My 10 Biggest Fashion Regrets
It’s no secret that my awkward years lasted longer than average and were peppered with photo evidence of more than just the occasional fashion faux pas. Looking back I find the eternal burning question to be whether or not my mother actually liked me. As if my short on one side Molly Ringwald-ish hair that carried a pinkish hue for my entire freshman year as a result of not reading the red Halloween hairspray bottle thoroughly was not enough, insert large tortoise shell glasses. Truth be told I lied about needing the glasses to Dr. George because I thought they would add a quirky flair to my appearance but then my mom made me wear them and I truly could not see. I finally fessed up after a nasty one man bike wreck with the kickstand up. So there was the hair, the glasses and let’s not forget the braces. It took me a while to grow into my teeth. At the time, thankfully, I wasn’t aware of my true level of gawkiness and it wasn’t until finding so many bolo tie pictures that I actually grasped how far I was on the spectrum. So unlike Taylor Swift my 1989 was not a hit but my ignorant bliss made me believe that it was. God does us favors.
More than the outfits, I vividly remember how I felt putting them on and wearing them to school. I felt like a rebel, a trendsetter, a trail blazer, a made for TV movie character. Well, at least until that time I completely tucked my dress into my underwear and obliviously walked the entire length of the senior hallway, certain that the cat calls were about my new boots. But man how I rocked those purple Doc Martins, panties out and all. The heckling and the mean girl comments never got me down enough to want to be bland and uniform or head to toe Belk. I had a young Carrie Bradshaw heart, a Blossom look, a Punky Brewster spirit and I thought Clarrisa had explained it all. As I raise a way cooler than me 16 year old girl who has a keen yet individual sense of style, I find myself wondering will she have any ragrets (not a single letter) about her fashion choices. Will she too be plagued with the memories of wearing her mom’s friend’s mustard colored Michael Jackson jacket to the 8th grade dance? Will she later cringe at the Glamor Shot of her 14 year old self with hair bigger than half a Michelin tire? Will she wonder why I allowed her to wear fingerless gloves to a chorus concert? And me. Will I continue to humor and support her unique sense of self and style much as my mom had, cheering her on every time I walk into Urban Outfitters and come face to face with the crushed velvet wonderland of my youth? The answer is yes. Cringe worthy or not, it was all part of the process of finding my individuality, my footing-, and myself, even if I found her in stirrup pants.
An old dear friend recently told me that I made my dorkiness work for me as I got older. I’m not sure if that’s true because there is a whole lot of dork still in there, I just make better clothing choices now and have much more surety. I say this on the heels of wearing an actual child’s sweater all day, without knowing. I rocked it and I was able to laugh at myself for doing it.
With so many wrongs that felt so right (which also sums up my overall college experience) I have narrowed it down to a few things that maybe in hindsight I shouldn’t have felt so confident in.
1.The paisley Hammer pants that my Mom made me. Paisley and hammer pants in the same sentence are an oxymoron. I should have been legit enough to quit before this happened.
2.A necktie skirt that I made for myself and wore without force. It was my personal fan girl tribute to Mayim Bialik and it got me in the yearbook. This was basically my legacy.
3. A white Tyvek windbreaker before Tyvek was the material of choice for hazardous waste removal suits and crime scene clean up. To sum it up- an indestructible Glad bag with a zipper that held body heat like a sweat lodge.
4. A No Fear T-shirt that said, “No Glove, No Love”. The condom reference was completely lost on me and I was sure it was nod to unification and the Thriller Album.
5. My Mom’s size 9 shoes. It was so convenient. We shared. She encouraged it. My 5’9” stature should logically support a larger sized shoe, right? One would think. 3 years in I discovered that I was actually between a 7 and a 7.5. My gait and posture improved dramatically after that. I think my mom knew all along.
6. An array of tapestry vests. I have to just leave it right there as this could be the most painful to remember.
7. A crocheted Rasta beanie cap that smelled of Patchouli, thankfully, its wear was limited to when I was doing Trick Stick, or Hacky Sack or shopping at Good Will. Affectionately known as my entire sophomore year.
8. Jeans and suspenders worn backwards like a Mac Daddy or Daddy Mac- whichever your preference. Looking back I wish I could have Kris Krossed this one out completely. How did I go to the bathroom?! Ridiculous
9. Bloomers. Yes, like the kind a baby wears; lace elastic leg and everything. I can only imagine that I carried a Baby Bottle Pop as a functional accessory. This one could raise the most questions as I may or may not have recently seen the same bloomers on an Episode of TLC’s Taboo.
10. Bo Bo Keds from Roses. Ya’ll know what I mean because you had them, too. The only true purpose these served was to allow you to write about your crush on the side rubber or bottom; fashionably staking your claim.
I’ve been there, done that, and gotten the Stüssy t-shirt. These are the times that shaped me and these will be the same times that shape my daughter and so many others trying to find their way. It is so important and it may be hard to look at but figuring out your individuality is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Honestly, it took me about 35 years. The second best gift is learning how to laugh loudly at that individual. It sure beats crying.
We’ll talk soon.