I wore knickers.
It was sometime in elementary school, somewhere between 1st and 5th grade. My mother had stumbled across a pair of “short pants,” or “knickers.” They were, if I remember correctly, made of corduroy. Shaped like pants at the waist, they nipped in just below the knee and had to be worn with knee-high socks to avoid looking even more absurd than they were. They are often referred to as “golf pants” or “golf knickers, and disappeared from daily fashion by the 1930s.
I have no clue if knickers were ever actually considered fashionable on females. (Note: in Europe the term knickers refers to panties. Don’t do a Google search for knickers.) My folks were big on cross-country skiing, and knickers played a role in that activity, so perhaps that’s where the fascination came from.
Anyway, I had knickers of the short pants style, and I wore them to school with argyle knee socks and loafers. While my friends wore their culottes and gauchos (which I found pictures of, BTW), I had knickers. I remember being traumatized by the unusual garb, but I don’t actually remember anyone ever saying anything to me about my short pants. My fear of being humiliated by my wardrobe was all in my head.
Did you wear knickers? Or was there some other mother-inspired attire you feared would bring ridicule to your life? My own kids now cringe at photos of themselves in plaid overalls, denim overalls, pink overalls, and plaid shorts. Hey, I
had have a thing for plaid! And overalls.
I’m an official, card-carrying, grown-up now. And I’m free to choose what I wear everyday. I have overalls everyone in my family hates, sack-like dresses that make my adult daughter cringe… and maybe, just maybe, I’ll find myself a pair of knickers… just because I can.
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