Remember When: Fashion
Nostalgia: the warm, yearning feeling that ensues when you think back to the simpler times of your life. Or, in some cases, the cringing feeling you get when you recall something from your past that up until now you’ve worked so hard to forget.
Either way, we can all agree that we’ve bonded with someone at one point or another over old times. I hope to do the same with you readers throughout the quarter with this column. Through covering topics like fashion, music and movies, I invite you to bond with me — whether you miss these old moments or count your blessings they’re over is up to you — as we go back in time to the ’90s-’00s.
So let’s talk fashion. I’m talking about the short-lived trends that we all conformed to in elementary and middle school, as well as some of the notorious duds we’ve seen our childhood idols rock but never wore because our parents wouldn’t let us.
Here’s one for the boys: frosted tips. All the boy bands of the new millennium like Backstreet Boys sported this spiked hair, bleached top look, and you’re lying if you say you haven’t gone blond at the tips or at least knew someone who had. Or, if you have no idea what I’m referring to, imagine someone who got electrocuted and as a result had their hair sticking straight up with the tips shocked to an almost platinum-blond. And while we’re discussing hair, let’s not forget the blond highlight trend that circulated amongst the male and female crowd. I myself had blond streaks running through my dark hair in seventh grade and have since shredded all photographic evidence.
Gaucho pants were another short-lived trend that I confess I conformed to. Long, flowy cotton pants that stopped at mid-calf and billowed out, so that when you stood with your legs together you could fool people into thinking you were wearing a long skirt. Traditional colors included black and navy, but as if the pants didn’t look crazy enough, some stores produced patterned ones. Anyone who wore gaucho pants looked like a cross between a hippie and a gypsy, but they were soft and comfortable — a lot more comfortable than, I admit, the super-tight skinny jeans we all wear today.
My favorite trend of back then: chokers. These neck-huggers were the staple of every third-grader’s wardrobe and no one would be caught dead without one on the playground. One choker in particular was seen on every girl: the stretchy black plastic choker that looked tattoo-ish in all its intricate twists and loops. You could wear your choker with any outfit and some were even adorned with multicolored beads. Other chokers included hand-sewn “friendship” necklaces and, if you were extra stylish, necklaces with flower or star charms dangling off the ends.
And you know you can’t talk about nostalgic fashion without discussing the ’90s obsession with bare midriffs. The pop icon that comes to mind when I think crop tops and high-waisted jeans? The Queen of Pop herself, Britney Spears. Who could forget Britney’s “Baby One More Time” music video where she struts through the school halls in her schoolgirl shirt or dances outside in her neon pink crop top? That’s right: no one. During the time showing a little tummy was “the thing,” it was also every mother’s nightmare, and my mom forbade me from cutting a couple inches off my shirt. It died out quickly, but will always be remembered.
Diving into the old issues of ’90s magazines like Tiger Beat is kind of embarrassing if you recognize a few of the trends from your old closet, but at least it was something you liked at the time. And you can’t really ever let go of the things you once cherished … and that’s why you must remind your friends about their childhood haircuts and clothes constantly.