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Frugal fashionista finds versatility in vintage plaid

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I won’t mince any words. I hate plaid. I’ve never been one to dilly dally with my emotions and this one is quite clear to me. 

Yes, it’s almost tangible, this utter, undignified, unethical hatred of the material I was forced to wear every school day of my childhood.

It reminds me nuns, religion classes and cool marble floors. Of blackboards and clapping the erasers after school with my best friend, David Hart. It’s the smell of sweaty kids baking in a non-air conditioned school room. The stiff, ill-fitted red plaid dresses remind me of winning games of 21 and beating all the boys in footraces after school.

So I guess the memories are not all that bad. There is something to be said about beating a boy in a dress. 

As horrid as the jumpers were, they were versatile. With our patent leather shoes and lacey white socks, us girls were invincible. We could do anything from master algebra to dissect frogs, not to mention conquer the court in dodge ball.

There’s a lot to be learned from those elementary years. And not only from Catechism. 

I’d never thought I’d say the words. There’s a lesson to be learned from — (gulp) — plaid.

Wednesday was International Walk to School Day. Kids and parents from all over the world strolled or rode their bikes to school. 

And this prompted me to find an outfit inspired by the versatility of my school uniform. 

True, the material was stiff and uncomfortable, but not all plaid has to be that way. And what did the Catholic Church teach about forgiveness?

Yes, it’s time to reconcile with plaid. I didn’t go to mass every morning until eighth grade for nothing.

Despite the physical obstacles — Main Street’s construction— and the emotional hindrances associated with the material, I braved the Nifty Thrifty searching for an outfit that is versatile enough to bike to work. 

And there it was, the infamous plaid skirt. It was bittersweet as I took it off the rack and held it to my waist. The price said $1.75. Not bad, but could I do it? Could I actually wear the very pattern I had condemned for over a decade?

Then I asked myself, do I want to bike to work in a beautiful skirt that is both work professional and cuter than sin?

Do I want to be invincible? 

Yes, yes I do. 


(Editor’s note: Nifty Thrifty benefits Mission Mountain Enterprises, which serves people with developmental disabilities.)

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