Fashions of the time

Local boys display the fashion trends of their time. Top row l-r, Nathan Silvola, Bill Laycock, Joe Helvey; bottom row l-r, John Tischer, Phil Toll, Nick Nikkila.

Now that I am a “senior citizen,” I find myself harboring negative thoughts about some of the clothing and accessories worn by a large segment of our young people of today. A ball cap on backwards gives me the urge to turn their head around. Body piercings make me wish for a strong magnet.

But, generally speaking, if you can get around the painted hair, ringed noses, low pants, etc., the kids turn out to be surprisingly good young people when you have an opportunity to speak with them. It makes me wonder what my parents and grandparents’ generations thought about the styles of our generation when we were in school.

White socks were a required piece of apparel back then. We would “buck” our pants so that the hems of the pant legs were short enough to let three to four inches of our socks show. For whatever reason, it was stylish to make your legs look skinny. To accomplish that, we would “peg” our pants. This entailed cutting the threads on the seam of the legs and then reducing the diameter of the legs and sewing a new seam. With my skinny little legs, I had to take in a lot of material.

Hair was another important factor in our appearance. Some guys wore flat tops. Others kept their hair long enough that they could comb the sides back so they would meet in the back of the head.

I was in between the two camps and had my hair cut flat on top and let the sides grow long so I could comb them back. If you have ever seen the movie, “American Graffitti,” I was a skinnier version of the guy that Ron Howard let use his ‘58 Chevy.

We used jars of smelly pink paste that I think was called “PalmAide” or something like that. It was stiffer than Vaseline and would hold your flat top up in front. It was awful stuff to work with and got on everything. It was even worse on a hot day and probably was the cause of most of our forehead zits. We didn’t wear ball caps back then. I guess because they would have messed up our hair or would have kept sliding off from all that PalmAide.

Shirts could be either a collared shirt or a T-shirt. We didn’t wear our collars up like they show in some movies but, we would often roll our short sleeves up a couple of rolls. Eyeglasses had to have dark horned rim frames.

Shoes were either black leather or tennis shoes. We didn’t have running shoes, basketball shoes and walking shoes back then. Tennis shoes were “everything” shoes.

All in all, I bet the senior citizens back then thought we were just dandy and the world was going to you-know-where.

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