ENOUGH SAID: Out of the loop: From sneakers to centerfolds
When did sneakers become tennis shoes and tennis shoes morph into running, walking cross-training, air-soled, gel-soled, logoed, famous athletic footwear?
As a kid, I wore sneakers, period. In school, until seventh grade, white sneakers were the deal; you had to wear them in gym with a clean and ironed gym suit. If your sneakers were dirty, it was points off administered by Miss Maniac, (not real name, real demeanor). Always being the last to be chosen for anything remotely related to a team sport, I could not afford a point, or a fraction of a point, subtracted from my physical fitness record. So it was my aim to have the whitest of white sneakers.
It didn’t take long for my first-day-of-school new Keds to get pretty grungy looking. No problem, I dyed them with white liquid shoe polish. Like a giant bottle of white-out it worked on my black and white saddle shoes too. The dye applicator was strange, a ball, about the size of a quarter at the end of a thin wire rod. Shake the polish, pull the applicator out and dab the dirty sneakers. Problem was, most of the time my sneakers were kept in my gym locker, so application was usually in the locker room just before gym class. The bottle of polish was often passed from girl to girl as a last minute point saver. I went through so much of the white stuff, my mother thought I was putting it on my Cheerios. Once our sneaks were soaked white, it was volleyball, basketball or gymnastics in sodden, white canvas shoes. By the time class was over, the polish was dry and our socks stuck to our feet.
That style of athletic footwear back then, (known simply as Keds today), slowly took on the mantle of the tennis shoe. Maybe it was the popularity of the game of tennis and later the controversy over Billie Jean vs. Bobby. Or maybe it was because “sneaker” was such a kid-sounding name, because the same exact footwear became tennis shoes. That continued until Bill Bowerman poured rubber into his wife’s waffle iron in the early ’70s, the “Just do it,” running shoes were born. The whole get-fit industry, has become a quest and a lifestyle, which had taken my little wet and white sneakers and made them fashion icons rather than athletic footwear.
Seems like a lot of things have changed names; I guess if you live long enough almost everything does.
When did pedal-pushers become capris?
As a kid I loved my pedal pushers, (pants longer than shorts and shorts shorter than slacks). I hated skirts, disliked Bermudas, and jeans were always too hot. Pedal pushers were perfect, usually bright colored, lightweight and looked positively fashionable with my ankle socks and whiter-than-white sneakers.
When did sweaters become shrugs?
When I was a 20-whatever, short sweaters meant you put them in the dryer when you should have dried them flat. Today’s shrugs are sort of sweater-shawl hybrids; great for covering your arms, (that’s about all they cover), and unlike a shawl, you’re not wearing your grandmother’s afghan.
And when did thongs become flip flops and underwear become thongs?
Women’s underwear is a controversial subject best left to discussion among lingerie sales clerks and men’s magazine publishers. Problem is where I shop there are no lingerie sales clerks unless you count the lady who sits on the stool next to the underwear aisle, outside the dressing room at Wal-Mart.
And, the magazine publishers, well, where I shop they don’t sell those magazines but they do sell shrugs and sneakers, (yup they’re still called sneakers), and white shoe polish. Enough said.