My Style Evolution: The Early Years

I was originally going to write this post about a pair of pleather pants I wore in college, but then I got to thinking about how my style has evolved over the years.

So, we will still get to the plastic pants… but let’s start a little earlier!

Okay, maybe not back this far. For some reason there is a little tickle in my memory that is telling me that I was dressed up as a bride. But in elementary school I really just wished I could dress up as some kind of combination of a Cabbage Patch Kid and Madonna. I even had a ‘punk’ party when I was 10 where I sprayed my side-ponytail pink and wore a bunch of plastic charm jewelry and jelly shoes.

I do have a photo of that, but there are too many other kids in it so I won’t share it here.

I’ll make it up to you though, which this inexplicable photo of me wearing a shirt with my own face on it.

And no, I have no recollection of this at all.

We will also fast-forward over middle school when I had a perm.

And this outfit that my grandma picked out with a hot pink suede mini skirt and matching turtleneck:

I can assure you; I never wore this outfit in public. However, as you can tell by the first perm pic, the hot pink turtleneck was a hit.

Once I hit high school, I was most definitely a jeans and t-shirt girl. Topped with a flannel because it was the early 90’s. There may have been a random jean skirt in the mix, but my sense of style was mostly shown through a pair of knock-off Chucks. I’m pretty sure they were from Payless. I think I had a plaid pair and possibly a bright pink pair at some point too.

Here’s proof of the plaid pair.

Once I hit college, I started to branch out a teensy bit. Most of the time it was still jeans and a t-shirt, but now it was topped with a ratty zip up hoodie. It was my dad’s at one point and was lined in long-john material and there were rips in the cuffs where I would stick my thumbs through.

I also started dying my hair odd colors. This was before fantasy colors was an easy thing to do – so I was stuck with the colors from Manic Panic that I would have to go to some sketchy smoke shop to get because internet shopping was also not a thing back then. I would bleach out strips of my hair with a drugstore highlights kit and then paint on purple (or green, or blue, or pink) Manic Panic.

Thankfully Instagram was also not a thing, so there are very few photos of my entire college experience.

I did have one black maxi skirt that I remember wearing with spaghetti strapped tank tops. But mostly it was jeans. As for shoes, I alternated between a pair of black Doc Martin boots (which I still own) and a pair of knock-off Birkenstocks that I covered in red glitter. OH and I just remembered there was at least a year where I wore men’s white v-neck t-shirts with my jeans. ALL the dang time.

And this brings us to my very vivid college outfit memory where I mixed things up a bit with a pair of pleather pants.

I purchased the black pleather pants from Sears. Back then, I was very slim and I remember shoving myself into these pants in a size smaller than usual and being thrilled that they fit. These pants were SO TIGHT that I had to put a Band-Aid over the inside of the button on the waist, because otherwise it would dig into my skin and leave a welt.

I remember wearing them to class one day with a belly sweater and Doc Martins. I thought I was channeling Liv Taylor from Empire Records… but in reality, the day turned warmer than I anticipated and I was hot, sweaty and super uncomfortable.  It has been over 20 years, and I can still remember dragging my pleather wrapped sweaty self up a hill on campus, wondering if I had enough time to change before my next class.

I pulled those pleather pants out again for Halloween to be a ‘fallen angel’ and felt like a million dollars. I remember feeling so dang cute in my skin tight plastic pants, a sparkly tube top and a pair of silver glitter thigh-highs that I had repurposed as arm warmers. There was also a halo and wings involved. As the kids say, it was a LEWK.

A couple years later, after college I wore those pleather pants as another Halloween costume (which I can’t remember at all), beer at some point spilled on them and at the end of the night they ended up balled up on the floor. The next morning, when I unballed them, the wet beer made the plastic pants stick together and they literally ripped apart in my hands.

I still remember being super bummed that these magical pants from college were no more. It’s fine though, that started my starting-my-first-job phase, which was a cornucopia of Banana Republic and J.Crew sale items. Perhaps that will be my next post, My Style Evolution: my 20’s. Where the pencil skirts were too short and I couldn’t walk in heels without looking like a baby deer.

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