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  • Elizabeth Little

What They Wore: Tina

In this new series, What They Wore, we’ll be asking our family members about their favourite outfits from when they were our age.

Recently, my mom was showing me a photo of herself from college. She was wearing this adorable, collared dress (which can actually be seen in this post), and as she was telling me about it, she also mentioned that one of her colleagues saw the picture and told my mom she also owned that dress in the ‘80s. It got me thinking about the popular clothes of today and how we’ll all be showing our grandkids pictures of us wearing that green House of Sunny dress. I wanted to explore more deeply the popular clothes of previous generations but at a more personal level. By talking to relatives directly, we can learn more about the biggest trends of their eras while also knowing what things were their favourites.

For our inaugural post, I talked to my aunt Tina who went university during the early ‘70s. She told me about two of her favourite outfits from that time.

“The first outfit was from 1971 when I was 20 and left for my third year abroad in France. It was a three-piece suit, a longish double breasted jacket, a-line mini skirt with a banded waist, and a pair of trousers fit it in the hips and flared at the bottom. I wore it with a dark green button down blouse that had full Bishops sleeves and deep cuffs, quite popular at the time. I loved this outfit. It was really versatile and I could combine the skirt and jacket or the jacket and trousers together or separately with other sweaters and tops. I particularly liked it because it felt very grown-up and tailored and it also was quite trendy. I had seen the outfit in Seventeen Magazine so I felt quite in the moment.

The second outfit was my going away pant suit when I got married in 1973 at age 22. This also was a three piece outfit of cognac brown knit trousers and a short Eisenhower style jacket and a brown knit vest. I wore it with a brown paisley silky blouse. I bought the outfit at the most elegant dress shop in Vallejo [California], Helen Lyall’s and was quite proud of this. She had only the most stylish and elegant clothes so I felt very special. The slacks were fitted in the hips with very wide legs and I wore them with a pair of brown oxford high-heeled shoes that I had bought in France two years before. The suit was knit, which was also very fashionable at the time. I also remember that it was very modern to wear a pant suit for a going away outfit for my wedding in 1973. Little pastel suits were still the norm.”

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