Friday, January 11, 2013

Outfits I wore in high school

A black dress from Delia's with a butterfly pattern and yellow piping on the collar. Life-changing. I wore it with a black headband and black slide sandals with a heel shortly after getting my braces off, and this is the prettiest I can remember feeling in high school.

A gray Hanes t-shirt under a burgundy wool v-neck sweater vest, both pinched from my dad's bureau, with thrift-store Levi's and a ball-style chain as a necklace, like the chain that connects a pen to a desk in a bank. Round-toe brown shoes.

A lavender off-brand polo shirt with pink stripes from a thrift-store, with above Levi's. Blue skater Van's. Possible additions: baby barrettes, a bubble necklace. Not this kind of bubble necklace, but a little bottle of viscous soapy water from which to blow bubbles, on a cord.

Same as above but with a baby blue men's Izod (alligator) shirt, worn to trash, and a necklace with tiny rainbow-colored beads.

Sage-green men's swim trunks (again, salvaged from my dad) with a drawstring, notches at the side of the leg, and white piping on the bottom, the lining torn out. Gray Hanes t-shirt. White flip-flops or tan two-strap Birkenstocks. (These were my favorite shorts for years.)

Denim overalls over a bodysuit with brown and green stripes and a row of henley buttons on the scoopneck. Round-toe brown shoes.

A white guayabera with rainbow-colored fruit embroidered on the front panel. Levi's and Vans.

A loose, sheer white maternity blouse (my mother's from the late '70s) with a split Mandarin collar and pastel embroidery (flowers) on the front panel. Levi's. Hair up in a bun with wooden chopsticks. Jelly shoes!

A pink plaid pencil skirt with a little matching belt and a short-sleeve, ribbed black turtleneck sweater. I think this skirt might still be in my closet. Same black slide sandals as above.

Blue and black plaid trousers with a flare at the ankle and a tab waist. Same black turtleneck as above. Round-toe black shoes that looked like Mary Jane's without the strap. Again, these might still be in my closet.

A vintage black button-front blouse with slim vertical rainbow stripes, salvaged from my paternal grandmother's closet (still in my closet though I haven't worn it in years). Black boot-cut pants, black high-heeled boots.

A sage-green cardigan from the Gap with mother-of-pearl buttons, worn as a pullover, buttoned up, nothing underneath. Thrift-store Levi's. Moccasins, no socks.

Vintage Levi's, off-white t-shirt, and a turquoise beaded necklace and I un-threaded and re-threaded so I could put two pennies that my brother had pressed at the top of the Empire State Building on the thread, worn and reworn until the thread snapped. Moccasins.

Cropped white pants, a mauve crewneck sleeveless shell (one-half of a "Jackie" twinset, without the cardigan), white flip-flops. (You won't believe me but I was the first person at my high school to wear flip-flops as shoes. Revolution!)

A turtleneck sweater with wide navy and gray stripes, with fitted, stretchy, flat front navy pants (boot-cut of course, not skinny-legged) and brown loafers. The pants had a hidden zipper on the side and no pockets, front or back.

An off-white v-neck cable sweater from J. Crew (probably one of my all-time most worn items) with ugly light blue J. Crew jeans (boot-cut!) and moccasins or brown loafers. Silver hoop earrings. (I didn't like gold in high school, now I rarely wear silver.)

A long-sleeve, fitted cream-colored crewneck tee under a light pink, chunky wool crewneck sweater vest and a gray kilt (solid gray, no plaid; still in my closet but too small to wear). Strapless Mary Janes, sometimes with cream-colored knee socks.

As you can see I vacillated between grunge and preppy. I'd probably still wear about half of these outfits today, with adjustments made for fit and footwear. I could do a whole other post about outfits I remember my friends wearing.

15 comments:

  1. Delia's was like a catalog of wonders for me back in the day.

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    1. I remember the catalog showed up out of the blue one day, no one I knew had heard of it. It was so good I wanted to keep it a secret.

