necessarily a peasant shirt, but high wasted and loose-bottomed, with button up placket and collar. It so reminded me of a dress I loved wearing to work years ago. I think I paid $40 for that dress. This top, from Burberry, was priced at $350. Gulp.

Just a few weeks back, when I met my longtime friend Carol in New York for some Christmas window shopping, we began at Saks Fifth Avenue on Fifth Avenue. We both reminisced about our frequent shopping trips there, knowing on what floors and in which departments we could find the bargains. Now, 30 years later, the only things we might be able to purchase are those we can find at any local department store—from the cosmetics department. Have we not been successful at keeping up with inflation? Or has our great American dream changed?

I guess reality sets in at some point—to some degree, as I return to my childhood roots—–away from the corporate ladder climbing, buttoned up demeanor demanded in corporate life and back to the fun of peasant tops, fun nail polish colors, longer tossled hair and some of the same fashionable tunes to go with them—-now on my Ipod instead of my turntable. A bit bohemian?

I’m feeling it… about you?