Fashion Sins I Committed In High School
Somewhere in between wearing overalls with one strap unfastened and… now, was high school–a time when my vanity (100%) and style (0%) were drastically disproportionate to one another. I was afflicted with Body Dysmophic Disorder’s conceited fashion twin – the worse I looked, the hotter I thought I was. Here are the fashion mistakes I made as a teen.
Wearing pajama pants as real pants: I can’t imagine what my rationale for this sartorial choice was. “If I wear nighttime garb to school, guys will imagine being in bed with me and… ask me to a movie?” After all, is there anything sexier than a teenage girl wearing maroon PJs adorned with assorted dogs? …Hopefully.
T-shirts: I owned a variety of tee shirts–some were sexually inappropriate and said things like, ‘Slippery When Wet,’ some were ringer tees that clung to my bicep and depicted something nostalgic that I wasn’t even alive for, like Hong Kong Phooey. I had a red t-shirt with a silver Superman ‘S’ on it that I wore on picture day despite my indifference toward superheroes. I basically owned every t-shirt sold in Hot Topic, Mr. Rags, Zumiez, and on occasion, Spencer’s. Shudder.
Jesus Is My Homeboy T-Shirt: I think you’ll agree that Jesus Is My Homeboy tees and the people who wore them have their own circle of hell reserved. This shirt was the perfect uniform to wear when parading my special brand of teenage hypocrisy: I hated church, I hated religion, and if Jesus weren’t such a chill wino, I’m sure I would’ve rallied against him, too. And yet! Did a week go by that I didn’t wear that shirt? Did I not, after determining that the shirt was ‘a hit,’ go out and purchase the complementary Mary Is My Homegirl shirt? You know I did. I’m just going to throw it out there that I was… young? That’s a good enough excuse, isn’t it?
Dog tags: Allow me to say that, in my (almost) 25 years, I’ve never done anything quite as moronic ‘in the name of love’ as go to the mall and get some guy’s name engraved on a dog tag and then proceed to wear it to school (sometimes beneath my shirt–closer to my heart and all that). The guy didn’t have to be my boyfriend, or even someone I’d made out with–just someone who I had a crush on. This was my way of saying, “Hey, I’m a hormonally-imbalanced psycho and OH MY GOD PLEASE, DON’T READ MY NECKLACE.” If I really liked the guy, I’d get a dog tag dotted with a cubic-zirconia for an extra $2. In my defense, engraved dog tags didn’t cost more than $5. My parents are selling their house and recently unearthed one of my dog tags that was engraved, “Save the world, baby. Save the world,” which I believe was ad copy from a Nike commercial that was popular back then. In other news: yes, I am a tool, and no, I have no shame.
UFO pants: Sure, I’d never been to a rave, but I wore UFOs with a sense of misplaced pride. It was just too cute to roll on E in pink raver pants, even if I was actually just going to school or hanging out around a bonfire in my friend’s backyard. The ‘room-y’ nature of these pants also made it easier to steal things from the mall.
Anything with a name brand on it: It didn’t matter what the article of clothing was, if it fit, where it came from, how old it was – if I could become a walking billboard for a corporation by wearing it, GIMME. Men’s Tommy Hilfiger polo? Check. Fleece GAP hoodie that said, “GAP” on the front in deliberately large lettering? Yup. Child-sized Northface bubble jacket that would cease to fit if I gained five pounds? Why the hell not. My mother enforced a strict “no brand-whore” policy while raising me, but her influence was moot once I began raking in a cool $250 every two weeks – selling my soul and French Fries at our local McDonald’s. I could finally afford all of the Macy’s clearance rack items I’d dreamt of. I was Nouveau Riche in its lowest form – teenager.
Pedal Pushers: Popularized during the ‘50s by bicyclists, ‘Pedal Pushers’ resurfaced in the early 2000s and were embraced by teenage girls who detested shorts (there were a lot of us). Wearing Pedal Pushers in the warmer months was totally on-trend – except if you were tall and unaware that you needed a longer inseam than most. Like moi. The Pedal Pushers would always hit mid-knee, and I always looked heinously gawky in them. They were the too-tall, awkward cousin of jorts.
Von Dutch Everything: I blame Jessica Simpson or Justin Timberlake or whoever’s fault it was—you steered America wrong. The week of my 16th Christmas, I remember coming off of some god-awful flu and heading straight 2 da mall to spend that Christmas cash I’d been sitting on all week. I spent $60 dollars on a two-toned (yellow, turquoise) Von Dutch hat. To be fair, the turquoise part was made of some kind of crushed-velvet material, which totally warrants my spending $60 on a trucker cap. I also owned a Von Dutch bowler bag, which was regifted to me brand-new by a friend who obviously knew much more about fashion than I did.
You can also read Fashion Sins I Committed As A Tween.
It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
By Devon Oyler
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.