I was talking with two ladies at church on Sunday and we were laughing about how clothing was so different when we were children. It was a rainy Sunday so first we talked about boots and how they were a necessity while now they are a fashion statement. Then we talked about always wearing dresses because that is what even public schools required in their unwritten dress code. Finally we talked about the most awful garment of all times-the required gym uniform!
I was lucky (?) enough to only have two years of gym class-ninth grade and tenth grade. Before I tell you about the uniforms, I need to remind you that society expected young ladies in the 1960’s to be more modest. The gym uniform was a one piece kind of romper garment. It snapped up the front from the crotch area to the neck. And you snapped every snap—not a bit of body skin could show. There were puckers between every snap. It had short sleeves that almost reached your elbow. It had a collar. It had a waist band in the front and elastic in the back. The bottom was almost Bermuda short length. The legs were weird. One leg might be tight and the other leg might be baggy. It was the roughest cotton material that had ever touched my body! It immediately chaffed your skin upon contact. No amount of washing ever softened the material. We couldn’t add Downey because it wasn’t invented yet. But seriously, I am not sure anything could soften the material. It was the ugliest shade of royal blue that was ever made. When washed, it had to be ironed. Gym uniforms were ironed. Period. No matter the amount of steam you used, the material still looked wrinkled. Some even starched their uniforms but that didn’t help either with the wrinkles. And once you put the uniform on, the gym teacher checked you over to make sure you were dressed properly. And heaven forbid, you could not sweat in it!
Today I don’t wear an ugly romper when I exercise. I wear a swimsuit, or running tights and a T-shirt. Times have changed for the better!