Metatalktail Hour: Fashion Police September 14, 2019 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, I want to hear about your most regrettable youthful fashion decision! Or, heck, it could be from last week. Just whatever time you were like, "Oooooh, this is a cool trend, I want in on it ... oh, nope, nope, I was very very wrong."

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, and you should tell us everything that's up with you! And send me ideas for future weeks!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:36 PM (125 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

In the 90s in middle school I had a pair of almost-bellbottom jeans with rainbow stripes down the sides (from Limited 2, iirc) that I loved. Of course, the second one of my bullies got onto the bus they laughed and called me gay, insulted my "[slur of choice] jeans" and this continued even though I stopped wearing these awesome pants and grew out of them pretty fast.

Of course today I am a big ol' bisexual queer (and of course it turns out none of my friends from then through highschool are straight) and damn, I wish I could find rainbow striped jeans in my size. Will have to DIY a pair eventually.
posted by Mizu at 5:49 PM on September 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

Much of the fashion I just wore and lived in from my youth makes me groan, especially the 90s (which much to my chagrin is back in style). Exhibit A from my childhood. Exhibit B from my teenage years.
posted by Fizz at 6:04 PM on September 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

This unflattering oversize stripey clown shirt

Combining lime green and purple

This was not as scandalous as it looks (I will go ahead and clutch my pearls so that you don't have to)
posted by nightrecordings at 6:08 PM on September 14, 2019 [12 favorites]

Ah, nineties fashion. I had the whole long dirty half-dreadlocked with a shaved undercut skater hairdo for an embarrassing (longer than a few minutes) amount of time. Before I ever met an anarchist crust punk, my fashion choices pretty much waffled between hippy and hesher with a side of awkward.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:13 PM on September 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

You know, the funny thing is that I don't really regret any of my clothes. I had limited choices as a fat kid in the eighties and nineties, and my clothes didn't always look great, but I feel that I fairly consistently made the best choices based on what was available to me.

I guess I'd say that I do regret the time in my twenties that I spent trying to look feminine and straight - not so much for the clothes themselves, which were perfectly nice and have for the most part been rehomed with a relative, but because they suited me so badly. I am intrinsically a stocky, androgynous person with wide shoulders and genuinely giant bones and I just...look bad in anything that is cut with the aim of looking delicate and feminine. The contrast between it and me is, well, it's like an elephant in a tutu. Nothing wrong with elephants or tutus, but the elephant isn't flattered by one.

I add that in the nineties I had some great clothes - striped tights, some really nice platform mary janes with a giant button at the ankle, a bunch of big dresses with high waists that, because they had no real shape, didn't look ridiculous on me, a really pretty good straight black skirt that I used to wear with a giant black turtleneck, this funny Wednesday Adams a-line dress with a white collar...lots of fatigue pants and band tees and vintage cardigans, Doctor Martens when they were still good quality, a bunch of tee shirts I stenciled myself. Good times. Of all the clothes I will never regret, I particularly never regret my nineties ones.
posted by Frowner at 6:24 PM on September 14, 2019 [17 favorites]

In middle school in the 1970s, when I was definitely not one of the cool kids, I had forest green corduroy elephant bellbottom pants (that is, super exaggerated bells) in which the wales made a plaid design rather than just straight up and down. I'm pretty sure I wore this with either a striped rugby shirt or my smiley-face shirt. And Wallabees--soft suede desert boots. Imagine this with my feathered shag hairdo and my very large and unattractive new prescription glasses so that I could read my viola music. The cool kids would have been wearing Levi's corduroys in one of the acceptable colors, and rugby stripes, again, in the acceptable colors, which were a mystery to me. My corduroy pants, in hindsight, were objectively way cooler, but I was most definitely not.

By the time I was in college in the early 80s, my mom borrowed some of my clothing for a Halloween party at work. She went as me in my Madonna phase. Ugh.

By the mid 80s, I had a very brief period of time where I was cool, and someone in Seattle recognized me as being someone she had seen at a nightclub in Phoenix a year or so earlier, where my friend and I had gone one night because the scene in Tucson was so boring!
posted by QuakerMel at 6:48 PM on September 14, 2019 [12 favorites]

I don't look like you do. I'm overweight and old but still muscly. I have huge thighs and calves, arms, and I have a lot of hair. For maybe three decades I've let myself be hairy. I have a long ponytail and a long beard. Braided my ponytail is usually about two or three feet long, in my ass crack when not braided, and my beard is about a foot and a half long, and maybe eight inches long when I braid it. Hairy chest, arms, ass and legs. I used to be considered handsome, now I'm just odd. Like an old gypsy Viking warrior who can still move a hutch all by himself.

But what kills me about it is that I get away with it. I have one of those creative jobs where it might be okay to be odd, but even there I stand out. And I use my oddness as a filter. If my appearance creates doubt in you, we aren't going to be productive together. If you can't get over my presence, this isn't going to work.

And I have to admit I dress odd too. I stand out among my peers, not for being flamboyant, but for being banal. They're all in fancy suits and ties and dresses and I'm in flannel and jeans and boots. Sure, if I know it's important I'll throw on a jacket and maybe clean new boots, but the jeans aren't really negotiable. Though I will consider a cotton shirt if flannel would attract too much attention.

A friend once told me that I had a style which was to not have style and then to take that to the end of the road. I only agree with that first part. I'm not trying to have a style which is then mistaken for a style. And I don't like to shave or get hair cuts. I like clothes that can work. To me, it seems less like a style than an idiosyncratic default. My style is I don't care what you think. This works for me.

Oh, and a quick thing about men with long thick hair. My ponytail is not a reign. You can't touch it without asking, nor can you pull it, even as a joke. I'm not your toy. Same's true with the beard. Pulling it will not get you a twinkling wink and what you want for Christmas. If you want to touch my hair, at least buy me a drink first.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

I am a fashion dolt. In middle school and high school I was a dungarees and t-shirt guy but no one would know it because I left my puffy jacket on 9 months a year. When I got to UVa, I became a button down and khakis guy and have been that ever since. I still wear my black high top Chuck Taylor's. At lease now in the summer I wear a polo shirt unless I am wearing one of my vintage concert t-shirts or my collection of t-shirts from bars and restaurants I have been to across the country. My kids tease me that every 25 years or so my wardrobe is back in fashion. My gf teases me that the only designer I know is Carhartt or some South American named Patagonia.

My suits are all conservative shades of grey or navy from either J. Press or the brother's Brooks. The big scandal in my house was when I wore a collared shirt that was not buttoned down. I was given some really nice collar stays and cuff links as a groomsman gift and felt like I had to use them at least once. As for clothes on my feet, I still have the same pair of wingtips, black natch, I got back circa 1985. I have a pair of Timbs I wear in winter that I have also had for a good 30 years. Also the aforementioned black high tops Converse. I rarely ever wear socks even in the winter. Even when I skate and play hockey, I am without socks.

My kids refuse to buy me clothes as gifts because my wardrobe is so limited and I have multiples of everything I have and want.

I have a large collection of ties, but I wear probably only 3 or 4 of them though. I do believe in lucky ties and lucky t-shirts.

My elementary school wardrobe can be summed up in one word, Danskins. My brothers never let me forget it over 4 decades later. I blame my mother rest her soul.

Oh, I am so clueless that it was only a few years ago I learned that dungarees are now called jeans. I also have a large collection of college sweatshirts. My friends know this and all get me ones when they go visit colleges.
posted by AugustWest at 7:03 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've never really understood how other people see me, so uh, fashion has been a lifelong challenge. Pretty much my entire wardrobe from around 1996-2008 was just an awful mistake. Fleece pants featured regularly. Then, in my teen years, I had a couple friends who always liked to pick out clothes for me, and I went along with it because I figured I didn't know what was good for me. In retrospect, I could never have pulled off that look. Picture what what some hunky guy would wear, but as worn by an incredibly skinny nerd. My boot-cut jeans always looked baggy. My shirts were either too loose, or they were too short at the midriff and bunched up at the armpit. If I wore long sleeves, they hung loosely around my stringbean arms. It really wasn't until I started buying skinny jeans in my 20s that I started feeling more comfortable with how I dressed, and even then people were like "you look like a hipster" and stuff.

As I get older, I look more and more like a punk/metalhead/hesher, which means I am arguably committing fashion crimes on a daily basis. Since I've been in Maryland I've really leaned into the "unemployed uncle" look, wearing mostly all black with a baseball hat, glasses, and long hair tucked behind my ears. My family has told me on multiple occasions that I look like a weirdo. No way, they just don't understand what's cool! I was very proud this summer when my nephew, age 3, said he wanted a pair of cutoff shorts like his uncle. Hell yeah! Someone gets it.

I'll say this much: I'm much happier committing my own fashion crimes than trying to dress how other people think I should.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:05 PM on September 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

I'm sad I lost my first driver's license, from back in the laminated card era. It had the following fashion features:

Hairstyle: Mullet
Glasses: Jeffrey Dahmer-looking wire frames
Jacket: Black suede
T-Shirt: Pantera

The people at the local Ministry of Transportation office were loosey-goosey enough with the framing of the photo that you could see the pot leaf on Dime Bag Darrell's hat in the picture of the band on the front of the t-shirt if you looked closely.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:14 PM on September 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

Oh yeah, and I forgot I had long hair when I was like 11-12. I was friends with the skater kids, and they all had long hair, so I grew mine out too. That year for Halloween, me and two of my long-haired friends decided to borrow clothes from our older sisters and go trick-or-treating as girls. Still one of my favorite Halloweens, because frequently when we came to the door, the person would ask "where are your costumes?" And in our little squeaky voices we'd say "we're boys!"
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:23 PM on September 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

The worst of it was sixth grade, which I think is the worst of it for a lot of people.

