June 28, 2010

Ghosts of Fashion

Sunday was an interesting fashion day around the Cactus-Fish house. Both kids picked their own outfits. Mia's was relatively, uncharacteristically subdued - an orange shirt clashed with pink capris but otherwise there were no massive fashion crimes. Owen, on the other hand, was considerably more complicated in his self-styling. He wore:

  • Two shirts, one normal, one jammies, both inside out;
  • A dozen of those rubber-band bracelets that turn into animals or whatever when you take them off (if you don't know what these are, you clearly have no children or you aren't 12)
  • One bright red fingernail painted by Beth after some severe pressure
  • Rain boots
  • Swim goggles
  • No pants, or, if pants were worn, jorts
  • Bright yellow gardening gloves complete with cute little green caterpillars

It was quite a sight. I imagine the folks at the grocery store thought so too when Beth dared to take him with her. But it's not like I'm one to talk.

I, myself, had some pretty severe fashion violations. Two still make me tremble with regret to this very day. The first was influence by the trend that was Miami Vice in the early to mid-eighties. It consisted of white pants, a white blazer and a pink paisley shirt. If I'd had a Ferrari, a two-day growth of beard, a badge, a gun and a crocodile that kept me company on my sailboat, I very well might have gotten away with this. But no. I was a 12 year-old suburban kid who thought Don Johnson was the epitome of cool. The second was quite possibly worse. Apparently around the same time I fancied myself something of a Billy Idol type. I had, after all, the blond hair which could easily be spiked and I could do that Billy Idol sneer/lip thing. Of course, I was also - as I mentioned - a suburban kid who knew nothing about white weddings, rebel yells or eyes without faces though if I kept this fashion up, I'd grow accustomed to dancing with myself. This did not deter me. One evening, for a party, I casually threw on a gray vest with tons of zippers, an English driving cap, a nylon belt and - wait for it - parachute pants. It's amazing I ever found someone to marry me.

There were, of course, others. Like oversized Ray-Bans, fluorescent t-shirts that ordered those around me to relax because Frankie said to, and multiple Swatches worn at the same time. I'm comforted by the fact that I'm surely not alone.

What were your gravest fashion violations?

Posted by Chris at June 28, 2010 6:47 AM

The time my first husband and I at the tender ages of 15/16 got matching green and white check pants and cream colored shirts and then wore them to school at least once a week.
My God! I cringe just thinking about that now.
Thankfully I became very conservative, dress wise after that!

Posted by: Maribeth at June 28, 2010 7:45 AM

i may very well be committing my worst fashion crime today - gladiator sandals and harem-esque pants. i may have had a lapse in taste on my last shopping trip....

Posted by: meanie at June 28, 2010 7:52 AM

I rocked the side pony tail more often than I care to admit... At first it was for dance performances (because we had to...) But then I wore it like that all the time... And Stirup pants... I LOVED stirup pants... In 8th grade, too, we read The Outsiders. At some point, I decided I wanted to be a greaser. So I had my mom buy stock in hair spray, and I use to use about 1/4 of a bottle of hair spray on my hair every day, back into a tight pony tail, and made my head helmet hard. I also had a cat eye phase, where I drew little sideways V's with eye liner, and filled it in with white and glitter. Again, that stemmed from dance performances, and unfortently, followed into real life...

Posted by: secha at June 28, 2010 7:53 AM

Without a doubt, the plastic rubbery madonna bracelets up most of one arm.

And honorable mention for the baggy flannel shirts I wore in the 90s, but everyone else was but holy hell, I have to say the 90s were a much more body friendly time, fashion wise, than teens these days get to deal with. You can hide a multiple of body "flaws" under a large flannel button down.

Posted by: sarah at June 28, 2010 8:11 AM

Oy, I don't even know where to start!

6th grade- Every Friday night to the roller disco (ha) I wore blue satin shorts. Really short shorts, a random faux football jersey (because a boy I liked had the same one), tube socks with blue and yellow stripes and my hair in TWO side ponytails, both on the same side, ala' Chrissy Snow. Can't forget the big purple pom poms on my roller skates. And the purple glitter nail polish.

