What's The Weirdest Article of Clothing You've Ever Bought?
Today I’ll take a turn at playing Tell Me Another, the card game of storytellers and fibbers alike. It will give you an idea of the kinds of story prompts you’ll find when you buy the original game from the shop.
Let me tell you the one about the weirdest article of clothing I ever bought. I was about 16, and had the newfound freedom to select and purchase my clothes owing to the fact that I held a part-time job.
The year was 1978, and it was the era of disco, polyester that looked very polyester, feathered bangs, the Dorothy Hamill haircut, and leisure suits. As I look at old photos, I can see that my take on the fashion trends during that time favored the heavy-framed glasses and a tight perm of my extremely fine, long hair. Today, the Bohemian look of the 1970s has apparently returned, which shows how fashion cyclically repeats itself.
Of all my missteps I took in personal style over the years, the one I remember most is the green romper in the summer of ‘78. It was a hot day, and I was in band camp, which included a gathering of local high school students around Des Moines. We were practicing pieces to perform for an end-of-summer show, and met each afternoon for about a week at Drake University.
The romper was a terrycloth number made of a stretchy polyester blend. It was one-piece comprising shorts and strapless coverage for the top. In the proper setting at the beach or pool, the garment would have been fine. However, for reasons I don’t recall, I elected to wear it to band camp on a summer day.
To accentuate the outfit, you need to picture the frame that was wearing it. I was thin, 5’8”, with breasts enough that I presented with cleavage in this item. But more than anything else, I was extremely white, anemically so, my legs roughly the color of Elmer’s glue. My color was so stark that the ONLY thing more neon than my skin was the green of the terrycloth romper.
At some point during the day, to my credit and dismay, I realized that I was underdressed. I don’t remember that anyone said anything, neither the students nor the band teacher.
But there still came a moment when I could feel myself shrink inside as it occurred to me that I was wearing an outfit that over-exposed my body. It was uncharacteristic that I purchased the romper in the first place. These were the days when tans were still in fashion and my white skin stood out even more during the summer. I usually preferred to stay completely covered.
But what I remember more than the article of clothing was that moment when I felt suddenly uncomfortable. I felt vulnerable, like I needed to cover every inch of my femaleness. It was something I felt often as a young woman.
Beyond the Tell Me Another Moment shared here, I’d like to riff on the topic of strange fashion in more general terms. It’s funny to look at our individual choices and think, “I thought THAT looked good?” As you think about your fashion past, what is your biggest fashion misstep or success?
I found this post over at Ranker, “The 17 Dumbest Fashion Trends in History” by Lisa Waugh, to be a funny read that you’ll want to check out. There have been some crazy fashion influences from past centuries, without a doubt.
The history of bound feet in Japan, for instance, always appalls and amazes me. As another example, the codpiece is a strange fashion accouterment. I’m glad it’s out of fashion.
What have been your favorite fashion items? What has been timeless for you? What are some fashions you’ve gladly left behind?