Dressing an awkward proto-adult body is a challenge to begin with, with its uneasy lines and graceless movement. And dressing that body in whatever odd clothes my grandmother had found on clearance from weird local stores in rural tennessee just made it worse. There was a button-up blouse that from far away looked like a blue and white striped referee shirt dotted with enormous peach cabbage roses, but in close view was actually a nonstop pattern of cartoonish peach-faced men with nonsensical expressions who were wearing blue and white striped shirts of their own. There was a tye-dyed opera pink crop top that proudly declared in puffy paint that I was BORN IN THE USA. There was a pristine white jean knee-length skirt with matching jacket that started out a size too small and ended up getting smaller every time I wore them. There were my mother's cast-off skirts and tops, representing a surprising amount of jungle fern prints and easter colors. There were buff pink leather converse hi-top knockoffs with (I swear to baby jesus) sparkly pink lamé trim and pink soles, which I wore at my mother's insistence when my grandmother visited, instead of my beloved worn-out eastlands with the corkscrew laces, the ones that stained my socks orange but were just like the other girls'. Quizzical looks ensued.

And yet the worst of these was The Hairstyle. My hair was long and thick, and my experimental mother loved to play with it. Heidi braids, ponytails, rudimentary french braids, those braided barrettes with the dangling ribbons. One awful morning, she sent me out the door with a top-fastened ponytail that was wrapped in its own braid. At homeroom, my trusted friends started humming the I Dream of Jeannie theme song. By fourth period, it was everyone in the hallway. Humiliated, I took it down during lunchtime, only to discover that my hair was now a bizarre straight, bumpy, braid-crimped, and lopsided assemblage that was even worse than the original ponytail. I ended up dunking my head underwater and spending the rest of my lunchtime trying to dry the lot of it with brown paper towels. It was... It was bad.

I loved almost everything I wore ever since! I gravitated to denim shorts year round with colored tights and sweaters. In high school I wore endless pairs of chinese cloth mary janes from the import store downtown, with shorts and tights, or else long underwear, and steal my dad's flannel shirts. It was the grunge era and I embraced it! And I loved to sew, so I'd sew these lumpy dresses out of cheap floral calico and I probably looked like I'd wandered out of a Faulkner novel, but I was happy. I made my own graduation dress, off the shoulder, sky blue, a proper sundress that I'm still proud of. In college I bought a men's gray pullover sweater and wore it for four years, until the sleeves were unraveled and in tatters and needed load-bearing safety pins to hold it together (which is a pretty good metaphor for my general being back then).

In other news, my planned month of reduced screen time has utterly failed. I've been sick and cranky and the screens... well, they are so temporarily soothing. The other night I watched Netflix's The I-Land in its entirety in a single night while waiting for meds to kick in and it was so utterly, wholly, inexcusably awful -- and so freshly awful with each unnecessary new mystery unfolding -- that I couldn't look away.
posted by mochapickle at 7:36 PM on September 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

Look, I'm not *sorry* about this, but I recognize it was A Choice that I made in 1989: emerald green lamé prom dress. Off the shoulders, 3/4 sleeve, above the knee flare skirt. Made by my mother. Frankly, it was glorious and it looked amazing with my spiral perm.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:37 PM on September 14, 2019 [21 favorites]

I remember in sixth grade I had a pair of white keds and of black keds, so for whatever reason I went to school in white shorts, a black shirt, one white shoe with a black sock, one black shoe with a white sock, a black-strapped watch on one wrist, a white bracelet on the other, and one black and one white barrette.

Honestly I still think it was pretty awesome. (The only way it could have been awesomer is if I had them do my braces bands in black and white!)

My worst fashion error was getting bangs that same year, because everyone else had them and I desperately wanted them, and my mom has very straight hair so wasn't knowledgable about curly hair, and unfortunately mine looked NOTHING like any of my friends' because they all had straight hair and mine were curling in all directions, and I discovered after about two days that I was absolutely not going to fuck around with a curling iron before school even at that age, which was absolutely required for my bangs to work at all. (And even then, they'd only behave until lunch.) I'm still a ponytail-and-go kind of person. At least I learned relatively young, and at a time when EVERYONE is awkward, that maintenance-requiring hair would not work for me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:56 PM on September 14, 2019 [11 favorites]

I made many tragic fashion decisions as a teen. Some, like the wool cloak and the marching-band jacket, I will stand by. But what I particularly regret is how much trouble I took to try to get Princess Leia's hair. Not the buns, of course--that was too costumey-- but the crown braid she wears in ROTJ.

There were no Youtube tutorials then, so I had to extrapolate as to how that worked. I put my wet hair in a ponytail on one side, tied it near the ear, then braided it and tied the end of the braid. I put this braid across the top of my head, pinning it in place. It was truly a style that said I GOT DRESSED ALL BY MYSELF THIS MORNING.

One time in college, I found a pair of pinstriped suit pants in the dorm "free box." I wore those things all the time, usually with a MST3K T-shirt. It was an extremely academic college, so "dressing to impress" meant out-nerding all and sundry. And I did that. Oh, I did.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

I spent pretty much my entire teenage years and the following decade wearing chunky hand knitted pullovers, which were maybe in fashion for about five minutes of that time. I refuse to feel guilty about this though, because they were warm and cosy and mostly made for me by people who loved me. (Or else from thrift shops and very cheap).

The two crimes I actually regret are the years during which I obsessively wore a beret, because I thought it made me seem mysteriously European, and the year or so when I wore this cardigan, which I loved. My best friend eventually held an intervention and convinced me I looked like I was wearing an old carpet, which I see now is very true.

Also, it's amazing what it did to my figure, which as you can see in this photo (also evidence of disturbing fashion crimes) was actually tall and slim. Yet Carpet Cardigan, together with the gathered-waist jeans, managed to hide that completely.
posted by lollusc at 8:32 PM on September 14, 2019 [8 favorites]

Oh and the years of crimped hair and a feathered fringe were pretty horrifying in retrospect, especially when combined with neon shorts and a batman t-shirt, as it so often was. But in my defence I was like 12 and everyone else looks like that in the photos from that time too.
posted by lollusc at 8:38 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I went to Catholic schools -12 years. That's a lot of plaid. Pleated wool skirt and vest, white shirt, knee socks. In high school, I got saddle shoes though they were not at all in style, wore them all year; they were comfortable, and I loved them. I have 2 old sisters, and wore almost all hand-me-downs. I think that's why I'm happy with thrift store clothes. I even used to wear the wool pants from a suit of my brother's, so well made and practical.

In high school I got a pair of red and white striped Levis, thin stripes, bell bottoms. Wore them to many protests and coffee houses, they were the best. Lots of Indian and Mexican hippy tops. Those Indian sandals with very tiny leather braids that were ubiquitous for 5 years, then gone.

It's quite chilly and wet in Maine, so I'm wearing olive drab jeans and a great black fine gauge cotton turtleneck I just got from a thrift shop, and realizing I have never not had a black turtleneck in my wardrobe since I bought my own clothes.
posted by theora55 at 8:44 PM on September 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

Lollusc, I'm a beret-wearer from way back; my brother used to call me Tanya.
posted by theora55 at 8:44 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Behold this photo of me, my brother, and several of our cousins circa 1994 for a good summary of fashion crimes of the era. I’m on the far right bottom row, and my dress looks two sizes two big for me as well as having about three too many competing floral prints. On the up side, I clearly give no fucks at all.

I grew up to be an adult who unironically wears a fanny pack printed with unicorns barfing rainbows and carries a dinosaur print wallet, so whether I learned anything at all is questionable.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:47 PM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Goth pants. Goth suspenders. Doc martins. I ditched the goth wear and kept the docs.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:52 PM on September 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

I was reminded recently of the time I wore a "Little House on the Prairie"-style calico dress to school in the 5th grade, and of course got myself made fun of. I was a strange little cosplayer who never figured out that wearing weird shit to school was one of many reasons I didn’t fit in. My grandmother had the calico dress with matching bonnet made for me by a seamstress friend of hers, and I wore it to school with my hair in Nellie Olson curls. There were other outfits as well. One time my great-aunt gave me a box of old hand-me-down clothes from her grown daughter, and I was in HEAVEN going through those out-of-style clothes. One blue and white dress in particular had a lace-up bodice and a full skirt, and I thought it looked like the girl on the cover of the book “Heidi”. I wore it to school with knee socks and a pair of ruffled petti-pants that I also found in the box. There was a brown sleeveless shift dress in there that I sewed fringe and beads on to make an Indian maiden outfit (I know.). Did I wear THAT to school? Why hell yes I did.

