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Thursday, December 1, 2022
FairfaxOpinion‘Old School’ column: Economy boost

‘Old School’ column: Economy boost

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by CAROL McEWEN, for the Sun Gazette

I have an idea to bolster our faltering economy, which I intend to send to our president any day now.

The solution? Bring back the custom of buying little girls new Easter outfits, like they did in 1950s America.

“Outfit” includes the whole shebang: a dress, shoes, purse, hat, gloves and probably socks, too. Just think of the enlivened economy if every parent were out there shopping as if their daughter were competing for Miss Easter 2021!


I enjoyed this common practice from my childhood, along with my mother and the retailer, but not my poor dad, the bill-payer.

Our first purchase had to be a dress, since the other items needed to coordinate with it. Preferably in a pastel color, it required lace, ruffles and/or decorative buttons. Extra points for puffy sleeves, filmy fabric or a bow in the back.

Next we bought shoes, white with a little strap across the instep – what we call Mary Janes today. I remember particular favorites, with flower cut-outs on the top, so my color-coordinated socks showed through. Another year, the pair had small bows on top – the epitome of elegance.

Speaking of socks, AKA anklets, we chose either white or color-coded to match the dress. A pale-blue dress could be paired with pale-blue anklets, but conservative girls like me usually opted for white ones, preferably with lace trim on the cuffs. You can’t go wrong with white, after all.

With shoes and socks figured out, a purse purchase came next. Luckily it only needed to be big enough for the dainty hanky my mom loaned me and a quarter for the Sunday School collection plate. Added flowers were a plus, but not required.

Now the most difficult purchase: a matching hat. It was always a challenge to find one that didn’t make me look like Carmen Miranda or Madame Zenda, the fortune teller.

After trying on multiple choices and tangling my hair in countless sprigs of blue forget-me-nots or forsythia, we’d surrender and buy one, just to get it over.

Growing weary, we made our easiest and last stop at the glove counter for a pair in white, youth size.

Mission accomplished, we’d stagger home, secure in the knowledge that we had invigorated the American economy, Old School-style, and put together another Easter fashion triumph.

A resident of Arlington for 40+ years, Carol McEwen sells real estate when she’s not imparting deep insights or sparkling wit in this column. You can reach her at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

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