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Sarasota News Leader June 7, 2013 OPINION Page 66 IF CLOTHES MAKE THE PERSON ... By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY My 5-year-old granddaughter and I wear the exact same type of "play clothes" — sandals, shorts and T-shirts decorated with pretty drawings and some clever words. Hers might be about "Hello Kitty" and mine might be from a recent exotic trip, but the concept is exactly the same: Our wardrobe is not indicative of our age. Mind you, I am not complaining. I love pretending that picking out the right T-shirt to match my shorts is a major decision. But when did casual clothes for all ages start to reflect a similar look? My mother liked to wear something on her legs called "pedal pushers." These well tailored, cotton pants came right below the knees and were usually accompanied by a colorful cotton blouse, probably covering her upper arms and coordinating perfectly with her pants. According to the thinking of that day, my mother's children and potential grandchildren would not have worn an outfit similar to hers for play or beach wear. Lifestyle was more structured, and the clothing styles were in sync with the times. When, and why, did clothes become more casual and more homogenized? I am guessing it was in the '60s, when many girls put aside traditional lifestyles and wanted to assert themselves and prove they were independent thinkers. T-shirts with a variety of sayings and prints became popular. Rock groups even began authorizing the production of T-shirts with their names and images of their album covers. Thus began the whole phenomenon. Everybody, including younger kids, began seeking out T-shirts expressing their own thoughts and/or preferences. And even though my mother was very comfortable wearing her casual attire, she probAnd let us not forget the platform sandals that ably would have laughed out loud to imagine herself dressed exactly like a 5-year-old. % matched and made her "outfit" complete.

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