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LET'S COOK: Back to School fashions

August 30, 2019
Chuck Repnow , Pierce County Tribune

As the father of a teenage daughter-and unannounced to her-I am stepping in and making commentary on current fashion. Oh my! From the first day that she arrived home from the hospital as a baby, I tried to impress upon her my understanding of a lady's wardrobe and the essence it brings. Being artistic I felt it was well within my gifts. You ask how I got her to submit to my counsel? That was easy, I merely took to displaying part of her darling wardrobe weekly on the inside door of our front porch. Upon her arrival from the hospital, I had displayed several of her mother's baby dresses and current stylish garments on our open stairway. Each was hung with vintage hangers some decorated with flowers, others with ducks. In a sense, it was like having a child's boutique and certainly lots of fun.

This little parade went along very well for the first five years of her life, and our front door featured her Easter dresses, pink and white seersucker sundresses, tailored dresses with inverted pleats to allow her to kick up her heels with ease at the age of three. Oh, there were a few silk and rayon A-line numbers in floral prints and several of my very favorite tone-on-tone dresses with Peter pan collars and matching coats with a swing that simply melted my heart. She breezed through being a fashionable toddler with hints of yesterday's classic styles.

I did not realize the impact this fashion display had until one day, Mr. Pete Murtaugh, former Rugby elementary teacher at Ely School and avid wrestling coach, was peddling by our home on his bicycle. I happened to be in our front yard. He stopped and mentioned how he enjoyed seeing the variety of Lydia's adorable apparel displayed weekly. That made my day! A coach checking out fashion while exercising! I had always enjoyed conversation with him, but this statement made it clear that his understanding of pinning down an impromptu match floated easily from wrestling to fashion! It gave me the fire to press on with front door fashions until Lydia started school.

Article Photos

Shrimp, Asparagus and Rice trio
I promised Lydia that part of our back-to-school celebration is a meal of her choice served in our home. The following recipe is her current favorite.
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus washed, dried, trimmed and sautéed
- 1 16-oz. bag of cooked, tail-on shrimp
- 2 teaspoon red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 4 tablespoons olive oil – divided
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add asparagus and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet add additional olive oil and heat. Add shrimp and cook for five minutes over medium heat. While this is cooking, mix coconut milk with red curry paste, soy sauce, orange marmalade, and Chinese five spice seasoning. Pour this over shrimp and continue cooking over medium heat for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
Serve shrimp over steamed rice with asparagus on the side. We like to add finely chopped carrots to our rice before steaming – adding not only color, but great flavor.

Things changed then and rightfully so! She was an independent thinker from the start and I realized that she at this very young age connected taste and fashion to emotion. She lit up when seeing pinks and purples. Soft knits made her smile because they were comfortable to wear. I was grateful for the time that she let me have my fun with tone on tone, tartans, lavender ginghams and so many darling pairs of leotards. At one time she even wore head scarfs because "they look nice with my coat!" Too adorable! She was introduced to the classic designs of Christian Dior and Coco Channel which I have always admired by the way of coloring pages. Those were great afternoons which gave way to pretty colors, classic fashions, and needless to say, her savvy for current trends.

Fast forward to now: custom ripped up, torn jeans that look like they belong in the trash barrel or perhaps could be used for a day of outdoor painting are the Midas touch in back-to-school fashions. Another exciting part of this season's back to school fashion are the retro fashions of the 1970s and once again we see golds and oranges in the spotlight. Granted they are not exact copies, but creatively contemporary versions. They have caught the eye of Lydia and many other teenagers.

We can perhaps recall what we first wore to high school as a freshman? It is time when we want to show our independence and style. I loved being on that avenue back in the '70s. That is why I strolled into Underwood High School in the fall of 1974 with a pair of dark green corduroy slacks with a coordinating green and orange plaid long sleeved polo style shirt that featured a stand-up off-white collar. This fashion duo came from Von's Clothing in Underwood. Completing my fashion statement which were a pair of men's stacked heel shoes in a warm chestnut tone from Cottingham's Department Store in Garrison. This was me, and I enjoyed expressing myself with colors and patterns.

Lydia entered Central Campus wearing a cute top that featured a navy background with rust, blue and white flowers, leggings and her favorite a comfortable pair of black sneakers. My mom told me this often, "The most important things you wear are your attitude and your smile. They are your best fashion statement and they are always in style." True back then and true today.

To Lydia and all high school students, I leave you with this quote by quote by Albert Einstein as you start school. I hope that it always will stay with a sense of fashion and meaningful living. "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." Have a great school year!

 
 

 

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