In sixth grade, my sister and I "discovered" the Beatles.
One fateful day, we checked out Magical Mystery Tour on cassette from the Spokane Public Library, launching us into a magical phase of complete obsession with the legendary band.
It also happens that back then — the early 2000s — bell bottom jeans had just come back in vogue. Naturally, we applied our newfound appreciation of 1960s music and pop culture to our evolving youth fashion sense (later both becoming avid vintage clothing collectors).
Traditional shopping malls were still thriving, too, and Saturdays with friends often meant trips to NorthTown, home to Claire's, Hot Topic, Wet Seal and Limited Too. At the latter, we tried to stretch our tiny allowance budgets as far as possible. Limited Too was a massively popular girls and tween clothing brand, and regularly mailed out catalogs filled with overpriced "angel"-printed graphic tees, butterfly hair clips, platform sneakers and oversized cargo pants. While the brand was a favorite, the only time we ever afforded Limited Too duds was on clearance.
My middle school best friend Angela, meanwhile, had a closet fully stocked with Limited Too's colorful, cute and perfectly coordinated outfits. She let me borrow her clothes often, which my mom would wash, and I'd bring them back to school the next day. My favorite Limited Too piece from Angela was a pair of lime-green, satin-finished, flare-leg pants, because they were nearly identical to the ones John Lennon — my favorite Beatle — wore with a matching jacket on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Oh, how I pined for my own pair! Sadly, the brand discontinued the pants before I could find some on sale.
But, wait! A new Limited Too holiday catalog soon arrived in our post office box. Inside it were those satin pants like John Lennon's, this time in new, holiday-themed tones: emerald, royal purple, ruby red and silver. It didn't matter anymore that the green pants were gone, because I'd since spotted the bespectacled Beatle wearing a similar pair of shiny, burgundy-colored bell bottoms in the 1967 music video for "I Am the Walrus," one of my favorite songs.
I needed them, desperately.
Gramma, never one to disappoint her grandkids, was the one to ask for these fancy, overpriced (back then in the range of $40-$50) pants for Christmas.
I circled the exact style, color and size and brought her the catalog so the mail-order process (this was very early e-commerce days, mind you) was easy as possible.
Come Christmas Day, my dreams of dressing like John Lennon were finally fulfilled. I wore my new pants, often accessorized with round-lens sunglasses, to school — and always in defiance of classmates' taunts at my love of the Beatles — with pride. ♦