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 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

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Comments

  1. says

    Okay, I’ll admit it: I had a Jheri Curl! I messed up my share of furniture (and clothing, too). Definitely a mistake. I also had Jelly Shoes and, you’re right, they were hot! I loved those. They were the perfect buy for a teenager’s budget, not to mention comfortable (maybe not now that I’m older) and cute-looking!

  2. says

    Oh, the jelly shoes…  I LOVED my jelly shoes.  And stirrup pants.  Luckily, as a child of the late 80s, I was too young for most of the other trends you listed, but I found ways to look heinous anyway.  :)

  3. Rachel says

    I loved my jellies and acid washed jeans!! I was also a fan of the double laced sneakers. I think I wore all 3 of those items until they were in tatters and my mom couldn’t find replacements.

  4. jj says

    God I loved jellies.  What was I thinking?  I remember my feet were always so gross and sweaty that they would slide around in the shoes. 

    But you can add them to the list of things that may be coming back thanks to Marc Jacobs.

  5. says

    This is so ironic! My sister and I found a bag of old clothes at my dad’s house this weekend, and we were horrified at what we discovered:

    Pleated jean shorts with fold-over “collar” thing. You all know what I’m talking about. Oh, and they looked acid-washed. I think these were the holy-grail of ugly shorts.

    Culottes.

    Remnants of the neon-colored patterned fabric that my mother had made parachute pants from for me. My sis couldn’t believe we wore those colors.

  6. Bethany says

    I have to say I never wore Jellies. I never understood the appeal, but my older sisters never wore them.. and I only wore what they thought was cool. I did have a ‘bush’, as did my oldest sister, that sat right in front of my forehead like it had a life of it’s own. My other sister had the ‘wave’. Her hair had more Farah quality to it. We wore tight jean shorts to the knee, baggy t-shirts, sweatshirts that had been cut up, and the flannel shirts, Guess and Bongo jeans with the tapered leg or we would fold them so they would be tight at the ankle, and Keds of course. We didn’t get into too many of the really wacky fads. I dated a guy 2 years ago that still wore his acid-washed Guess jeans from high school that had pleats in the waist, so they were loose in the hips and tapered at the leg, with the weird pockets. He was confused as to why he couldn’t find any more like them now. Lost cause…

  7. Bethany says

    I have to say I never wore Jellies. I never understood the appeal, but my older sisters never wore them.. and I only wore what they thought was cool. I did have a ‘bush’, as did my oldest sister, that sat right in front of my forehead like it had a life of it’s own. My other sister had the ‘wave’. Her hair had more Farah quality to it. We wore tight jean shorts to the knee, baggy t-shirts, sweatshirts that had been cut up, and the flannel shirts, Guess and Bongo jeans with the tapered leg or we would fold them so they would be tight at the ankle, and Keds of course. We didn’t get into too many of the really wacky fads. I dated a guy 2 years ago that still wore his acid-washed Guess jeans from high school that had pleats in the waist, so they were loose in the hips and tapered at the leg, with the weird pockets. He was confused as to why he couldn’t find any more like them now. Lost cause…

  8. luv_my_junk says

    I had a pair of jellies that had a high-ish heel on them and wore them with my oversized tee and skin tight to the knee shorts that were rolled up…and I thought I was toooo cool!

    What about the tie things that went on the side of the t-shirt that made it look like it was tied in a knot? I had a million of those, one in every color…and hyper color??? I’m glad those went away, too!

  9. latoya krider says

    i remmeber them dem days i had to wear notin but jelly shoes. no im just playin im 14 so bye lol.

  10. RM Fearn says

    Awwww – younger girls look soooo cute with their hair crimped, particularly when set off with a mop cap.

  11. dollilou says

    I’d have to say that the most hideous fashion mistake of my life was moon boots.  Ohmygoodness!  Also, my brother’s wedding photos have memorialized my amazingly poodle-like ‘80’s hair.

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