It feels strange this year with Covid, to not be doing my usual fall shopping. I would love to get a few new things at this time of the year, usually a dress or two, maybe a skirt or something to signify the change of seasons, a sweater or top in the burgundy’s or browns or popular fall colors.
Ever since I can remember, the end of summer meant back to school shopping. Growing up in San Francisco, my mother would take my sister and I on the 5 Fulton Muni bus, and we would be dressed up (never pants in those years) even wearing white gloves. We would head downtown for our annual trek to get shoes and a few outfits for school.
Our first stop would be at Sommer and Kaufman a venerable shoe store on Market St. There would be big wooden horses in the lobby we would get up on first, and then we would stick our feet in a machine to check them. I’m not sure for what, theoretically to see how the bones were growing I suppose. This machine emitted x-rays which of course we would later discover was not a good thing.
Even at a young age I had a desire for the latest school shoe of that particular season. That could mean white buck saddles shoes, penny loafers in a cordovan color, two tone leather saddle shoes, beige and a darker brown were my favorites, or whatever was featured that season. We also would get one pair of “dress” shoes, usually black patent at first with straps then as we got older it was a rite of passage to graduate to fancy shoes without straps. Our family tradition was that the new school shoes had to stay in their boxes until the start of school. The fancier shoes were worn for the high holidays first and later for birthday parties or special celebrations. We might also get a pair of keds or some kind of tennis shoe as needed for gym classes.
After the shoes, we went across the street to the Emporium or several blocks up Stockton St. to Macy’s. We would get maybe a dress or a jumper. If there was plaid or corduroy that year that would be my s pick. Even then I followed the trend of the latest fall colors. One year “camel” was the it color, another year it was burgundy. We also wore skirts and knee socks as back in the 1960’s pants were just not yet worn by girls. That might seem hard to believe but that was the way it was. We would end our little shopping trip going out to lunch with my mom, tuna on toast and some dessert that we all shared, maybe the famous crunch cake at Blum’s which was a famous restaurant in Macy’s.
So here we are, fall 2020 and though I am perusing the catalogues that I get in the mail, checking on line at my favorite stores it seems strange to buy when my full closets just sit with all the clothes I have not worn for months. Getting “dressed up” these days seems like a novelty. What I did get recently was a pair of colorful and comfortable leggings and some brightly colored tops. I have a feeling until we go back to a more active life, leggings and other pants and comfortable tops will be what I rely on this fall. I am still going to buy some clothes signifying fall. I have to . That shopping ritual is a part of my make up and fall ritual and I won’t let Covid take away that pleasure.