Sunday, August 2, 2009

Time Traveler's Wardrobe -- 1995-1996 -- Part 1

There's something I haven't felt quite right about.

You see, sometimes I'm hard on people for the clothes they wear. We all know that the fight against leggings-as-pants is a good fight, and I stand by that fight. But sometimes, sometimes I think about my own wardrobe. And, whilst a leggings-as-pant (legging-as-pants?) is nary to be found, there are probably some other horrible fashion items.

"So easy, little blogger, to criticize us while you remain invisible," those wearing leggings-as-pants might say. "And you're probably ugly and fat." (Because we all know that when a woman gets hate mail, it mentions her looks and/or her size.)

So I decided to venture back, long long ago, to a magical time. Some people called it "The Nineties." My friends, the years we will visit spanned 1995-1996. Your faithful blogger was 13 and in the 8th grade. Do notice, however, that I haven't asked anyone's permission to take this wonderful journey -- so I have tried to crop and black out faces of others to protect them from themselves. I tell this to you only so you don't fear that some of my friends and classmates have a horrible "black box" disease.

Surely we will find some horrible clothing in this beautiful time. A time called adolescence. Let's start at the end of the year, shall we? Graduation.

Oh, 8th grade graduation is a glorious time!


Girl, it's pink and has buttons. How can we go wrong?!

Oh yes. Oh yes. I see the problem.

This whole photograph was recently posted on my friend Courtney's facebook page. I have kindly cropped Courtney out of the photo. One of the comments reads: "Stace, you really should bring back the shoulder pads. Totally hot. It really does scream 'I am a woman going places!!' Of course, that place was high school. But still..."

So, ok, obvious shoulder pads. Sleeves when most girls went sleeveless. But still -- this dress isn't too bad. Appropriate for a church graduation (we even had to put an extra button where the neck plunged lower than it should have). Authoritative. I had white stockings on. I was a 13-year-old business woman. I am not embarrassed by this dress. I don't think I look half bad! Point one for me over the girls in leggings-as-pants. I wasn't even old enough to know better (you, ladies in your leggings-as-pants, are old enough to know better).

Exhibit 2: The Final Dance

Oh Lord, what angst! The FINAL dance of our middle school lives!


Forget the fact that I look WRETCHED in this picture. (And that Jennifer has black box disease.) I am sure I was telling the picture taker something about my film camera. Yes, kids, FILM. Can you imagine? I would go to a dance and only be able to take 24 pictures. And then I would have to get them DEVELOPED. Which could take DAYS.

But the outfit! The outfit.

This shirt is SASSY. This is the sassiest shirt I owned. It had a bajillion of tiny buttons down the front. But you didn't button the buttons! You just put the shirt on over your head. How awesome. But look at that plunge, people. J.Lo got it from ME.

I can imagine that my mom breathed a sigh of relief when I started wearing this shirt around. I looked almost normal! You'll see what she had to deal with here, soon.

I will note that this picture was a photo of everyone I ate lunch with. We had the best lunch table. Some of the BOYS even sat with us. We were rockin.

Exhibit 3: Camp Joy -- 8th Grade Trip

Some schools did cool things like go to Washington DC or Space Camp for class trips. We went to camp. In the snow. And, actually, it was a blast.

I have two pictures from this lovely trip. The one above is a wardrobe disaster of epic proportions. Hot pink and black warm-up pants. A white sweatshirt with a, get this, MAROON logo. And a Charlotte Hornets sock hat, which was purple and teal (the Hornets were the thing back then, by the way. And, no, I didn't live in North Carolina. Why do you ask?).

In my defense of this outfit, we were camping and I was currently pushing someone's butt through a tire. You can't dress up for that. We were team building or something. It was an obstacle course. It was freezing. We were dressed in layers to keep us warm.

Unfortunately, I'm on a bus here. I don't have a need to keep warm. I apparently have a need to wear a backward baseball cap (and, don't worry, it's ALSO a Hornets hat. I think I once stole it from one of the boys and never gave it back. Go me!). The sweatshirt I am wearing is awesome. I think it was my mom's when she was playing volleyball in college. It has a V-neck and a COLLAR. It also has an arm band detail on one arm. I wore the heck out of that thing. I have no excuses for wearing this style in 1996. I probably wore it longer than that. I will tell you that I look about 100 x better than Jennifer does next to me. But I'm nice and I cropped her out (she was incredibly tired).

So far, so good, right? I mean, can camping clothes really count? I imagine they probably do, and if so, I failed that test. However, I still maintain that so far, I'm not doing too bad.

Exhibit 4: Where things start to go, perhaps, downhill

At first, this is an innocuous picture. I am wearing a white shirt. I actually look relatively trim, for me. But what lurks under the surface may frighten. I have taken the liberty to pointing it out.


Do you see it? Tied around my waist was my FAVORITE FLANNEL EVER. EVER. And, frankly, it's frightening that I had enough flannel shirts to have a favorite one. Kurt Cobain died in 1994, but his legacy lived on in Catholic school girls in northern Kentucky.

This picture was taken at a dance, and I will have to find another picture. With the flannel ON. Also, I am wearing what looks to be a simple necklace in this picture. However, it's not my necklace. I stole it from a 7th grade boy. My necklace, if I recall correctly, was huge and from Chuck E. Cheese. I may also have been wearing a beret. It's a decent into madness, I tell you.

Because that's where this all gets interesting. In the flannels. And crazy hats. And stage make up and bell bottoms (oh, the 8th grade play). A boy I "dated" and I had virtually the same haircut at one point in time. 1995-1996 was a tumultuous year for me in terms of fashion. This post only eases into the mayhem. I will have to hunt for more pictures (these were relatively handy, in a box on top of the boxes) and get back with the true representation of moment in flannel.

So, see, ladies in leggings? I am no longer the invisible criticizer. I am bearing to the world my fashion mistakes. I am rising to the challenge of proving that while I do not live a life without fashion disaster, I have overcome. For example, I do not currently wear flannel. Well, to be honest, my pajama pants that I'm currently wearing have a flannel plaid pattern. BUT! I can recognize the bad. That means, dear leggings-as-pants wearers, I can recognize the bad on you.

I know this post only gives you readers a fever with the only cure being more flannel. And I will deliver. Oh yes, I will deliver.


Amaris in Wonderland said...

May i say that i yearn for our U.S. fashion codes? I live in Brazil, the land of all things lycra (spandex) & leggings-as-pants.

...and worse:
There's an epidemic of visible panty lines, at. all. times. (under the form-fitting lycra, or form-fitting whatever, no less.)

Also affecting this population's fashion senses are black or embellished bras with white shirts, that can't be missed - even in "professional" environments. I really could do without knowing Woman X's preference for flowers, or polka dots or lacey choices in lingerie... so could my husband.

…and last, but not the least horrifying:
Shirts that show one's midriff are also considered work attire. Yes, it's true - and rampant.

Just know that you are much better off there, with the occasional leggings-as-pants wearer, as it could be much, much worse.

Tracy said...

My favorite is the one on the bus. That's all I have to say about that.

Thomas said...

Is it me or are you flashing gang signs in one of those pictures?

Courtney said...

I think you looked fabulous!!!! I must say, we did have the most awesome lunch table in the 8th grade!!!! I totally agree with you on the leggings-as-pants thing(eventhough I am guilty of doing it a long, long time ago).

Megan said...

I read this at work and had to stifle my laughter! These pics are awesome but I am afraid that our wardrobe offenses did not end in 1996. I'm pretty sure I didn't have a real style until we graduated from college . . . that's a lot of years in bad clothes!

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