Remember when you thought your teacher was the most beautiful woman on earth and you wanted to look just like her? Oh deary, deary me.
Miss Seibel, my Grade 1 teacher, was the bee’s knees. She had a purple mini-dress pinafore with an enormous butterfly embroidered across the bib. She’d pair it with a white skivvy and lace-up, knee-high boots. Gorgeous! Oh how I longed for a purple, butterfly-embellished pinafore to go with my white lace-up boots.
Mrs W…, a teacher who fits somewhere in the early years (not sure where), had shoes to die for. I can’t remember what they looked like. I just remember that we all vied for centre front row position on the mat during story time so we could softly, gently, furtively reach out and stroke those hallowed shoes. Occasionally, someone would manage to slip one off her foot and hug it to their chest before she reclaimed it.
Mrs Ansell, my Kindergarten teacher, had long orange hair and used to wear stripy garments of tan, orange and brown to match her beautiful locks. Matching hair and fabric! She was stunning.
Mrs Brain, my Grade 4 teacher, was such a fashion icon that I had my hair cut in exactly the same style as hers. This may not sound too disturbing, until you realise that she was my mother and her hairstyle was something like a basin cut crossed with a mullet. I had, in fact, turned myself into a miniature version of my mum/teacher. At least we were fashion victims together - a good bonding exercise, I’m sure. Not so great, though, for family photos as you can see here ....
But the teacher I admired most for her charm, beauty and fashion, was Miss Doherty, my Grade 2 teacher and headmistress of the infants department. Miss Doherty, you see, had sensational curly hair, a smile like sunshine and sleeve protectors. Sleeve protectors were plastic sheaths, elbow-high, elasticised at the wrists. They were worn to shield the sleeves of one’s blouse or frock from paint, chalk dust, ink, Grade 2 snot and Gestetner chemicals. I thought they were the most glamorous item with which any woman had ever adorned her person.
Thankfully, we grow up and move on. We find new role models. We gather our idea of fashion from ever-changing sources. We form our own unique style. Which is just as well, or I’d be accessorising my basin-styled lady mullet and purple pinafore with tan-striped stockings, lace-up boots, giant butterfly brooches and an exotic range of plastic sleeve protectors.
Aw man! Who am I kidding? I still really want some sleeve protectors.