That was right after I came out of my tom boy stage where I wore wrangler jeans and flannel shirts every day. I think my parents were starting to worry about me.

In HS it was the neon Madonna/flashdance stage. With white reeboks and two or three pairs of different colored socks, lace gloves, sweatshirts with the necks cut out so they hung off the shoulder..I remember a particular pink one with fake pearls all over it. During this stage my eyeshadow always had to match my shirt.

In college it was the stonewashed/acid washed jeans, stirrup pants, oversize sweatshirts, rolling jeans at the hem...

When my husband complains about our sons style choices I remind him of our own experiments and that he needs to go through this to figure out who he is.....right now our 14 year old wants to be Billie Joe Armstrong, which is not really a bad thing except his private school frowns on long hair, blue hair, black skinny jeans and eyeliner on boys.....

Posted by: lisa at June 28, 2010 8:26 AM

I think I escaped most of the clothing fashion faux pas, not so much out of choice but because of school uniforms and dress codes. But the hair, oh my the hair... Think 80s big hair on a girl with a TON of thick, wavy hair. I'm amazed I could fit through any doors.

Posted by: Elizabeth at June 28, 2010 8:49 AM

Why? Why is there no picture of this saavy little man?

Posted by: k8 at June 28, 2010 8:52 AM

I think Lisa and I were the same person back in the day. At least, given how we dressed. Hah! She pretty much hit it all. I also had VERY big hair, which was sorta the norm in the 80s and not really a big shocker or anything. I wanted hair like Joey Tempest from Europe. *eyeroll*

Posted by: Jen at June 28, 2010 9:22 AM

Parachute pants.

Posted by: COD at June 28, 2010 9:34 AM

Having grown up in Hawaii, my fashion crimes are largely crimes from an outside perspective... things like bright aloha shirts and shorts were the norm at home, but when people on the mainland look at my photos from back then, I get a fair amount of crap. (For my high school prom, I bought a brand-spanking new aloha shirt! I probably wore white pants... so that there may be the crime.)

Oh yeah, I also had shoulder-length hair.

At least we understood that matching aloha wear was UNcool!

Posted by: pvz at June 28, 2010 10:18 AM

I got nothing, you can't go wrong with jeans and a t. But... check these... my eyes! My eyes!


Posted by: Deeleea at June 28, 2010 10:26 AM

Where are the pics? These are the times that scream to be immoralized on film.

I hafta say the big bangs, rolled jeans, and multiple socks.

Although, I must admit that my sister was more of a fashion maven. LOL

Posted by: debb at June 28, 2010 10:59 AM

i've told you before, you and my husband as kids would have been great friends :)

i had my share of spiral perms and acid washed pleated/no back pocket jeans...

Posted by: kati at June 28, 2010 11:42 AM

My mom made me some green and purple paisley parachute pants in junior high (a la MC Hammer, who was cool at the time). At my request. I was a white suburban girl (also of the era of big bangs, rolled jeans, etc).

And people wonder why I don't want to go back home....

Posted by: Kelly at June 28, 2010 2:07 PM

When I was in junior high in the mid-eigties, I had some neon orange pants and a neon yellow sweatshirt (with complementary socks). When I wore this as one outfit, my mother actually insisted that I ride the bus to school. She did not want to be seen with me.

Posted by: Annie at June 28, 2010 2:51 PM

Did you ever have a pair of fold-up sun glasses? I did :)

Posted by: Rex at June 28, 2010 3:24 PM

Ick, I am shuddering remembering the BIG -- big hair, big earrings, big glasses, big shoulder pads...yee gads let's hope I've shredded the worst of them!

Posted by: bacioni at June 28, 2010 3:27 PM

I am also a child of the 80s...female mullet; legwarmers; "flashdance" sweatshirts; jelly shoes...

Posted by: Krush at June 28, 2010 3:51 PM

Legwarmers! I wore legwarmers! Regularly! UGH!

