New Year, New You: Worst Fashion Mistakes

The New Year is the perfect time for reflection, and goal setting. This week,I spent some time reflecting on my (un) fashionable pasts. We all have unfashionable secrets lurking in our closets. Some remain hidden, only to be revealed during holiday dinners and visits from parents. Some leave their mark, like a tattoo of an armadillo received during a very unfortunate trip to Cancun. Embarrassment, like misery, loves company so if you have some of your own to share feel free to post them below. I promise not to laugh.


Crimped Hair.Inspired by the movie, “Howard the Duck”, I spent hours in the bathroom crimping my hair with a $4.95 Conair Crimping Iron. Who knew that the “electrical shock” look would inspire a generation of bathroom beauticians.

80’s Career Blouses. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get the “fema-tie” part correct- the resulting tie always looked like something worn by Colonel Sanders. I should have just said “No”.
Acid Wash Jeans. My favorite pair was a pair of blue acid washed jeans by Guess! I loved those jeans so much that I would gently wash the jeans by hand and then hang them in the bathroom to dry. I cried when my brother, angry at me for “borrowing ” his black polka shirt, shrunk them.

Jheri Curl Admit it, in the early 80s you wanted a curl. The amount of activator sold in the 1980’s could have moisturized the world’s children. Afraid of what the activator juice would do to our furniture, my parents vetoed the hair style, but did allow me to get a “dry” curl aka a “Wave Nouveau (basically a curl minus the greasy activator).

Stirrup Pants. I was working at Lerner’s New York (now called NY & Company) in the mid 1990’s when these pants were H-O-T! I remember one Saturday a vicious argument broke out between two customers over the last pair of medium-tall black stirrup pants. Lucky for me (but unlucky for my fashion health), I scooped up four pair (black, cream, navy blue, and hunter green) as they were unpacked in the back room. Update: They may be coming back.

Parachute Pants I’m still suffering from post-traumatic-fashion stress from wearing these pants. However for a period of time in the early 1990s, these pants were a staple of my wardrobe (soon to be replaced by flannel shirts). The remaining stock should have been burnt after Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo.Update: These may be coming back as well.

Jelly Shoes Something is wrong when your shoes can double as lunch containers. Nonetheless, I rocked my $.99 jelly shoes like they were the hottest things since the sequined glove. I like to think of them as my Manolo’s of the 80s.

Feel offended by my critique of the Jheri Curl? Want to Express New Year, New You: Worst Fashion Mistakes your love for Parachute Pants? Have a topic you would like me to address? Post your fashion mistake below.

Some portions of this entry originally appeared on May 5, 2005