Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fashion: Trapped in the Eighties

The 1980s took me from age fourteen to age twenty-five. I'm guessing that those are the critical fashion-imprinting years, especially for those who, like me, never update their fashion eye. The decade seems to have provided me with a set of style guidelines that my mind persists in seeing as "right," no matter how emphatically modern fashion disagrees.

Mom Jeans: For example, have you seen the page "Mom Jeans and the Dreaded 'Long Butt'" on Grasping for Objectivity? It's a great piece of writing. I should find it persuasive. The problem is that when I scroll through it, looking at the Before and After photos, the Before photos are the ones that look "right" to me. Yes, they show a "long" line for the hips. A longer line that starts narrower and then curves out. To my eye, this makes the wearer's hips look narrower, and narrow hips seem to be a universal desire. Plus, it just looks "right" to me, but of course I can't trust that fact. Modern hipster jeans, by contrast, produce a sort of wide slice-of-paving-stone hip shape, a shape that may well look "right" forever to anyone going through their teens and early twenties in this decade.

Now, just yesterday I nudged Himself to tell him, "There's the one girl who looks good in hipster jeans!" I was referring to a young woman wearing a slightly but not excessively form-fitting knit shirt that followed the curve from her narrow waist to the point where it was tucked into jeans that were almost at the widest point of her narrow hips. She looked great. Having her waist and a large portion of her hips outlined by a simple shirt made that curve far more visible than it would be if it were broken in the middle by a pair of jeans. But the whole look was a death-defying act that required absolute perfection of tone and curves, and not a millimeter of abdomen fluff. I could appreciate it the way that I appreciated the street performer juggling a chainsaw the day before. But to me, it has no more to do with real life than the street performer did.

(No, my town doesn't have people juggling chainsaws in the street. I'm on vacation. Woo! Nearing the end of vacation. Grumble.)

So I continue to wear Mom jeans. And, even more offensive to modern style, I sometimes tuck my shirt in. Which leads to another eighties imprint:

The Tucking Issue: When I was growing up, shirts with curved tails were tucked in. Period. Now, that's not to say that they really were always tucked in, but they were supposed to be tucked in. If you cared even a little bit about looking neatly and properly dressed, you tucked the thing in. I continue to be startled by beautifully-dressed women who, by evidence of being beautifully-dressed, obviously consider an untucked curved tail to be entirely appropriate.

The Sticking Out Issue: And then there are all the women, sometimes it seems a majority of women, who layer a shorter shirt on top of a longer one. I know that the line of fabric below the shorter shirt is a conscious choice, but I can't seem to get over the assumption that the wearer put on her layers in the wrong order, or forgot to tuck them in, or both.

What else? What else? That's all for now, but no doubt I will have further evidence of fashion backwardness on my part.


  1. I am still heavily imprinted with the tucking in issue, but am working the layered look like a good 'un. And I think I have grasped all those points about avoiding mom jeans - to my great surprise!

    Am sharing that guide on FB - thanks. ;-)

  2. I still want back my bell bottoms, and my long tunic blouses.

    Hell, I still wear tie-dye. It's in again (or, it WAS).

  3. Yo, Vanessa! I still haven't achieved the layered look, except occasionally by accident. ("Sweater's too short. Well, that's supposed to be OK. Stop trying to pull it down!!")

    I'm wearing Mom jeans, though. Shirt not tucked in - does that hide it, or can the fashion-forward Sense the Momness all the same?

  4. Hey, Goddess! Hee. I think bell bottoms are, or recently were, back, too. And I love tie-dye, whether it's in or out.