If you are imagining that I had some cool arty sense of style that would have allowed me to pull off any of these outfits, you are imagining wrong. My fifth-grade teacher was a dear lady who felt bad for my social struggles and tried her best to help. One day she had a talk with me about how dressing like normal children might help me fit in better and not get teased so much. She said to maybe think of one of the other girls whose style I liked, and try to emulate the way that person dressed. So I thought a minute and said “Jill _____.” The teacher was taken aback. A little too lofty a role model, apparently. “Oh uh… well Jill’s a very classy girl! I’ve never seen her wear the same thing twice!”

So it’s not that I didn’t understand what a real, actual sense of contemporary style looked like, apparently it just never occurred to me how it might apply to me. Dork on, little Empress.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:56 PM on September 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

Goth suspenders

Wait, what? I was never a goth (too scared to fully embrace my darkness, or too eclectic in my musical tastes to stick to any one fashion, I'm not sure), but suspenders sound more like a rude boy ska thing than goth to me.

In high school: shoulder length hair, which I just pulled back in a ponytail. Not a particularly flattering or fashionable look, particularly as my hair gets a bit wavy as it gets longer.

In college: chin-length hair + goat beard. Not a well-groomed goatee, but a full-on billy goat beard. Not sure what my plan was there.

As an adult in an office setting, but where I also interact with more casual dressing colleagues in my office and in other agencies, I got a lot of plaid shirts. Only within the last few years did I realize that there are a ton of interesting print options, from interesting to whimsical, and I've been getting rid of my more dull plaids. Missed opportunity: buying a bacon and eggs shirt (not an exact match -- I think the images were smaller and the pattern more dense, but I could be mistaken).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:10 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Not even gonna touch the fashion one; those issues need to stay way down and not emerge to require conquering all over again, though I'm enjoying other people's takes.
So in the last two weeks I've offered myself as a volunteer at five school(-adjacent) type places; so far my record is two Yes, please start next weeks, one No thanks, and two Come for an interview next weeks. Please hold your thumbs for me, especially on Friday. Details to follow eventually when the final status is clear.
The actual work-for-pay side seems to be going okay, knock wood; I've been translating/checking a lot of academic papers, which I really like because I get to learn about all these things I would never have come across otherwise.
I really, really need to learn to flip off the obsessive-worry switch; it doesn't stop them from doing things but it sure as hell makes me more unhappy while I'm doing them.
Best to all.
posted by huimangm at 9:31 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

but suspenders sound more like a rude boy ska thing than goth to me.

Was I goth? Was I punk? Was I a rude boy (yes)? I certainly didn't know then or now! I mean, even today I wear to much plaid and too much boots, but at this stage I just think that makes me queer. (also now I want suspenders.)
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

I don't blame myself for any of the weird stuff I wore back then because there wasn't anything better for sake. It was a dark time for us all.
However it was recently my aunts birthday and I remembered how I wore this Aeropostale T-shirt to her 50th birthday 20 years ago that was extremely inappropriate that I was too innocent to realize at that time. I mean I had some inkling of it but I didn't agree.
posted by bleep at 9:47 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

*for sale not for sake
posted by bleep at 9:55 PM on September 14, 2019

At some point around high school in a thrift store I discovered the greatest clothing item ever created: overalls. I loved wearing overalls and was only limited by the fact that it was surprisingly hard to find ones that fit a 5 ft nothing lady. I was always on the hunt though, I had a few denim pairs, and a black velvet one that I only wore on special occasions. I would pair these with whatever the hell I felt like that day, although I had a crop top that said CANADA which I felt went especially well with the denim ones.

Looking back there is no way these were good fashion choices but I felt great, was happy with how I looked, had giant pockets, and a strap for hanging tools!
posted by lepus at 9:56 PM on September 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

Despite Metafilters' and the rest of the internet's scorn, I have been wearing fedoras and trilbies for longer than I've been a user on this site, and I have yet to turn into a libertarian or a Nice Guy TM or anything like that! They're nice for keeping sun out of your eyes and rain off your glasses if you look like a funking idgit in a baseball cap, as I do.

I don't find this regrettable but I know MeFites as a culture do. Sorry not sorry.
posted by Caduceus at 10:29 PM on September 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

The JNCO jeans I owned in the late 90s may have looked ridiculous but they were super comfy. And the pockets! Pockets for miles!
posted by Ruki at 10:53 PM on September 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Ooh, I just remembered I tried to wear sandals as actual footgear for a bit, back in Colorado Springs in the late 90s. Stubbed the shit out of my toe on a broken bit of sidewalk and resolved never to touch the things ever again. Like I know sandals probably make sense in some situations, but I'm never in those situations. Everywhere I go is either rural and spiky/rocky or urban and potentially pukey/needley.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:59 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Almost everything I've ever worn in my life has been regrettable. My shoulders are huge as are my hips and I have no waist. Anything cute or stylish looks ill fitting and frumpy on me.

I lived with an Indian family for a few weeks one summer in high school and the mother loved dressing me in saris. That was almost the only time I looked good in my clothes. But, living in Texas, I couldn't keep wearing saris when I went back to school. (although I continued to wear the tilak painted between my eyes for several months)

I tried wearing trendy clothes, but in the age of Twiggy, I always looked stuffed into clothes that were, at the same time, too big in some areas and way too tight in others. These days I'm still appallingly dressed in oversize food co-op or metal band t shirts with big loose black shorts.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:20 PM on September 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Caduceus: have been wearing fedoras and trilbies for longer than I've been a user on this site

I think that is fine, as long as you know the difference. Hat nomenclature matters!
I love men's hats... I own a trilby or two, a homburg (by Borsalino no less!), a cheap fake panama, and a bowler hat with cat ears. I've recently build LEDs into my panama in such a way that nothing shows from the outside as long as they're off. Hats are fun!

How's this for regrettable, though... when I was 14, I owned a tribly made from white fabric. Apparently it was the kind that butchers wear or used to wear (I don't eat meat, what do I know). And somehow, I got the idea to paint the thing black on the left side, neon yellow on the right, and to make the band neon pink. It must have been an instant headache inducer. Some teachers objected, and I can now see why...
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:16 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh! I forgot my most notable accomplishment of this week: running a paperback book through the laundry machine along with my clothes. Fortunately the book was an easily replaceable one, the clothes were not ruined, and the dryer did not explode; also, I now know what to do the next time I need to dispose of sensitive (heh) information. Nearly a nasty accident...
posted by huimangm at 1:58 AM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Without a moment’s hesitation my greatest fashion misfire was blue eyeshadow, worn from 12-14 years old. Double denim: bell-bottomed hip huggers + vest.

Sigh. I’m Filipina. I actually look dreadful in blue.
posted by lemon_icing at 2:49 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

This thread is making me remember a fashion-related conversation with one of my next-door neighbors, from when I was living in the dorms at college. Let's call her K. I didn't know her when I moved in next door, but it turned out we had the same major and we both happened to be in the same seminar that semester. She had an outgoing personality (I'm more of an introvert) and would often say hi, and sometimes we'd just run into each other outside our doors in the hall and start talking, and talking. While we had some things in common, she had very different other hobbies and interests -- she was a dancer and an athlete, for instance (her time management was very impressive). She was super easy to talk to. In retrospect it was because she was always so positive and supportive.

Before I get to the particular conversation -- to give some more background (this is relevant, I swear), I rarely pay attention to what's fashionable, especially for myself. I have my own likes and, with the exception of some very uncomfortable years during junior high, I didn't really think much about what was cool to wear, or how to fit in via the clothes I wore. By the time I got to high school and definitely college, I cared less, probably because the people I hung out with didn't make fashion a big deal.

Anyway - back to the dorms. One day K and I are talking, and somehow the topic lands on clothes and fashion and style. And I can tell that it's something she pays attention to, and she's much more knowledgeable in the topic, and I'm feeling awkward because I'm out of my depth.

At some point I say something like, "Yeah, being up on fashion and style isn't really my thing, as I'm sure you can see..." and indicate my boring clothes. I don't know what I expected her to say -- maybe I was expecting her to laugh with me and say "That's okay, not everyone can be good at everything" or... I don't know.

Instead, her eyes light up and she says something like, "Hey, but you have your own style, you know? And that's cool!"

And maybe she was just being nice, but the way she said it...I couldn't help but believe her.

For a really long time in my life, I'd just thought "Yeah, I'm terrible with fashion. It's so terrible that it's funny, haha" but here's K, someone I respected, someone I thought was cool herself, and she's basically telling me to be proud of doing my own thing, even if it's different, even for fashion. That I shouldn't feel bad or ashamed of what I liked to wear.

It's the first time anyone's ever said this to me specifically about *clothes* and I remember just being stunned. I literally had to take a moment and think about what she said.

I have no idea now what I did say in response. We probably moved on to something else in the conversation, and the topic never came up again. But that thing she said then -- it has stayed with me for decades.

We were only neighbors for a semester, but she was the best neighbor I had, and I learned a lot from her. Thanks, K.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:14 AM on September 15, 2019 [28 favorites]

Oh, the 1980's, most of it.

