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The Slice: Formally done with kindergarten

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of a trend.

But in this instance, perhaps we can mark it down as “June 12, 2013.”

That’s when a friend’s little boy insisted on wearing a necktie to kindergarten.

OK, this did not set Spokane on its ear. Not right away. But I have a feeling that this lad put in motion a series of sartorial events that will change the city.

Think about it. Fashions tend to be cyclical. Styles that are “out” eventually become “in” again. And in Spokane, what could be more out of fashion than dressing up?

But all it takes is one bold trailblazer to make a difference. What used to be seen as stilted and old-fashioned can suddenly become retro cool.

Now I am not saying that the Spokane area’s public grade schools are going to be populated by button-down clusters of small Ward Cleaver look-alikes next September. It’s just that conditions are ripe for a wardrobe revision.

Consider this. Lots of Inland Northwest kids are seldom if ever asked to dress up. So the idea of, say, putting on a tie is almost exotic. It’s practically like donning a secret identity.

Sure, 20th century children used to get squirmy about wearing their “Sunday” clothes. But if you have visited a house of worship lately, you might have noticed that dressing for church isn’t what it used to be.

Besides, the Northwest has a lot of families with no religious affiliation. So many kids don’t even get to hear a parent wonder if a Mariners T-shirt is suitable Sabbath attire.

There’s another factor. Young people traditionally do not like to dress exactly like adults. And if most of the grown-ups they see are wedded to a relaxed ballcapian look, well, there’s a signpost up ahead for Backlash City.

Then, because older people often attempt to affect a youthful appearance, we are bound to see people with gray hair start dressing up.

Of course, if dressing up really does become a Spokane trend, one thing is certain.

Eventually some little kid, a kindergartner maybe, will rediscover casual.

Today’s Slice question: What’s the biggest difference between eastern North Idaho and western North Idaho?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Summer solstice parties can be fun.

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