Posted by: Kris H. at June 28, 2010 4:08 PM

Stretch pants, oversized sweaters - and, the worst of it - an "undercut". (Like, buzzed below my ears, but long on top, aka reverse mullet - but I mostly blame my mother since I was only 11! :P )

Posted by: Heather at June 28, 2010 4:20 PM

I am surprised your mullet didn't make the list! :)

Fashion violations... does a late 80s perm with aqua net hairspray count? I think so!

Posted by: jessica at June 28, 2010 4:55 PM

Oh, but dare I mention nail polish... imagine two colors: fluorescent yellow and fluorescent orange. Now, paint each fingernail in alternating colors. On the yellow nails, paint little orange dots. On the orange nails, paint little yellow dots.

Need I say any more?

Posted by: jessica at June 28, 2010 4:57 PM

Those RayBans are coming back you know.

My best outfit: Union Jack muscle t-shirt, camo pants, lavender Esprit shirt and four color Chucks. Totally 1983.

Posted by: Heather at June 28, 2010 8:27 PM

Oops, I meant Esprit purse. It would have been better I suppose though if I'd pulled off both the lavender shirt and Union Jack t.

Posted by: Heather at June 28, 2010 8:34 PM

Pegged pants.... stirrup pants... I never took anything to the extreme. I'd just try to fit in without going over the top. So, it was more about looking "normal" and fitting in, rather than committing fashion faux pas -- I blame the fashion "gurus" who introduced these things to the general public.

Posted by: ironic1 at June 28, 2010 9:17 PM

My entire high school career was a fashion violation. I don't even know where to begin.

I have to say though, I LOVE that Beth took Owen out like that. I love seeing kids who so obviously dressed themselves. My family cringed when I did it with my daughter, but she wasn't hurting anyone, wasn't freezing, and the fight it would have been to have her change into something "normal"? Not worth it.

Posted by: js at June 28, 2010 9:40 PM

Ok first of all, the hole in the ozone? Totally my fault because I bowed before the alter of Salon Selectives for my entire high school career!
I wore my jeans pegged with scrunchie socks that matched my oversize sweatshirt with a white turtle neck. My scrunchie in my hair matched my scrunchie socks which in case you forgot matched my oversize sweatshirt. OH YES THEY DID!!!

By the way, I did manage to date in high school and I may have stolen my oversize sweatshirt from him:-)

Posted by: Dee at June 28, 2010 9:59 PM

I've been fond of some odd clothes over the years but I think my worst was a pair of white bike shorts I used to wear n 8th grade. Can't remember what I ever wore with them but I remember the shorts. Eek!

Posted by: Debra at June 28, 2010 10:28 PM

1. Eighth grade: Flaming hot pink neon shirt over black stirrups with Madonna bracelets.

2. High school: using enough Stiff Stuff in my hair to hold my banana clip perfectly in place that when said banana clip was removed from my hair my hair still looked like the clip was still in. My hair started to fall out from the Stiff Stuff

3. Prom - the clips I put on my shoes actually matched the earrings I was wearing. WTH was I thinking?

Please don't make me do anymore....lol.

Posted by: Jean at June 29, 2010 11:11 AM

Hypercolor T-shirts UMBRO shorts and these sneakers:


Posted by: Pocklock at June 29, 2010 3:37 PM

I've seen pictures of me at a family reunion in 1973 wearing white jeans, a blue checked western shirt with "pearl" buttons, a white straw cowboy hat, a belt with a huge buckle and TENNIS SHOES! Needless to say, I was a horse mad teenage girl. However, there was no horses to be found at that family reunion...... I don't think my college years were much better. I wore shorts and a sailor hat for most of my junior year.

Posted by: rcat at June 29, 2010 5:26 PM

I had a matching white coat and pants too, but the coolest part were the pink suspenders with matching pink socks.

Posted by: Brad at June 30, 2010 2:13 PM

It's a pity that silly bandz have replaced Livestrongs. At least they were durable...

Posted by: Michael at July 4, 2010 9:06 PM

i just could not understand the adolescents' thought now

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