In the fall just before school would start at St. Luke’s Elementary School, my mom would take me shopping. Shoe shopping that is. The only kinda apparel shopping Catholic school kids are gifted with.

The big decision each year????

Saddle shoes or Mary Janes?

My mom loved it. She adored the uniform life.

Me, not so much.

In fact, one year in childhood rebellion I protested my Mary Janes! My mom loved telling that story.

“Yes, Colleen announced absolutely no more Mary Jane’s until I took her shopping and what did we come home with? Mary Janes of course!”

Well, of COURSE! Once I got to the store and stared at my same TWO options! What choice did I really have????

Catholic school ‘fashion’ (Did I just use that word?) taught me a few things though.

1. That you can’t blame a girl for hiking up her hem when all she’s got to work with is plaid.

2. That girls don’t actually wear ties, it’s more of a guy thing.

3. That fabrics are actually made in colors OTHER than navy, gray, black and blue.

4. That other shoes exist besides the uni-shoes.

5. In fact, the parochial uni-shoe ‘the saddle’ rarely matches anything else, but uni-forms.

6. That skirts don’t really work well on the playground, in the gym, at recess…you get the idea.

7. Blouses aren’t ALL white.

8. That skirts don’t generally come with suspender type straps.

I learned a lot about fashion from Catholic elementary school. You won’t find me in Saddle shoes, Mary Janes or plaid. I can’t complain though.

The nuns were working with even far less than we were.


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