- Sweater dresses, so many ugly sweater dresses (along with the big hair);
- Hot pink shorts, bathing suits, neon blue, etc. (possibly early '90's);
- Jumpsuits. Silky jumpsuits, with capri-length pants on the bottom. Also with shoulder pads. A white tank top jumpsuit, the bottoms were harem style capri-length pants. I thought it was super cool, even wore it to work on casual Friday, with a shirt underneath, and 2" pumps. I got in trouble, because one of the older secretaries saw me and complained to my boss. Everyone was out that day in my unit, and I was doing some physical work, packing giant dot matrix reports into boxes for shipment, but no, this lady saw me dressed "inappropriately" and made it a point to complain about me. Talk about the fashion police! Pantyhose was a requirement of many dress codes back then;
- Asymmetrical haircut. Short curly hair, longer on one side than the other. When I got sick of that, I had to get the long side cut short and it took forever to grow my hair out again;
- Leopard print stretchy dress, also with shoulder pads. Uh...;
- Pumps to match every outfit. Navy blue, tan, grey, white, black, you name it, I had pumps to go with every dress I wore to work;
- Acid washed jeans, ugh;

And in the 1970's:

- Three piece salmon colored polyester suit, which I begged my Mom to buy for my 8th grade Washington, D. C. trip. Silky shirt with complementary colors. Of course the pants had bell bottoms;
- Grannie square vest, crocheted by one of my actual grannies. I wore it once, but thought it was going out of style. Now I wish I'd saved it!
- White crocheted shawl, made by a friend of one of my grandmothers. It was made in the shape of a circle, with lots of 4" fringe, and two arm holes. You fold it over and put your arms through, and have a double-layered shawl. I still have this! Don't ask me why;
- Danskin leggings and silky polyester wrap skirt, and a bodysuit that matched the leggings (burgundy, the skirt was dark teal blue). So many bodysuits. The ones with snaps were popular;
- Lime green culottes shorts, thanks to Mom. She also wore the full-length culottes, or gaucho pants, along with red gabardine slacks, which she'd made herself. Gabardine is a very rough kind of polyester, and is about as comfortable as it sounds. Also: bright red! That was unusual for her, the fabric must have been on sale (?);
- Lace-up boots. Everyone had a pair of these, and they were considered to be very cool. I inherited a pair from my sister and I loved them;
- A beret, which I think I got from my Mom. I thought it was very avant garde;
- A Gunne Sax dress, whoo boy were those popular! I got one to wear to my 8th grade graduation. Kind of like this one, but the sleeves were all lace, no big blue cuffs. I later gave it to my daughter, who'd asked for it. She turned around and sold it on Ebay for $80. Guess it was better than giving her cash, LOL;
- A puka shell necklace. Everyone had one of these, including me;
- Various school dresses, like this plaid one (it was plaid all the way, unlike this one, which has a rather nice pleated skirt);
- Footed pajamas, as a teenager. Ugh.;
- Much like today's Snuggie and Slankets, we had giant polyester-filled comforters, with snaps, that you could snap together and make a snuggie-type covering for yourself, with arm holes and your feet in a sack. I actually loved that thing!
- Baby doll pajamas for the summer, long flannel nightgowns for winter;
- Prairie style dresses and blouses, my Mom made me a homemade skirt and top to wear to my oldest brother's wedding, and I hated that outfit! Because it was homemade and not from a store, and I was certain everyone would know. The skirt was cotton, dark brown or black, with tiny flowers on it, and the top was some sort of silky material (polyester), with balloon/puffy sleeves, and it was some cross between mustard and pumpkin colored (to match some of the flowers) and I felt like an Ugly Duckling wearing that outfit. No doubt, not being able to straighten my curly hair to get wings like Farrah Fawcett, and being forced to wear giant plastic-framed glasses contributed to my feelings. I have a photo somewhere, and it will remain in the box, never to be posted online, along with the magenta poofy-sleeved bridesmaid dress I was forced to purchase to be in my brother's fancy wedding. I even tried getting the dress altered afterward, but it was still the fugliest material in the universe, and I cursed my new SIL for roping me into her dream wedding, when they were offered cash money to elope, that dress is long gone now, as is she;
- Long velour bathrobe. I loved my bathrobe. It was soft and warm, and some sort of ugly brownish copper color. I kept it forever, even bunched it up and slept with it, for years, before finally getting rid of it.

I think probably the sweater dresses and jumpsuits were the cringiest. Everyone was wearing them, but it doesn't make it right!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:34 AM on September 15, 2019 [10 favorites]

Drakkar Noir. Way too much Aqua Net. Acid wash jeans and jacket tuxedo combo. Why?

If I had a time machine I'd love to have a really stern conversation with myself, but being stuck between the 80s and 90s was super awkward and I have doubts that any of my advice would be useful.

Current me probably looks like Professor Snape went mossy forest punk and androgynous lumbersexual, which would have gone over real well in the sunny surbuban hellscape I grew up in. On the other hand I would have had the grunge look nailed down a few years early and my hair would actually be hair instead of a polymerized spiky helmet.

Today's clothes involved a lot of heavy wool for landscaping work party, then after a shower and lunch it was black rayon blend trousers in a flowing sanded/suede fabric (with pockets!), black t-shirt shell (also matte rayon/poly blend) and a long black knit cardigan (also pockets!). Black will stop being my favorite color when they invent something darker.

I do not regret my JNCOs. I had one pair made out of the softest yet toughest brushed denim I've ever seen, and they were a lurid grassy green. You could fit entire 1.5 liter water bottles in any of the 4 pockets with room to spare. They looked fly as fuck with my vintage shell toe Keds peeking out under the cuffs. Those jeans survived getting thrashed by dirty, gritty warehouse floors, desert rocks and sand, climbing fences and getting into all kinds of trouble. It took almost 10 years but I wore those things right out.

My newest favorite item of clothing is a rain cape in a sort of lighter olive/khaki or moss green. Yes, cape. No, not like a floor length ren faire cape (I wish) but a button down waist/wrist length rain cape with arm holes and a collar and huge pockets in the lining and everything. Pair it with my big black packable/crushable sun/rain hat and, well, while I might look ridiculous and more than a little witchy - I can also stand in the rain basically forever. It's just the thing for mushroom hunting and fall weather.
posted by loquacious at 3:48 AM on September 15, 2019 [12 favorites]

Looking at what young women tend to wear now, I feel so lucky to have been through my mid to late teens in the early 90s, when grunge held sway. Now it seems compulsory to look as sexy and attractive as possible, wear close-fitting clothes and immaculate make-up and generally be well-groomed the entire time. We felt it went without saying that whatever you bought, you bought in the largest size possible without it actually falling off you. Baggy bleached jeans worn ‘til they were full of holes, huge T-shirts and sweaters. Androgynous and non-sexualised unless we chose otherwise.

So looking back, it all looks very 90s and dated, but I loved it then as a non-girly tomboy by nature, and I feel so lucky I got the chance to enjoy my younger years wearing comfy clothes, no make-up and being a bit of a scruff.

My pride and joy were the khaki Converse I bought in Seattle in 1993. As a British 19-year-old Greyhounding round the US, I’d been wearing knock-off Birks all round the southern states and finally in Seattle my feet got cold and I had to invest in something new. To own grungy Converse from the very home of grunge just felt like the coolest thing EVER. I must have been gazing at them in adoration because I remember queuing for the Space Needle and a woman behind me saying sweetly “Are they new?” And I admitted they were. “Well they’re very nice,” she said in a motherly fashion.

I wore them right through Uni and still have them, even more grungy now with their cigarette burns and worn-through soles, more hole than shoe. They’re barely wearable but about once a year I put them on around the house to remind me I was cool enough to own grunge-coloured Cons from 90s Seattle.
posted by penguin pie at 3:53 AM on September 15, 2019 [17 favorites]

My main fashion faux-pas at the moment would be that I hate having to deal with my hair. So I just buzz-cut it off and let it grow until it gets long enough to start the waves that need to be taken care of. Then I just shave it all off and start again. I've practically worn nothing but jeans and T-shirts and slip-on Converse style shoes for the past 20 years or so. Except for the occasional polo or button-down, but all those are vendor SWAG from conferences and such.

The one time my fashion got me into a bit of trouble was back in college around '90. I dressed up for Halloween and went to work just waiting for the afternoon party and contest. I went out skateboarding across campus in and out of offices fixing peoples computers and such.

Dressed as Dr. Frank N. Furter. Heels, fishnets, garter belt, panties, teddy/corset/whatever you call it, hair all gelled back, eyes made up, bright red lipstick.

I won "The She-ist" prize, annoyed a higher-up because... a) he was an occasional cross-dresser and was used to wining the competition... and b) it came down the chain that although I was as student and the school was rather decent on the diversity and acceptance level of things... running around half naked for work was just a bit too far.

Around the same time, I was also known for wearing black tights, knee-high moccasins, and a tie-dye that was long enough to be almost a dress and sleeves long enough to poke a thumb hole. Those were my Puck-ish hippy wood elf days.

During the homeless era somebody found a trash bag full of clothes and we all went through them as was the norm. I found this pair of women's capri pants that were a tartan/plaid sort of thing in black and this bizarre yellow/gold/olive-drab sort of weird color. Those and my Doc Martins were my favorite outfit. A mix of reminding me of Sid Vicious and Jesters and clowns.

I'm a big fan of letting people wear whatever the hell they want and if somebody doesn't like it, it's their problem.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:57 AM on September 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Ah zengargoyle, you’ve reminded me of the pair of baggy blue & green plaid flannel trousers I had around 1994. I now own many similar things, purely for use as pyjamas but there was a window when they were acceptable day wear and wore them for a(nother) whole summer of backpacking.

