My sometime-editor Emily McCombs from xoJane is one of my favorite writers. Seriously, she could write out her grocery list and I would be all about it. She recently rounded up the pop culture trends of the ‘90s that still influence her purchases and style today, and it got me thinking. I was a teen in the ‘00s, which in hindsight was a pretty godawful decade for fashion trends. That being said, there are still plenty of instances where I find myself drawn to things that were popular in my formative years.
Manolo Blahniks – When I was 14, I’d stay up late and sneak episodes of “Sex and the City” while my family was asleep. It felt deliciously naughty and inspiring at the same time. I wanted to grow up and move to New York and be a kookily-dressed writer like Carrie. (I still do, minus the New York part.) “Sex and the City” continues to be an influence on my life in a variety of ways, but if we’re talking style-wise, it’s Carrie’s obsession with Manolo Blahnik heels that I clung to most. I have now scavenged five pairs of Manolos of my very own, none for more than $50, and they are some of my prized possessions. They’re instant career-girl hotness. Oh, and if we’re talking my teenage years, yes, I do have the Manolo Blahnik Timberland boots that J. Lo and Beyonce wore. They are a teeny bit too small, but 2002 Kara did not give one fuck about that when 2012 Kara found them at Buffalo Exchange. Of COURSE I bought them.
Juicy suits – I’M SORRY. I was a teenager when Juicy suits blew up and I wanted nothing more than a suit in peacock blue. I remember waiting for my slow-ass dialup to load so I could show my mom a picture of Jennifer Lopez in that exact color. In junior high, we got in trouble constantly for wearing Abercrombie sweatpants that we rolled three or four times for maximum midriff exposure. Leisure was hot in the ‘00s. It’s no different today; teenage girls now wear head-to-toe Lululemon. Is Lulu the new Juicy? Regardless, I purchased a hot pink Juicy suit last spring and I call it Paris. I refuse to apologize for it. My last boyfriend thought it was hot. I like to wear the hoodie with cutoffs and ‘70s-style Candies heels. I’m trashy, I know. Juicy has since gone bankrupt and was sold to Kohl’s, much like its fellow ’00 brand Rock & Republic. I STILL THINK IT’S COOL.
Navel piercings – Every single starlet and popster had a belly ring. My two besties and I got ours done at 16 in emulation of Britney and Xtina, obviously. I took mine out at 21, but guess what I did at 25? Yep, repierced it. Whatever. I feel like I’m on “TRL.” Every girl in every saccharine pop video had her navel pierced with a sparkly, dangly diamond. It was the perfect accessory to our Superlow jeans and baby tees from American Eagle. (I will not wear either of those things today. You try squashing D-cup boobs into a tiny tee and get back to me.)
Uggs – I will never give up my Uggs. I live in Minnesota. They’re warm as fuck. You don’t need to wear socks with them. All-around perfection. I will not wear my Uggs ‘00s-style with a denim mini, though. I purchase a new pair every other year and wear them until they fall apart.
Louis Vuitton Murakami bags – Did you watch “Nick & Jessica: Newlyweds” when it aired? Of course you did. We all did. Remember Jess lugging those huge white Louis bags with candy-colored letters all over them? I still think about that bag. It was everywhere. It still is everywhere – I see terrible knockoffs at thrift stores constantly. Do I think about buying them? Sometimes. I want to take it camping like Jessica did.
Black nail polish – Remember when Chanel brought black polish back with “Black Satin” in 2006? I sure do. I coveted a bottle so badly, but never got one. I do like to get my nails done what I call “Kim Kardashian’s 2008 dark nails period black” though. Black nail polish has remained consistently trendy since the Chanel resurgence, so I’m not in the wrong here.
Ultra-straight flatironed hair – I haaaaated my waves in high school. Pin-straight shiny hair was in and I had coily, frizzy waves. I fought with a crappy flatiron trying to achieve Christina-style straightness and it never worked. Though I do love my waves now, I still covet that sleek straight style and request it at every haircut. The grass is always greener on the other side of a decade, isn’t it?