Longing For Autumn 1973

I have a specific memory that goes in my “magical” folder. I was a freshman at college, so it was Boston, 1973. It was that first perfect Autumn day you get in the Northeast – cool but sunny and breezy. I remember exactly what I was wearing because it felt so darn good: A pair of knee length grey wool culottes that I had sewn, a teal sweater, tights and loafers. Everything in my world was new and fresh and hopeful, walking across the Quad to my French Literature class.

Florida life is lovely – we never have to shovel snow, or wear down jumpsuits, or slip on the ice. But that perfect day I remember from 1973 doesn’t come until late in the year in the South, and those cool days are short. And my world is still inviting and hopeful, but no longer limitless. And by September I want to throw my summer clothes in a heap and make a style bonfire.

Here are some interim ways I use to capture that Fall feeling, along with a few pieces I am recklessly eye-balling in the shops:
A cardigan is a wonderful way to add texture and color. I can wear a Fall-ish cardigan if it’s lightweight and cropped, and worn over summer tanks:


This open-weave cotton cardigan is just right for the ice-cold restaurants and movie theaters.

A blazer isn’t required for any of my activities but I love the look. I have a lightweight linen blazer by Eileen Fisher that doesn’t make me feel overheated.


I’m ready to wear a cotton blend blazer – in this classic navy, or black.

Booties. You knew these were coming; I love wearing them so much. It’s too hot for tights now, but booties still look chic with a lightweight full skirt or dress.


Oh yes, these are great wardrobe players

Darker color accessories, like a dark floral scarf and more “serious” jewelry. I put the bright necklaces and bracelets aside in favor of more chunky, rich colored pieces.


Love the rich, muted shades of this Autumn scarf.

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  1. Patti, I remember those college days. Things seemed fresh and new, perhaps more so than now, with more of a routine in life, less unexpected. I lived in PA for 32 years of my life, so when Sept rolled around, it meant Fall! Living in NC, it is similar, I can wear some items in the evening to help me think of Fall.. love the blazer, cardi and truly love the booties idea. I can relate as our Fall isnt for another month or so. Enjoy the memories too!
    jess xx

  2. Your day back then sounds wonderful. I had a fabulous pair of denim culottes back then and I wish I had never given them away. They were fabulous for teaching ballet classes too! I know how you yearn for autumn colours and clothes as I do in our sub tropical climate – and now, as your days will begin to cool and you can have a style bonfire, my eyes are turning to the ease of summer dressing and waiting to wear the short dress I saw in the window of the Church Op Shop. Enjoy each moment, Patti xx

  3. Memories are great, aren’t they? One difference between men and women is that women usually remember what they were wearing; men don’t.

  4. We are very close in age, I am a Boston girl. I have outfit memories, just like you. 1973 I didn’t have much money and a small closet, but being young, my few clothes were new and on on trend and looked good on me. High waisted jeans with a full leg in denim and forest green. Short chunky sweaters and maryjane clogs. Short cranberry corduroy skirt. Always worried I was too fat and my hair looked terrible. What an idiot!

  5. This is lovely and makes me cry. In the fall of 1973 I was also in Boston just starting my last year of elementary school. Life seemed so simple then, but I am probably forgetting so much. I love the open cardigan that you selected.

  6. That memory of the perfect day, your life ahead of you and everything “just right” is lovely.

    That promise of endless possibilities, the world so open and fresh takes me back. That is one of the things I miss most about my youth…the “first” times.


  7. Like Carol L, I lived within about 30 miles of Boston for my whole life until recently. I was in New England for that special fall day, although I was just starting college in Maine in ’73. I moved from Massachusetts to Florida a few months ago. It’s been a wicked hot summer here (but also hot in New England). I’ll miss those crisp New England fall days, but don’t know when I’ll get tired of wearing sandals all the time! Love your blog.

  8. Patti, I love the sound of your Autumn 1973 outfit, fancy sewing your own culottes, too.
    The Autumn in films and in books rarely resembles our British Autumn, we tend to go straight from Summer to Winter, sandals and bare arms one minute, coats and boots the next with just horrendously big spiders and terrible TV in between.
    I’d happily live in Florida. I don’t think I’d ever tire of Summer clothes. Want a lodger? xxx

  9. I know what you mean about that bonfire! I’m so ready to be wearing not-summer clothes, but the relentless sun wins. I’m also compromising with lightweight jackets and cardigans, other lightweight layers, and fall colors. It’s getting crisper in the early morning — hope we get to that ’73 weather of yours soon!

  10. Love that picture you painted, Patti, of your perfect fall day in 1973. September 1973 was the beginning of grade eleven for me, my second year in high school. The city had just built a huge new high school, that amalgamated three old schools. Everything was brand spanking new, including my jeans, and my confidence in no longer being a newbie. I can close my eyes and conjure up my outfit that day. Thanks for this.

  11. Just began following you and love this post. It could have been written by me (love of N.E. Fall weather, very similar outfit – also sewn! I’m certain I enjoyed that same Fall day as I’ve never lived further than 30 mins. from Boston my entire life. Your being a Freshman in ’73 puts us at exactly the same age so I’m sure I will enjoy every post you add to your blog. Thanks for the memories today!

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