I was also a DM fan, had some original black ones I wore into the ground, some khaki canvas one I painted silver, and possibly then bright blue. And an ex-army parka which was warm but weighed an absolute tonne.

Tbh, I’m probably more impressed with my 90s fashion choices in retrospect than I was at the time. Back then I had a dose of self-consciousness and never feeling like I was quite getting it right, but now when I recount to my friends’ 20-something kids what we wore, they look at us misty-eyed as if we lived through the cutting edge of some kind of fashion heyday, because we were assembling this stuff from markets and junk shops, while they buy brand new copies from Primark, pre-assembled into looks.
posted by penguin pie at 4:25 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Khakis. ::shudder::
posted by Mouse Army at 5:26 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed about the fact that I'm in my fifties and have basically been wearing the same clothes since my teens. Jeans and t-shirts when it's warmer and Jeans and a plaid or solid (usually blue) button-up shirt when it's cooler. I was a boring youth and am still a boring adult.
posted by octothorpe at 5:53 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh, the eighties... big hair, shoulder pads, big earrings, long nails...I was there for all of it.

I really don’t think about clothes much now. I don’t like shopping for clothes—I’d rather spend the money on other things. My workplace wardrobe for the past ten years or so has been mostly jeans. I think the last time I wore a dress or skirt was at least 15 years ago at a work-related dinner. If I need to dress up now, it’s nice black pants, a dressy blouse or sweater, and heels.

At home, my go-to wardrobe is yoga pants (one of the best inventions ever!) and a tee shirt or tank. Also, the bra comes off as soon as I’m home.
posted by bookmammal at 6:18 AM on September 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

I wore parachute pants with a sleeveless sweater sweater vest in high school in the 80s. I lived on a tropical island where both pants that weren't shorts and a sweater of any kind were stupid to begin with. I'm very glad cell phone cameras only existed in science fiction at that time.
posted by COD at 6:44 AM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

> Serene Empress Dork: eponstyrical, and we could have been pals. Books were my refuge, and I have a sense of whimsy.

also, I typed I have 2 old sisters, true, but I meant older. heh.
posted by theora55 at 6:49 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

I loved clothes, costume and fashion the way other kids were into Star Wars. My parents were enablers, so long as it didn't cost a fortune, and also they were both image-conscious and somewhat fashion obsessed. The 80s were a perfect storm of opportunities to make fashion mistakes. All together, I think I looked mostly ridiculous (puff sleeves, bubble skirts, leg warmers, rabbit fur jackets, giant bows, giant spiral perm, giant bangs) from roughly 1985-summer of 1990, all while I was desperately striving (and failing) to be cool while trying to satisfy the expectations of family members, who believed nothing was more important than looking perfectly, conventionally beautiful all the time. Various factors including an unexpected nanny mentor (self-link) and some stirrings of early I think I might know best how I should look concluded with me letting a girl with a cool angular haircut in my cabin at sailing camp have a go at cutting my hair. The results were uneven--sort of a flatter Jesus and Mary Chain situation-- and controversial, but effectively ended the both tyranny of the spiral perm and my bid at trying to fit in with all the various mean girls in my life. I've made plenty of fashion mistakes since then (weird early 90s puffy shirts, crushed velvet hats, brown tights, this secondhand, still expensive Vivienne Westwood t-shirt I found in London and wore repeatedly even though it was sort of ugly and did not fit me), but at least they were mistakes predicated on what I wanted to look like.
posted by thivaia at 6:57 AM on September 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

I don't regret a single thing. Not the '80s bellbottoms (which I wore because I was obsessed with late '60s music), not the tie-dye, not the huge colourful shoulder-padded '80s shirts with stirrup leggings, not the old work shirt of my Dad's with the cuffs fastened with safety pins (worn open over a crop top with the aforementioned stirrup leggings, obviously). Not even the stretch velvet. Not even the at least two accidentally transparent skirts that left my underwear unfortunately visible.

I don't even regret the '90s goth trousers with the zippers and tabs and laces. They made me feel badass enough to direct my first opera.

In the early 2000s, my desire for ridiculous clothing made me learn to sew. I learnt from a goth, so I know how to make corsets but not trousers.

These days, for work I disguise myself as a normal person (admittedly with varying degrees of success). And I've got scruffy comfortable clothes for when I'm at home writing. These are boring. But I'm always grateful for times when I can get out the corsetry and the various well-loved bits of ridiculousness that are in my closet, and look like myself for a while.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:29 AM on September 15, 2019 [9 favorites]

I was a swing dancer in the early noughts and, in my swing subgroup, JNCOs were all the rage. However, I was way too tall for them, so I sewed my own. Now.. I'm a really good seamstress, so the quality was great, but the fabric choices were much more based on cost per yard than style. I remember one set of trousers that were made of brightly coloured printed cottons (imagine neon Liberty prints).

The pants were bad enough, but I also thought I should accessorize with a bucket hat, onto which I appliquéd key pieces of the prints, so they would tie back to my pants.

So grateful that this all happened before camera phones.

I also agree that being a teenager during the grunge nineties was heaven. I went to school every day in thrift store jeans and band t-shirts, with my long hair unstyled. I drew all over my cons and they just got cooler and cooler.
posted by some chick at 7:50 AM on September 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

Ok so not related to the question (but I did own Z Cavariccis OMG) but I have to share this with someone. Today my wife left her phone at home and we were splitting up so I gave her my phone and would then go home later, get her phone and call her to meet back up later.

I found something so terrible that I'm not sure this relationship can continue. I've learned to live with the hundreds of browser tabs, the thousands of unread SMS, the impossible number of unread emails, but this takes the cake. When I went to call her using her phone I found out that she literally has zero contacts! I don't even know what that means, honestly.

So I confronted her about it, obviously. She said that when she switched phones (like 3 months ago!!) for some reason the contacts didn't also switch and she has just accepted that as her new life. I pushed back, obviously, and she said that she knows my phone number, and her mom's, and she just doesn't call anyone else. She says that they can contact her if it is that important. So I asked her how she could deal with answering the phone never knowing who it might be, and she said it doesn't even bother her.

I really don't know how I feel right now. I mean in some ways it is a baller move, but in others like... I just don't even know.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:54 AM on September 15, 2019 [20 favorites]

Once I got out of middle school (no one looks good in middle school and also it was 1987), I don't really have any regrets. I was goth-adjacent in high school (but also went to Catholic school and wore a uniform the majority of the time) and it was the early 90s, so there were a lot of baby doll dresses and combat boots and flannels. I also had a penchant for imported broomstick skirts and floral pattern princess-seam dresses. I look back on those articles of clothing quite fondly.

I went to college at a very small, very remote liberal arts college on a beach, so petty much anything went (and frequently nothing went because beach + college kids = a lot of skinny dipping). I don't remember a single article of clothing from that entire time except a black body suit and some fatigue-green knee length cargo shorts, and only because I have a picture of me wearing them on spring break at Disney World.

After college I got super into touring with Phish (come at me haters, it was a good time!) and when I wasn't at work my clothes were about what you'd expect. I made a lot of them myself, it was a nice creative outlet. I had the big patchwork panel bell-bottoms and apron shirts, the whole works, and you know what? I looked good. I was happy. No regrets.

Since then I've just been a boring adult who doesn't care about clothes or fashion as long as I'm comfortable.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:07 AM on September 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Zero regrets. I don't even regret the flowy, ankle-length denim skirt with buttons allllll the way down and the white 3/4 sleeve sweater with the lace collar that I wore for Senior pictures because it was 1988! I looked amazing!

And once I got to college, grunge began and that was HEAVEN. Cut-off jean shorts with black tights and Doc Martens, massive plaid shirts, gigantic fisherman's sweaters...and when we wanted to be pretty, empire-waist dresses (still with black tights and Docs) and black lipstick. My very proper Southern mother was HORRIFIED but I absolutely loved it.

Actually, I do have one regret: I wish I had worn an off-the-shoulder wedding dress in 1994. I loved everything else about my dress but it was too pricey to re-make the sleeves/shoulders.
posted by cooker girl at 8:22 AM on September 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Everything that was ever regrettable as a teenager for me were momentary attempts to "fit in" because my mom clearly wanted me to fit in and it never worked.

The other set of my adolescent clothing was mostly jeans and men's flannel shirts over t-shirts.

The difference between this and how I dress now, 20+ years later, is mostly that I now do cargo pants slightly more often than the jeans.
posted by Sequence at 8:24 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

That time I bought a high collared long white dress at the thrift store for a song. Somehow didn’t realize it was a wedding dress until I got mockingly proposed to a dozen times at school.

The month I wore a choke chain dog collar as a necklace with a combination lock as a pendant.

My middle school obsession with this fringed leather vest.

I did my own thing a lot and didn’t have many friends.

