I work on the campus of a major university. Day after day, more and more, I am seeing things that I thought…or hoped…I’d never have to see again. I can live with the way-too-big earrings. I can even live with the way-too-small jeans (on other people, that is). The wide, studded belts secured loosely around the outside of the oversized blouses are, well, nearly tolerable. But I saw something the other day that made my blood run chill. It’s almost too painful for me to type out loud.
That’s right, I saw a female student donning a pair of stirrup pants. Oh, the horror!
It’s been coming, slowly but surely. I honestly kept hoping, though, that maybe it wouldn’t really catch on. Perhaps someone would get hold of one of my high school yearbooks and see how dreadfully hideous we all were. Word would spread and this trend would be stopped cold, before anyone had a chance to even purchase a single pair of stirrup pants or jelly shoes or checkered Vans®.
Each of the decades has left its own fashion smudge on society. The 70’s brought us bell bottoms and platform shoes. I was a mere child in the 70’s, but I’m a big fan of any ensemble that creates the illusion of a smaller butt and longer legs. The 90’s were all about the grunge. Oddly enough, every girl wanted to dress like Kurt Cobain. The baggier your big, ripped flannel shirt, the better. This certainly wasn’t my favorite look, but you can’t dispute the value of such a low-maintenance style regimen. It was wash ‘n go, only better, because the “washing” step was completely eliminated. Just go. Many of us saved a lot of money on toothbrushes and shampoo in the 90’s.
But the 80’s. Oh, the 80’s. What was pretty about that decade? Nothing, I say. The bangs were big and sticky. The shirts were oversized. The pants were undersized. What’s most amusing and puzzling to me is that we spent a lot of time, energy and money just to achieve ugly. I primped and primped and primped some more with all the gel and the hairspray and the bright blue eye shadow. While that layer of lacquer was hardening, I’d spend several minutes working up a sweat trying to safety pin the sides of my pants to make them as tapered and unflattering as possible. After that, it was time for another lacquer application. All that work just to look like a "Thriller" extra.
Oh really, who am I kidding here? It comes down to this: My feelings about 80’s apparel are likely rooted somewhere in deep bitterness over the fact that there’s nothing in my size that can legally be called a “skinny jean.” In other words, if this throwback trend continues and my beloved bootcut pant becomes obsolete, I’ll be in a world of hurt. It’s muumuus and denim jumpers from here on out.
I’m not happy about that prospect, not one bit. The 80's may be calling, but the 90's brought us Caller ID. I'm using mine.
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