Just before Year 18
The stores hadn’t gotten any new stock in months, but they were struggling, trying to pretend like nothing was wrong, hoping – like everyone was – that this would blow over soon, that things would go back to normal.
They’d pulled all of last year’s stock, anything they had in their warehouses and back rooms, in a sad attempt to keep things normal.
“Mom, I can’t go to school in last year’s clothes. Everyone’s going to laugh at me.”
“No, they’re not.” Laurelia’s mother was amazingly unsympathetic. “Because the world is ending everywhere, Laurelia, not just here.”
“But these clothes are so… ugh.” She plucked at the tunic-shirt distastefully. The end of the world was being very irritating.
“Then I suggest you learn to sew.”
Just before Year 27
Every piece of clothing Garden owned had been patched at least once. Every piece of clothing everyone she knew owned had been patched at least once. After a while, they’d given up on making clothes look new and had settled for being warm.
Except holiday clothes. Garden still had a skirt where you couldn’t see how they’d altered it and a nice soft sweater where they’d made the darns decorative.
The week before she was supposed to go to Addergoole, her mother pulled out a box Garden had never seen before. “I saved these.” The clothing was soft, clean – new – and smelled of cedar chips and lavender. “It’s not enough for the whole year, but it will get you started. And it looks like I got the size about right.”
Just before Year 37
Moretta’s mother was the seamstress for their town, which gave her a bit of an advantage. Her mother had tried out most of her ideas – how to take three pairs of ruined pants and make one nice pair, how to turn an old, ripped blanket into a jacket, how to make a dress from whatever you had leftover from other projects – using Moretta as a mobile dummy and advertising placard.
In return, Moretta had clothes to pack for Addergoole that looked like clothes. Her mother had dug into an old stash of fabric and spent some time looking at old fashion magazines, and then spent three months sewing. “They’re going to be coming from all over the country. Except Ediana, who you know, and Gerald. But most of them will be strangers. Their people will have different fashions. Remember that. There is no ‘voice of fashion’ anymore. And in Addergoole… well, there will be bigger problems.”
Moretta, who had been born four years after the world ended, didn’t know what her mother was talking about. But she knew that she had clothing that looked good on her, and felt nice, and kept her warm.
Just before Year 47
“All right. Two nice dresses, five pairs of pants, and three skirts. Nobody at school will be as well-dressed as you are.”
Naia’s mother wasn’t by any means an accomplished seamstress, but she was a very good cobbler and leather-worker, and her sister, Naia’s Aunt Prima, owned the burgeoning textile mill that employed most of the town. Naia knew she was lucky to be as well-dressed – and certainly well-shod – as she was.
She stroked the skirt carefully. “It’s all very nice.”
“But you’re thinking about the girls from New Detroit, aren’t you? With the fancy trim and the strange cuts on everything?”
“And the ones from the South.” Since her mother had said it, she could admit it. “With those pants.”
“You won’t be out of fashion in Addergoole. But, just in case…” Her mother folded a dress in the New Detroit style into the trunk.
Thanks to @inventrix for the names and for brainstorming with me on the fashion.
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Keeping face amongst strangers? Or teenage girls remain the same?