This morning I was standing waiting for the elevator and noticed my reflection in the lobby doors. I was wearing a new dress, a nice snuggly cotton knit "corduroy" in a dark, rich garnet, just the right warmth and weight for November. The hem of the dress, swung just at my ankles revealing just an inch or two of black cotton stocking. For a moment I marveled at the vagaries of fashion that have allowed me to wear, in middle age, the long dresses that I longed for in childhood.
In the 1950's, I pined for the fashions of an earlier century. I fancied myself in the graceful sweep of long skirts and rustle of petticoats--the sprigged cotton florals, delicate cotton lawns and bright calicoes of the previous century. When I was ten, I learned to sew and the first thing I made was a dress in blue flowered cotton with fitted bodice, long puff sleeves, and full gathered skirt that reached the floor. It was my "Pioneer girl" Halloween costume inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. The next year, I modified the same dress' sleeves with lace and gathered the full skirt into poofy panniers over a long pink underskirt, and became "Colonial girl" -- inspired by a series of books about "little maids" of various revolutionary battles. The year after that, I made another dress in rich, dark red plaid and sewed a hula hoop into a full petticoat to be "Civil War girl." You get the picture -- inspired by Louisa May Alcott. You get the picture.
When the maxi-skirt hit the fashion runways in the early 70's I grabbed on tight to that fashion trend, and never looked back.