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Thursday, May 27, 2010


Remember Jelly Bracelets, of 1980's fame? I read this this morning and got in my time machine, traveling back to the day where jewelry was so cheap. And I shiver when I recall the shoes that went along. Jelly shoes. Rubber, $5 a pair, and I had them in scads: every fricken color of the rainbow. In both opaque and transparent versions, of course. No matter what outfit I wore,there was a pair of tacky, rubbery plastic shoes to go along.

So what else had me thinking I was the coolest kid on the block back then? I was talking with John about this, and he distinctly remembers different trends than I do. This shouldn't shock me. We were completely different back then. He grew up in the country, and I grew up in the city. I always hung out with the popular kids, while he hung out with random groups. We were just different. Honestly, had we met in high school, I would have been a part of the group he hated, and he probably would have been someone who slipped under the radar altogether for me. So his trends and fads were a little different. For example, he cannot remember Skidz! Seriously? Was this just a Cincinnati thing? They were huge. And expensive, and the only place to buy them was Merry Go Round at the mall. Horribly baggy, tacky, flannel-ish pants. Most were plaid. The bigger the better. The overalls were my choice, with the drawstring cord at the waist, pulled tight enough to keep them from falling off. And there were rules to wearing them. 1.) Everything...and I mean everything...you wore with them had to be color-coordinated. My favorite pair was this green and royal purple plaid pair, and I had to have the Barney-purple shirt to go underneath. The look was completed with a pair of purple slouch socks showing over my pristine high-tops. And of course the logo was a Slippery When Wet street sign, and was sewn onto the inside of the bib of the overalls, which leads us to rule 2: You had to wear one strap down and one up, so the bib of the overalls artfully folded over to reveal the logo, lest someone would think you were wearing--gasp!--a pair of knockoffs. And finally rule 3: they had really wide legs, which was sooooo not the thing back then, so the ankles had to pegged and rolled, which we referred to as tight-rolling. Ha! I was so cool!

What about Guess overalls? I had those too, as seen here on Jon from New Kids on the Block. (Don't even ask about NKOTB--I never got into them, and was the only one who didn't, I think.) As a matter of fact, though mine were of a darker wash, this is the exact pair I had. Back then, Guess jeans were all the rage, and they were also pricey for the day: About $60 a pair, which was ridiculous for jeans back then. I remember my mom making me sneak them into the house and I had to cut the tags off and get rid of the evidence, lest my father see how much she paid for them. And if the jeans were that bad, then the overalls were even worse, which means I sported the ultimate status symbol at the time. Absolutely obnoxious.

So what else? What about Swatch watches? Colorful and plastic and ugly as Hell! And they had to have the colorful Swatch Guard to protect the cheap plastic face. I think the worst look ever was piling multiples of these fugly watches up one's arm. But we did it, as we did a lot of stupid stuff back then!

So this got me thinking: 20 years from now, what trends are we going to poke fun at? Is it the Crocs everyone wore? (And some still do.) You know, those started as a healthcare thing in my area, and I bought into it, too. No matter what obnoxiously bright set of scrubs I chose to wear for my shift, there was a pair to match. Hot pink, light pink, neon yellow, electric blue. And they were so comfortable and convenient that they started to invade my non-work-related life. Don't know how, but I think it started with me heading to the pool to swim laps--I could slip them on, they were waterproof, and thus I could wear them poolside without worry of their ruin. Before I knew it, they were on my feet for quick trips to the grocery store or the post office. And once you go there, you no longer care. But then the bubble burst. Hospitals realized that shoes peppered with holes were not the safest choice for their employees to wear. Then there was the myth of them generating static electricity and ruining expensive medical machinery. Now? They fill an enormous wicker basket in the back corner of my closet. In my home,the fate of the shoes has them reduced to what Evan wears to play outside. I quickly discovered that he can get them as muddy as he wants and I can just toss them in the washer. (Much unlike, say, a $100 plus pair of new Jordans!) Of course his rainbow of tacky shoes is much more limited than mine was: black, brown, navy, and royal blue.

Other than this, I don't think I buy into trends anymore. My daily uniform is a mix between Mommy-comfy and College-Kid-I-Don't-Care. Sweatshirts and a broken-in pair of jeans. Gym shoes or Birkenstock clogs. My hair is usually in a sloppy bun and my makeup routine is more of a quick brush with foundation and a dab of mascara. I don't see myself much differently when I visualize moving the calendar forward to 20 years from now. Thank God.

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