Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rockin' the 90s

It's homecoming week here at THE high school. That means things like "tacky day" and "sports fan" day have been going on all week. So today is "Decades Day." Each grade level is dressed in a way that they believe represents a different decade; the freshman are 50s, the sophomores are 70s, the juniors are 80s, and the seniors are 90s. How is it possible to have 90s day when the 90s are barely over? Or at least, that's what I like to tell myself. The kids could not figure out exactly what to wear to look "so 90s," either. A lot of things have changed for the worse since that decade, but at least our clothes are not that different.

For most of my childhood, my parents would load us into the car (sans seatbelts, a la the 70s), and drive us over to my grandmother's house for Sunday lunch. She had a crock pot full of chili, the world's tiniest yet somehow bottomless Corningware sweet tea pitcher, and a cabinet coffee table whose innards were packed with old magazines. By the time I was in middle school, the 80s were in full swing, and I would look at those 70s magazines with a mixture of horror, fascination, and pity. I can clearly remember thinking how bad everyone looked, with their flat bangs and their earth-toned makeup. I also thought the people in the pictures looked old for their age, and I nodded smugly to myself when I thought about how much better we looked now. When I saw people in the real world who still had that 70s look, I was baffled about why they wouldn't get with the fashion program. I couldn't understand how someone could get stuck in a decade that had, quite frankly, seen its better days.

Now I tend to see the 90s as a golden era. Everything was good about the 90s: the 80s were over (never underestimate the goodness of the 80s ending), Bill Clinton was president (I drove to Little Rock at midnight with my roommate, Laura, to see and hear Bill Clinton give his acceptance speech), a lot of great music was being made. It was also an amazing time in my life. I spent the first four years of the decade in college, immersed in ideas, tending bar, experiencing life outside the bubble in which I was raised. Sure, there was some painful stuff along the way, but it was growth and for the most part, I reveled in every minute of it. In the mid 90s, I married the love of my life, and I rounded out the decade by having my first baby. It was a good ten years.

I haven't been participating in the dress days this week, but I couldn't resist 90s day. I suspect that my look is still fairly 90s anyway. How could I pass up an excuse to wear jeans and a black tee, my uniform of choice, with my black Dansko clogs and, the piece de resistance, my biggest, most-loved dangly stone-metal-and-bead earrings from the good old days? No the jeans aren't acid washed, and the tee doesn't hit me at mid-thigh, but my outfit is my millennial version of the 90s look. Hopefully, that means my look isn't completely stuck in the decade of my glory days, even if my heart is.

8 comments:

Stephanie said...

Where was your flannel shirt, woman?! That's what I remember about college- flannel shirts and hiking boots.

RJA said...

She's past the point of wearing my wardrobe.

Rita.the.bookworm said...

I got married in '91, graduated in '92 had Alex in '94 and Katie in '99, so really, I don't have many lucid memories of the '90's. I know I worked a lot.

I'd have been all over the '80's though. I loved the red sparkly rollerskates and the feathered hair. I really had it all figured out in the 80's. But, as time passes, my Cher dresses grew into Tina Turner dresses and they grew into Queen Latifah dresses and I'm just trying to keep them from growing into Rosie O'Donell dresses ('cause, like, she doesn't wear dresses). I'd love to go back to the late '80's for a little while.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

It was too hot for flannel. I did have a kid in a Red Hot Chile Peppers shirt with a flannel tied at the waist, though.

I graduated high school in 1990, so nothing about the late 80s appeals to me, really. I spent those years wanting OUT.

Elizabeth Alley said...

as i like to say, aaahh, the 90's - it was a simpler time. here's what i would've worn - my uniform in college: jeans with paint all over them, a blue t-shirt under a blue flannel shirt, brown doc martens - shoes not boots.

Secret Agent Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Secret Agent Mom said...

Hmm, if I were to recreate my wardrobe of the '90s I'd have to wear a theater major.

auteur paresseux said...

I graduated in 91 and last year we had our 15 year reunion. Each year at my school (a small all girls school in suburban Chicago) they do a senior slide show the night before graduation, which they showed again at our reunion. It was hilarious! Our hair was so big and frizzy curly. I still don't know how we got our bangs to stand up that high and stay there. I love the 90's. It was a great decade.