On the other hand, I really miss my olive satiny cargo pants, my tiny hot pink shirt with the velvet angel sleeves, and my confidence.
posted by Night_owl at 8:40 AM on September 15, 2019 [10 favorites]

omg so many options but the thing that really comes to mind:

I was a teenager essentially through the 80s (I turned 12 in 1980). I was a classic beanpole, tall and skinny and I wore glasses. those farking glasses. SO BIG. they took up half my face. they never stayed up on my nose.

they seem to have come back into style a bit, when I see the big frames at the eyeglass store I have a tiny twinge of terror...#neveragain
posted by supermedusa at 10:37 AM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

TIL: hesher
posted by supermedusa at 10:44 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Big oversized brightly patterned sweaters for females.... with sequins and shoulder pads! Forgive me fashion police.
posted by mightshould at 10:51 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

ugh. shoulder pads. nuke them from orbit.

being a tall teenager I didn't like things embiggening me. so I cut each and every shoulder pad out of my 80s clothes the second I got home from the store.
posted by supermedusa at 11:20 AM on September 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Junior prom. 1987. Grey tuxedo with (clip-on) peach tie and matching peach cummerbund. My buddy had the exact same outfit and I’m guessing we went to the tux rental shop together and decided to go down in fashion history together. There are pictures on the internet which I won’t link to because CW: big hair, shoulder pads, Drakkar, and mousse.

The thing is, I’ve always thought of myself as one of the cool kids in high school. Yet, here is irrefutable evidence that I was not.

Oh hell, here you go. That’s me upper left. Buddy is upper right.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:34 AM on September 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

Had an ultra-rare night out with The Lads this week. Gearing up I did a test run vs a mirror with a bandana. Came out less Evan From Biohazard and more European Flipping Babushka. Not saying I couldn't rock either look if I chose to commit, but when yr aiming for one and hit the other? Graah!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:50 PM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

I started to write something here and realized that writing about how I dressed as an adolescent was a bit too much part and parcel of the pain of being bullied and socially outcast during those years. So if there's anyone else who feels that way, I've got hugs to hand out.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:57 PM on September 15, 2019 [15 favorites]

That's what the cool kids looked like! Mushroom hair and all!

Sometimes I see shared Facebook pictures of young dudes who are now attending the school that I went to through junior high. The boys are wearing the same hair: the bowl-cut and/or mushroom look. The girls have contemporary hair, but not the boys. It's the damnedest thing.

One thing I regret not wearing back in the day is sleeveless shirts. I have keratosis pilaris on my arms, which is really only noticeable if you're very close, and not very much then. But as a kid, I could see it up close, and so I was convinced I was hideously disfigured until I was grown and it went away, as I was told it would. (It did not, but at least nobody cares.)

So I mostly just didn't wear shirts without sleeves. I remember one time that I did; I left the house for the first time that day to fetch the paper off the curb, and was promptly catcalled by a passing pickup truck full of dudes. I was twelve.

I told myself that was funny and good and meant I was basically a woman. But I didn't wear that shirt again without a cardigan.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:59 PM on September 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

I have been a fashion disaster since I was three, but I have grown into the confidence as a mature middle aged woman at least to own it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:52 PM on September 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

When I was 11 my mom permed my bangs. Just my bangs. The rest of my hair was stick straight and I wore it behind my ears. Combine that with my pre-braces rabbit front teeth and I wasn’t going to look cool no matter what I wore.
posted by gryphonlover at 3:04 PM on September 15, 2019 [5 favorites]

Oh hell, here you go. That’s me upper left. Buddy is upper right.

BOOOO! You look amazing in that picture. No fair!
posted by Literaryhero at 3:09 PM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

From AugustWest: My elementary school wardrobe can be summed up in one word, Danskins.

I wore Danskins (usually with jeans) like it was my job for a stretch of my twenties. I had no idea that they even made clothing for grade school boys.
posted by she's not there at 3:34 PM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Not sure how, in retrospect, but I went through a phrase, circa 1996-1998 (10-12) where windpants were the only casual pants that I wore.

On the plus side, immediately after, I was faced with the barrage of name brand clothing in the late 90s in junior high (tommy hilfiger (by far the most prevalent), fubu, perry ellis, JNCO, adidas, ecko?,); juxtaposed with a preppy north face, ambercrombie, american eagle, aeropostale) in high school; I already was becoming quickly jaded by consumerism, and realized that I didn't broadly belong in either of those piles, adopted normcore and refused to own anything that had an outward label on it for years, and still rarely own clothing that's branded to this day.
posted by fizzix at 3:54 PM on September 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Skin tight hot pink velvet Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. With Candies. Non, je ne regrette rien.
posted by HotToddy at 4:16 PM on September 15, 2019 [13 favorites]

I've always been a Birkenstocks with socks kind of girl, but in high school I often wore toe socks with my Birkenstocks, which was probably a step too far.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:19 PM on September 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Oh hell, here you go. That’s me upper left. Buddy is upper right.

OMG, I forgot about clip-on ties. You guys look fantastic, and the girl with the hot pink dress is the cool version of the bridesmaid dress that I was forced to wear at my other brother's wedding. Pink stockings, oh my!

Nice lookin' set of folks, there.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:29 PM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

In middle school, I thought it was cool to wear dark ankle-length skirts and vests in novelty prints that my mom made me (cats, books, paisley). I wore turtlenecks underneath, which mom pushed on me and I didn't fight. I had long, straight, unstyled hair to go with my extremely modest look. This was also approximately the era that my mom made me a fleece cape, at my request. Life's rich tapestry...
posted by momus_window at 4:50 PM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

My prom was in 1988, so I wore a peach colored Miami-Vice inspired 2-piece suit with big shoulder pads, pink tie, rolled up sleeves, low-key mullet, etc. Kissed my first girlfriend for the first time during said prom, so I'd say I rocked the look.
And no, you can't see the pictures.
posted by signal at 5:11 PM on September 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

In every posted picture, everyone looks amazing, gorgeous, fantastic. My high school self has crushes on all of you.
posted by theora55 at 5:33 PM on September 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

In middle school I realized my bisexuality and genderqueerness in a process that heavily involved exploring the androgyny of 1970s British glam rock. Despite the fact that it was 2003, I decided that my subculture of choice was not punk, not goth, but glam. I wore glitter on my face to school every day, and when I switched schools and no longer had to wear a uniform I also started adding David Bowie t-shirts, waistcoats, pinstripe skirts, bowler hats, velvet blazers, and feather boas.

It will probably not shock you to learn that I was considered uh, pretty weird.
posted by capricorn at 6:51 PM on September 15, 2019 [13 favorites]

Ah and if we're posting pictures, here's a representative look: leopard print shirt, pinstripe blazer, signature Bisexual Haircut, and a hot pink skirt that is actually something called a "Magic Scarf". Pardon the blurry quality and the fact that it was taken in the bathroom mirror, but that's just how it was back then.
posted by capricorn at 7:02 PM on September 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

in high school I often wore toe socks with my Birkenstocks, which was probably a step too far.

Same. Specifically bright rainbow striped knee high toe socks with purple suede Birkenstocks.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:02 PM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I thought I was the only one with a fleece cape/cloak!

Capes are incompatible with public transportation, unfortunately.
posted by freethefeet at 1:06 AM on September 16, 2019

Thivia, your self link about your unexpected nanny mentor was beautiful!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:59 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fashion has overall not been much of a thing for me, I just wear a lot of black (lately, dresses that are black with flowers on them is my general work wardrobe).

But in the 90's when I was attending a women's college and figuring out who the heck I was I wore a sports bra and an open flannel (with jeans and Docs) to campus parties and thought I was such a badass BDOC (big dyke on campus...there was no BBOC)... I kind of was, but I still should have worn a shirt.
posted by wellred at 5:43 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

The 90s trend in the UK and Ireland for skirt trousers did not, let us say, do the young Halcyonday any favours.

Neither did velvet bodysuits and mohair sweaters.
posted by halcyonday at 5:55 AM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to peg my pants with safety pins, often from knee to ankle. Since I also bought my jeans second hand in 36” or 38” there was a sort of blouson effect.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:17 AM on September 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've had the Victoria Beckham bob since I was 7 in the 1970's. Once, in high school, I got a very poorly-executed mall version of a Sassoon blunt bowl cut. It was the last time I changed my hair.
posted by crush at 6:53 AM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

As time passes, all our fashion choices will come to seem quainter, more charming and inevitably more inspirational than they appear when we look back - there really isn't any bad fashion in the past, as long as you're looking at it from the correct decade. No one looks back at, eg, 1920s beach pajamas and thinks that they're hideous and tacky. Even all the bakelite tat of the 20s and thirties is charming now - and expensive. No regrets!

When I consider my past choices, I think of them as part of someone's future dissertation and that settles me down.
posted by Frowner at 6:54 AM on September 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

Taped a single fairly random feather to my glasses. Never once noticed a pitying glance, not sure what that means...
posted by sammyo at 6:54 AM on September 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by Night_owl at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Back in the mid-nineties, my new boyfriend's best friend was getting married, he was in the wedding party, it was in NYC, they have lots of money, it was all very glamorous. The bride worked as a personal assistant for a supermodel (whose husband just died yesterday, if you want to know who it was), and the supermodel was a bridesmaid.

I'm bad at clothes, and was fairly recently back from the Peace Corps, so I had nothing. But I did have a fashiony friend who's around my size, so I raided her closet -- found a floor-length skirt in multiple layers of floaty, diaphanous material, and a lacy halter-style bodice. Both black, but it's the kind of wedding where wearing black is okay. It's more of a Morticia Addams look than I'd normally go for, but it's formal enough and I look fine in the mirror in my apartment.

