Fashion Plate / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I had lunch a couple weeks ago with my great aunt, a thin, sprightly 86-year-old lady who is just a delight. We started talking about the Marshall Field's department store closing in downtown Minneapolis, and she reminisced about the grand old days when it was still Dayton's.

"Just after the war . . ." she said, and I decided everyone should be lucky enough to know someone who can say that phrase and mean "WWII." 

" . . . my aunt took me there and bought me a pair of nylons. And that was a really big deal."

She then described the absolute necessity of keeping those seams straight, and how women were always stealing quick glances at their calves to check on this issue.

"You know, back in those days, we wore hats and suits and gloves, and everything had to match."

Sitting across from me at the restaurant, she was rocking a very smart turtleneck sweater set and coordinated jewelry. She was, as always, flawlessly on point. 

"Well, you must look around now and think everyone is a total slob," I said.

A peal of laughter escaped her lips, and she said with amused disgust:

"Oh HEAVENS! Just LOOK at me. I'm wearing Reeboks and DENIM!"