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  2. I got so much pleasure from reading this post. I love love LOVE descriptor words of clothing: "fitted," "v-neck," "off-white." My friend and I used to love to watch 'How Do I Look" when Finola Hughes still hosted it and we'd love it when she described something as "chocolate brown."

    It makes me wanna buy stuff.

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    1. Chocolate brown! I ordered some brown pants from Delia's after seeing a fashion spread in Sassy, I think, combining blues and browns, and I wanted to wear them with a blue shirt. But they were way too small and had to be returned. I remember trying to convince my mom they were supposed to look that way.

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    2. Delia's was everything. I would beg my parents to get me stuff out of it and would watch my dad like a hawk when he filled out the order forms and printed the check for them. I had this purple Asian print shift dress from there in 8th grade and I felt like the most fashionable person in the world in it. I was also really into their little tshirts like cute sayings and cartoon animals. Nothing anime looking, but I remember I had a shirt from there with like two clams in love on it...and some kind of pun. And one with teeth, too. Then a Delia's store moved into our mall and a little bit of the allure wore off out of proximity, but I still shopped there all the time. They had good hoodies and socks.

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    3. I've never actually seen one of the stores. When I wore the black butterfly dress everyone freaked out like "Where did you get that?!?!?!" and my best friend started ordering a bunch of stuff from Delia's, and her wardrobe quickly surpassed mine in coolness because she had a bigger shopping budget. She especially had more and way crazier shoes than me, and wacky little bags, like this bag that looked like a coconut.

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    4. http://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/youll-die-after-seeing-these-5-teen-fashion-catal !!!!!!

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    5. I think most of those were after my time? Or just not active in my region.

      But yeah, the '90s. I was talking with a friend about Before Sunrise last night. I want to see it again!

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  3. You should totally post about your friends' outfits, too. And Delia's--yes! I had a blue guayabera from there, actually. I still have it.

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  4. That was fun to read - I think you may be on to something there Elisa. I'm in the Jason Isbell/DBT mindset, though, that you probably shouldn't call what you're wearing an outfit.

    You could actually do a whole thing just on jeans, really, or flannel shirts, corduroy. I recall a kind of jeans from the 60s from Sears or someplace, called Tuff Skins. Do they still make those?

    Way to rock the flip flops! You won't believe me, but I was wearing sweatshirts inside-out with the sleeves cut off at least two or three years before Madonna. Best,

    tpeterson

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    1. Do tell me, why aren't we supposed to call them outfits? Do you prefer ensemble?

      The dudes at my high school used to cut slits in the sides of their jeans at the ankle so they were even more bootcut. Pretty innovative, I thought.

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  5. No good reason.

    Where clothing is concerned, I guess scissors are the mother of innovation. Your post reminded me that I've been part of any number of fashion horrors - I even wore one of those things called a 'leisure suit' for a time there in the early 70s. And I recall sporting a few silk shirts with big collars a little while later.

    Looks to me like you were pretty unscathed when it comes to fashion. At least I didn't see any mention of leg warmers or ...

    tpeterson

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    1. Leg warmers were popular when I was about 5 I think. I probably wore some to ballet class, but I think that's their legit purpose.

      The shit I wore in junior high was definitely uglier.

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  6. Lol, as decades go, it seems we may be getting smarter about clothes. One of the not so good reasons for not calling them outfits is probably gender and period based.

    I don't care to elaborate on that much though, Elisa, except to say, as a male coming of age at a certain time, one probably didn't want anyone to think that one cared too much about one's ensemble, ensemble maybe only being a slightly better term than outfit for such purposes, in that it might deflect, possibly, some otherwise implied paternal dominance or OCD fallout where your self esteem came to what you wore.

    Most guys in my day, at least, weren't yet calling up each other before school to see what the other was wearing.

    Best,

    tpeterson

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