My boyfriend goes off as part of the wedding party, so I show up on my own. The wedding is in a loft, with floor to ceiling windows, at sunset, with bright light streaming in horizontally. I catch sight of myself in the mirror and realize that everything I'm wearing is entirely transparent, which had not occurred to me in my apartment under dimmer overhead light. And so I spent the entire wedding skulking around hiding behind pillars in a ridiculously slutty-vampire outfit while my boyfriend squired around one of the objectively most beautiful women in the world (who was super nice!) in a tasteful floral sundress.

Good times.
posted by LizardBreath at 8:58 AM on September 16, 2019 [17 favorites]

I thought I was the only one with a fleece cape/cloak!

My Ren Faire afficionado friend had a wool cape.

I at one point had this weird black trenchcoat-y thing that had a built in hood/scarf that (I believe) I got from the J Peterman catalog.

I also enjoyed greatly the plaid flannel trend of the 90's. I was known to wear an orange and green plaid Miami Hurricanes baseball cap (with the weird stork mascot - I didn't care for the U, the hat was on sale for $2 somewhere), a brown and red flannel shirt that I had ripped the sleeves off of (it tore badly at the shoulder yoke, and I figured I might as well lean into it) over a t-shirt, and then a blue and green flannel shirt knotted around my waist (in case I got a chill, you see).
posted by Rock Steady at 10:41 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

> Literaryhero: So I confronted her about it, obviously. She said that when she switched phones (like 3 months ago!!) for some reason the contacts didn't also switch and she has just accepted that as her new life. I pushed back, obviously, and she said that she knows my phone number, and her mom's, and she just doesn't call anyone else. She says that they can contact her if it is that important. So I asked her how she could deal with answering the phone never knowing who it might be, and she said it doesn't even bother her.

"My regular, normal phone, who dis?"
posted by Rock Steady at 10:53 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really don't know how I feel right now. I mean in some ways it is a baller move, but in others like... I just don't even know.

With you in OMG-ness. But I'd just be like "Wow."
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2019

Two words: Sun-in.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:35 AM on September 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

I don't regret my rainbow toe socks worn with fake Birkenstocks and perhaps a few of my childhood barrettes stuck into waist-length hair. Not even a little bit. And being a teenager during high grunge was the best. My only regret is wearing workout clothes to school about half the time, so I wouldn't have to change before track practice. Ew.
posted by the_blizz at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Weirdly, I stand by the vast majority of my fashion choices (given the context; I tend to be good at communicating whatever I'm trying to communicate) except the ones that I let my mom, who is good at fashion for her own self, talk me into. She has a great Eileen Fisher-y look and yet is incredibly awful at dressing people of other ages. She recently tried to get my to buy my 12-year-old tidy polo shirts so that he would be more popular at his mid-size, diverse public middle school.

I keep this picture as a reminder of my own awkward middle school years but I also don't think it's a fashion blunder per se. I loved that busted Cornell sweatshirt, and those wooden cat earrings from Mexico. NO RAGRETS.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:40 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Neither did velvet bodysuits and mohair sweaters.

Mohair sweaters are a real mystery to me. Every time they come back in style for a moment (once every 5 years or so), I boggle. It would be one thing if the mohair were soft, but largely the thing both looks and feels like something you scrub pots with. The most useless sweater (fuschia, cable knit mohair)I have ever owned was a Christmas gift from my father. He'd brought it from some Celtic-themed craft gallery during his early 90's Irish New Age period--"Handmade!" he said-- when I was in high school and presented it with some fanfare. It was so unflatteringly oversized, so itchy people that couldn't bear to even touch me when I wore it, that I briefly considered whether he intended it to be a kind of abstinence aid/birth control device. But I genuinely think my dad wasn't that clever.
posted by thivaia at 1:16 PM on September 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

But mohair holds color like nothing else - saturated, translucent, rich! I always know when a sweater or a scarf on eBay is mohair because I am desperately drawn to the color, and then I look closely in the faint hope that it's a wearable fabric and it never is. It's like linen - a vilely unsuitable material which takes dye better than anything else. A mohair wall-hanging would be perfect, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 1:38 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Omg. I was in middle school and really into anime. For a cousin's wedding, I wore:
-A white and frilly button-up with silver pin-stripes. This was from Justice. I styled it with the cuffs FULLY unbuttoned
-A couple of bobby pins on the side of my head, purely decorative
-Brown cargo pants w more pockets than I had years. These pants were aggressively baggy and each of the main pockets had a strap + metal ring situation that could be used to close the pocket.

Nowadays I think the outfit is cool, but I lived in embarrassment for a long time.
posted by typify at 4:27 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Did nobody else where those hidous 'IOU' sweatshirts in 1990?
posted by Literaryhero at 4:35 PM on September 16, 2019

Junior prom. 1987. Grey tuxedo with (clip-on) peach tie and matching peach cummerbund. My buddy had the exact same outfit

Oh dear lord - I wore the same outfit to my senior prom in '86. Chosen by my girlfriend at the time to match her peach dress.

Also I had a mullet of sorts but that wasn't her fault.

At the after party I got drunk and ate a flower (I have no idea what kind) which tasted absolutely terrible but apparently did not cause any permanent damage.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

MetaFilter: a kind of abstinence aid/birth control device.
posted by loquacious at 7:25 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Beckham fauxhawk. Ouch.
posted by Paragon at 7:57 PM on September 16, 2019

My whole life I have been plagued by wide and sensitive feet (they have only gotten worse with age, as I now have bunions, and bad knees to boot). This has made shoe shopping a miserable experience, pretty much from when I grew out of little kid shoes. There are a bit more women's wide shoes available now, but it is still a continual plague to try to find solid color non white or non beige women's shoes in size wide, with little heel to speak of, that are actually padded/comfortable and also appropriate for some kind of work setting. I wore flats to my wedding, and they were not super attractive, but at least I got to enjoy my wedding without pain in my feet.

So, all of that is to explain that some of my most unfortunate fashion choices were driven by my desperate quest for comfortable footwear, especially in the seventies, when the choice of wide shoes available was particularly grim. If it came down to wearing something designed for my grandmother, vs. something that was odd but that you could imagine a teen wearing, I was going for the teen option (I was being bullied enough as it was.) This is why during high school, I spent a chunk of time wearing craft fair moccasins similar to these Navajo ones. I also wore a pair of (actual) pony hide shoes made in Iceland, that my mother had found at some Scandinavian furniture store, where the hide still had hair on it on the exterior of the shoes, and the horse they were made from was some kind of pinto, so the fur was mottled white and brown. As you can imagine, this went over very well in my suburban New Jersey high school, for any number of reasons. I also wore Clarks Wallabees, before they were kind of trendy.
posted by gudrun at 8:07 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a black, ankle length hooded wool cloak with velvet trim. I still wear it in winter because it's awesome. No regrets at all (also it led to a moment where someone's french girlfriend was like "oh my god, you still wear capes in Scotland that's so cool!" and I had to admit that no, not really, it's just me being a weirdo.)

I loved 90s / early 2000s fashion, but I never embraced the worst of it - no camo, mohair, blue eyeshadow or bellbottoms. I miss a lot of my clothes from that time, actually, and seeing people dress comfy casual on tv instead of sexy!

I regret those few months in school where I thought I could pull off a black beret though.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:01 AM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

as a high school senior i wore around this hat that was very similar to tom brady's terrible hat and thinking of it now makes me want to die.
posted by Kwine at 11:48 AM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Three words: Pork. Pie. Hat.

I really liked how John S. Hall wore one, but what works on him did not work on me. Doubly so when you factor in having long hair and an ill-advised goatee.
posted by SansPoint at 1:49 PM on September 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have vanishingly little fashion sense--a substantial amount of my wardrobe is black, on the theory that it never goes out of style and matches with itself, and I have several shelves in my bedroom devoted to T-shirts--and thus might I explain how, in the early fall of 1984, after having seen Purple Rain several times in the theater (I completely wanted to believe that the most talented man in pop music at the time was an alienated loner like me), I came into the possession of a pair of fingerless purple lace gloves. I don't believe that they were worn in public, nor even in private after a showing for my variously bemused and incredulous roommates, but I Wanted To Believe.

I also went through a fedora phase. We don't need to talk about that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:09 PM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Here is a selection of some of my most wonderful and also somehow at the same time regrettable fashion choices:

5-6th grade: My style icons (no shit) were Claudia Kishi from the Babysitters Club and Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. (wowww.) My first day to school at a new school in 5th grade I wore an outfit that I thought of as my candy cane outfit, a floor length bright red skirt, white and red striped mock turtleneck, peppermint earrings, and several costume jewelry necklaces. The other kids, who were mostly dressed in Guess jeans and Tommy Hilfiger polos...did not know what to make of me.

7-8th grade: Decided I was now "grunge." (Did I know what that meant? Assuredly not.) Wore my father's enormous cableknit sweater that was the color of oatmeal and had a huuuuuge tear down one side that I felt was very grunge, got made fun of relentlessly but told myself they just didn't get it.

High school: So many vintage slips dyed and worn on the outside of my clothes. So, so many.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 4:31 PM on September 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

ok guys my sr yr of high school I bought this jacket. I thought it was the dopest.

