Monday, June 04, 2007

Reflections on a Noble Pursuit

by Brenda Roger

Recently, I “googled” a boy who broke my heart in college. I was hoping to find him mired in a pit of despair. Not really. Anyway, he serves on boards of multiple charitable organizations, participates in fundraisers, and is married with two daughters. He is some sort of portfolio manager. There was probably not ever a chance that he would be anything less than successful. Kind of like the male version of me –in a parallel universe.

My dear husband is very good at his job. He advances in his career, participates in important projects and earns a real living. I am really very proud of him. He amazes me sometimes with his extensive understanding of very complex social and political problems.

Both of these successful men were on my mind at the exact same time that I was feeling completely used and invisible at work, so I decided that I needed a higher purpose. You know, something I can contribute to the world. I have since begun a one-woman crusade to bring back the “hostess skirt.” Go ahead. Read it again. You don’t need better glasses. I’m serious. The comeback of the “hostess skirt” is my new reason for living. I believe in attainable goals.

I’ve been reading Vogue since I was fourteen. Fashion is a spectator sport for me. The pattern of trends is so obvious to me that I can predict a color or a trend two years before it ever shows up in a magazine. A few years ago, I saw the caftan coming from a mile away. In the same way, I think the time is at hand for the hostess skirt to return, and just in case Anna Wintour isn’t paying attention, I am going to take matters into my own hands.

The “hostess skirt” for those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing one, was a trend in the late sixties and most of the seventies. Those less devoted to the “hostess skirt” than me might call it a skirt you wouldn’t wear in public. The sixties version of it was quite frequently knee-length, occasionally quilted, and always quite loud. Manifestations of its hospitality range from large prints in silk to provincial calico appliqués. By the seventies, the hemline dropped to the floor and could be complimented by a matching top of similarly offensive patterned fabric. They were whimsical, humorous, or just plain gaudy. Very frequently, the knee-length version is a reversible wrap skirt. Twice the fun! Be still my heart!

There is something appealing, in 2007, about having a cheerful skirt to put on when you are entertaining at home. If my neighbors are any indication, acceptable attire for receiving guests is sweats or a nylon running suit and slippers. I don’t know about you, but I would rather look at a reversible skirt with calico mushrooms appliquéd on it.

I must keep my exact plan for the 2007-2008 version of the hostess skirt an absolute secret. Everyone will just have to chew their nails to the quick in anticipation. In the meantime, I possess a vintage hostess skirt covered in cats, yes cats, and if you are lucky, perhaps you will see me trudging around town in it. It would be such a shame to keep it all to myself.

Does anyone remember the hostess skirt?

12 comments:

Tory said...

I'm afraid I don't remember the "hostess skirt," probably because I I've kept up my mom's grand tradition of never entertaining in when you can go out. Still, I appreciate anyone making their mark in the world. And knowing you, Brenda, your skirt will be AMAZING.

I tried to google my elementary school best friend from California (we moved to Michigan when I was in third grade.) No luck, he wasn't listed anywhere.

Sigh.

Annette said...

Sorry, I don't remember them either.

I do, however, know what a hostess GIFT (as in Tupperware) is.

Kind of shows the type of entertaining my mom did when I was a kid...

Joyce said...

I've never heard of a hostess skirt either! And my mother sewed everything. She made a lot of aprons which she wore for company.

lisa curry said...

Brenda, I never heard of a hostess skirt, but then again, I'm fashion-impaired, as was my mother, so I'm sure many fashion trends come and go without my ever having been aware of them. Frankly, I think I would rather wear just about anything, up to and including a burlap sack, than a quilted skirt with mushrooms on it, but I agree with Tory -- I'm sure your hostess skirt will be amazing.

brenda said...

Lisa never fails to make me laugh out loud. I intend to wear my cat skirt to the meeting tonight so that everyone can be truly disturbed by my new life's work.

Nancy said...

Brenda, my mother had a slew of hostess skirts! The one I remember best was an avocadoc-oolored one (hey---it wasn't just for kitchen appliances!) with something gaudy appliqued on it---flowers, maybe? Or frogs? I can't remember. It looked sort of like all those felt table runners ladies embroidered for holidays.

I love your writing voice in these blogs. Are you saving them? Because they'd make a great book of essays someday---with a cute title. Hmm......

brenda said...

Nancy! Does your Mom still have them! I would love to see them. Now I'm thinking a book on hostess skirts would be a good project for me. Can you imagine?!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to give you kudos for wearing your cat skirt last night, Brenda. Those fussy little felines made me want to jump on board the hostess skirt express.

Kathy MH

Emily said...

my great aunt (and she's truly great!) gave me a REALLY bright hostess skirt of hers. i wear it in public as often as possible, during the winter though since it's polyester and ankle-length. it's one of my favorite skirts.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Brenda! As of Winter 2008, hostess skirts are "in"! You are a miracle worker. ;)

Anonymous said...

I remember one and I want one. how goes the campaign. have you found any? talbots had one last year for christmas and like a fool i didn't get it. please, let me know

Anonymous said...

I collect long 70s maxi skirts and bought my first in 2004. I love quilted skirts, or prairie skirts, and the wrap skirt is very fun.