The advent of pantyhose rendered even formal dressing for women swift and painless. In not too distant times memorable to living grandmothers, wearing hose necessitated sturdy undergarments and complex fasteners. Tutorials and mentoring in their selection and wear were required to avoid unsightly bulges, afford necessary bathroom breaks, and ensure adequate oxygen intake. Today, of course, even corporate dress codes permit no hose. No woman need endure even the minor confinement of pantyhose. Concern over visible tattoos, body piercings, and cleavage has long eclipsed worries over hose.
Tattooed and pierced mothers and fathers must also consider whether to teach junior the complexities of tying shoes. Will he be wearing wingtips to the office? Will she need steel toed boots on the construction site? The advent of Velcro has simplified and speeded the shodding of youngsters. There’s no more whining or kicking during the lacing of baby shoes or delays while kindergarteners puzzle the intricacies of shoe laces. Even buckles are receding into history as they are replaced by elastic in shoe straps and waistbands. Zippers, of course, are much more efficient than buttons. Popping on that mundane gray hoodie rather than buttoning your cable knit cardigan guarantees a seat on the bus. Still, climbing into baggy kneed sweatpants takes the zip out of fastening designer jeans. Apparently, any interest in the decorative functions of laces, buttons, and zippers has disappeared in favor of the clean, if monotonous lines of now ubiquitous casual clothing.
Should these fasteners be preserved as a rite of passage? Are keyboarding, texting, and playing video games the only socially correct ways to learn and demonstrate fine motor skills and dexterity? Probably, the value of fastening skills as indications of cultured manners and a formal wardrobe will disappear with cursive writing, paper greeting cards, and telephone calls. Any grieving will be reserved for owners of vintage clothing stores, button collectors, and zipper manufacturers. Their memory will fade as their stories are relegated to the pages of esoteric fashion history journal articles. Perhaps, instead, we will choose to embellish our conversations and more closely connect with friends and family. Our newfangled fasteners for the enhancement of our social fabric are stylish smart phones with numerous colorful icons representing the proliferation of communication applications.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2013