I still have it
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:47 PM on September 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

I mean, I mostly just went with the flow, was never interested in clothes (still not), but did the 80s leg warmers, neon, gummy bracelets, 90s pegged jeans, rugby shirts, floral babydoll and sundresses, which turned into baggy cords from a thrift store up on Belmont in Chicago by 1996.

I think really the one item I look back on with regret is this weird puffy Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. When I say puffy, I don’t mean the decal or anything. That shit was made out of a comforter. You had to put a sneaker in the dryer when you dried it. I can even find a picture of anything similar. Did I hallucinate that it existed? It seems so ludicrous. Only in mid-80s west suburban Boston?
posted by Pax at 7:18 PM on September 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

This is not exactly a fashion disaster, I suppose - merely a fashion weirdness. Still.

I went through a phase in high school of sewing small silver jingle bells to the shoelaces of all my shoes, so that I might make a pleasant but barely discernible chiming sound wherever I went. I don't think anyone ever really noticed it, because it was overshadowed by all my more obvious weirdness whenever I had to interact with another human being.
posted by darchildre at 7:53 PM on September 17, 2019 [7 favorites]

ok guys my sr yr of high school I bought this jacket.

I guess it wasn't "vintage" when you got it.
posted by pracowity at 4:03 AM on September 18, 2019

Doubly so when you factor in having long hair and an ill-advised goatee.

No one ever advised a goatee.
posted by pracowity at 4:05 AM on September 18, 2019 [6 favorites]

ok guys my sr yr of high school I bought this jacket. I thought it was the dopest.

It was the dopest, I'm sorry. Remember when the Cold War was ending and there were all these maps in fashion? All these world flag shirts? I remember! I remember that for me - and maybe it was just because I was so young - they represented optimism, fairness, equality, a sense that borders were just going to melt away, no more nationalism, just people. I can't look at those fashions from that moment without a wash of those emotions.

Of course, really all it meant was that every country was open for Americans and American-trained economists to loot and devour, but I didn't realize that at the time.
posted by Frowner at 4:11 AM on September 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

I went through a phase in high school of sewing small silver jingle bells to the shoelaces of all my shoes, so that I might make a pleasant but barely discernible chiming sound wherever I went

That IS awesome and now I want to do it.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:13 AM on September 18, 2019 [7 favorites]

I was in middle school in the early 2000s when those novelty bubble shirts were in. They were the size of a potholder before you put them on but they would stretch to fit you. I wore one to my very first middle school dance (blue bubble shirt with blue jeans) with my big ol' wire rim glasses and rat's nest hair and was surprised when no one wanted to dance with me.
posted by coppermoss at 5:33 AM on September 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

It was the dopest, I'm sorry. Remember when the Cold War was ending and there were all these maps in fashion?

Bonus detail, in 1994 when i was rocking that coat, my whip was a Cutlass Ciera with that flag emblem on the door handle.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:44 AM on September 18, 2019 [4 favorites]

There was a girl in my Grade 8 class, super popular, and who had some fashion sense. I copied her. From the top, neon hoop earrrings, neon fabric necklace, white turtleneck, neon vest over it (pink), full skirt in pastel blue, with a brown insert, 3 pairs of neon socks, black pumps.

In high school, I wore pegged doctor pants.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:52 AM on September 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

stillnocturnal, to be completely honest, I hadn't thought of that habit in years and now that I remember it, I may start doing it again. It always made me very happy.
posted by darchildre at 9:40 AM on September 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Beckham fauxhawk. Ouch.

This reminds me. In HS I gave myself a hair cut so bad that it made my little sister burst into tears and run away when she first saw it. It even made my mom do some uncharacteristic yelling about it.

I still remember feeling really bad about my sisters reaction and trying to balance that with actually liking my hair cut.

I gave myself a proper "suedehead" or "industrial" and shaved one side of my head bald. I had fairly long hair at the time. Worse I think it was on the wrong side of my natural part so it was awkward. Eventually it evolved to having both sides and most of the back shaved, which I liked just fine for a few years.

I think the only reason I don't currently have a proper suedehead cut or other darkwave/queer identifying style) now is because I already went through that and even had a pretty high undercut in the back for a while, but I'm liking just having fairly boring, low maintenance hair.

I don't regret the haircut, though. At the time it was a fairly unique and a perfect "fuck you" to the 80s and 90s and also directed at my silly Aquanet phase, and really a nod back nearly a decade to early darkwave and new wave.

What I regret was that sometime after I first started cutting it like this, that haircut became really popular with the Nu-Metal heshers and dirtbags of the sort that I didn't get along with at all and I started being identified and judged by other people that I was also some similar kind of dirtbag. I ended up shaving my head entirely and it took, oh, 6 years or so to grow it out again.
posted by loquacious at 10:34 AM on September 18, 2019

This is all reminding me - the thrift store chain Saver's used to have a big, wonderful location right near me. I got almost everything there until the prices went up and it got picked over and then it closed. But anyway, being part of a chain it was able to record its own in-store advertisements which I got to know quite well since I probably stopped there at least once a week.

There was a particular one, promoting the fact that if you were lucky and it was an alternate Tuesday, you could return something if it didn't fit. The ad started out, "Regrets? I've had a few...." and I often think about it.

Which brings me to a regret - I gave myself a haircut one night when I'd had too much coffee and couldn't sleep. I had this idea that it was going to be a really cute punk-rock buzz cut, the kind that looks great on people with really cute features totally unlike mine...and I was going to do it with scissors!

A friend literally force-marched me to the dorm room of our other friend, the one who had clippers and was able to repair about 75% of it, the moment she rolled out of bed and saw me in the morning. And that was the start of having really short hair.

I've grown it out once or twice since, but I lack the patience most of the time and TBH I have a giant head (I stand 5'5" and I wear a men's XL hat, sometimes an XXL - and that's with short hair) and thick coarse hair, so I look like I live in a cave in the woods somewhere when it's long at all.

I wish I could have, like, a cool haircut, but the truth is that I am not a cool person and it shows in my expression and demeanor. If it were about 2015, one would correctly say that I had no chill, no chill at all, and I have not acquired any in the intervening years.
posted by Frowner at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

No regrets over what I wore, because I tried, in my limited resources way, to stay semi in style with everyone else. Those plaid pants with striped shirts my mom dressed me in, in the 70s are a whole 'nother thing, though.
Ah, the memories: huge, ginormous plastic frame eyeglasses that made me look like an owl.
Satin shirts with floral patterned jeans.
Bodysuits with crotch snaps, worn with harem style pants. (I wish I still had the cold shoulder black body suit I had back then, since the cold shoulder is back in style).
My aunt made me a prairie dress, when country music was all the rage. It had ties underneath, so I could raise or lower the hem. Loved to wear it with my cowboy hat, with the feathered band and feathered roach clips dangling down my back.
Jazz shoes with leg warmers scrunched down over skinny jeans, with off the shoulder sweatshirts (oh so Flashdance).
Sadly, I could never get my hair 80s big, so I permed on a regular basis.
My favorite pair of pants were hand me downs from a cousin: light weight denim, with a high waist, bell bottoms, and two zippers on each hip to open them/close them.
And the puca shell necklace, of course. That I still have!
posted by annieb at 6:01 PM on September 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have zero regrets over the style I tried to rock back in the day. My main issue was that I didn't have any money, so though I felt I had taste and originality, I couldn't execute that well. My teenage thrift-store looks were pretty good considering. This post made me think about a murderers' row of all my favorite outfits, but to this day, I still think they were fierce.

The jingle-bell story reminded me of a favorite affectation I had circa 1985-6, which was to use an eyeliner pencil to draw a faux beauty mark on my face in the shape of a star. Oh yeah.

The one regret I have is not getting a stacked, maybe asymmetrical skater cut, and not dying that skater cut blue and banana yellow. There was always something I valued about being able to switch styles, chameleon-like, from neo-hippie, to mod, to prep, to burnout, and the hair would have put me squarely in a single camp, so I never did it. But it woulda been fun.
posted by Miko at 7:49 PM on September 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

Birkenstocks are just ugly foot coasters.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 10:39 AM on September 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've always been a Birkenstocks with socks kind of girl, but in high school I often wore toe socks with my Birkenstocks, which was probably a step too far.

I always knew you were my kind of person, ChuraChura!

Socks with sandals yes, flamboyant socks with Birkenstocks yes, and toe socks as well.

A co-worker took umbrage at my rainbow socks w/Birkenstocks last week and posted an Instagram poll asking if it was an acceptable fashion choice. We agreed that if opinion broke my way, she had to do socks with sandals today; if opinion broke her way, I had to wear sandals with painted toenails. Naturally, I lost (15-8, which is closer than I thought it'd be). So I went with my kiddo to get toenails painted; looks like we've got a Christmas card photo ready to roll already.
posted by sugar and confetti at 6:39 AM on September 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

You should tell your co-worker that Birkenstocks have been back in fashion for some years now and that socks with Birkenstocks (or with other "ugly" shoes) are all the go this year. All "ugly" styles come back, which is why one must be careful about disparaging them lest one look vieux jeu.
posted by Frowner at 6:49 AM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

omg Eyebrows McGee, I had blue Keds and red Keds, and I would wear a blue Ked and a red slouchy sock and a red Ked and a blue slouchy sock! with a blue shirt and a red skirt! harlequin high five!
posted by exceptinsects at 9:53 AM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

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