Monday, January 28, 2008

Dodging A Bullet

Tip Of The Today: Thank God I’m cheap – truly bad fashions I narrowly avoided because they cost too much.

Tip For Tomorrow: “Let’s Go To The Mall!” It’s not just a song from How I Met Your Mother; it’s a call to arms.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: Lest ye think I am so consumed with being thrifty that I’m not equally obsessed with being fashionable, let me set your collective minds at ease. I heart fashion, sometimes to the exclusion of taste, age-appropriateness, and common sense. I get fixated on an item and cannot rest until it’s mine, even when it should never live in my closet, or anyone else’s, for that matter.

Fortunately, my thrifty upbringing has saved me from myself. Because boy howdy, there are trends I fell for that, upon reflection, were HEINOUS. But if they cost too much, and I couldn’t either A. find a knock-off cheap enough or B. con someone (like my brother) into buying it for me for Christmas, I slowly released my death grip on the fad.

Here are a few of the highlights, starting with my college years. I’m not even going to TOUCH on the 80’s – we all know how bad the “fashions” were. If we ignore them, perhaps they’ll stay dead. Except for leggings which, thanks to Lindsay Lohan, REFUSE TO DIE.

1. Combat boots, to wear with short, flowered dresses. Do you remember this look, spawned by 90210 and 90’s videos? The idea, to roughen up an ultra-girlie look, seemed like such a good idea. I LOOOVVVEEDD the thought that I, too, could look tough and sweet and deserving of a boy with sideburns, just like Brenda Walsh. Who, coincidently, was also from MN.
Doc Marten combat boots, in black (for maximum coolness), consumed my dreams for YEARS. However, they cost well over my allotted college shoe budget, and I couldn’t talk anyone into buying me a pair. Apparently, I look very bad in clunky chunky boots, combat or otherwise. I believe the words “gay super-hero” were once used to describe my appearance. Therefore, NO ONE would help me achieve my Brenda dream. Jerks.

2. Leopard-print pants and a cowboy hat. Clearly I should have never been allowed to watch Coyote Ugly. Oh, the fashion horrors which clouded my judgment in the wake of that show. All I wanted were skin-tight, wax-to-wear leather pants OR EVEN BETTER, leopard-print pants. I would pair them with a tight red tank top, a straw cowboy hat, and I would be SO HOT. I WOULD DANCE ON BARS, AND MEN WOULD LOVE ME.
Thank God I never found a pair of leopard print pants that fit me for less than $50. BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE BOUGHT THEM. AND WORN THEM. IN PUBLIC.
Thank God Part Two, my friends have pointed out just how bad I look in hats, cowboy or otherwise. It’s true – I just don’t have a good head for a hat. Tiaras, yes, hats, no.

3. Boho Chic. If it was good enough for Sienna Miller to wear, it was good enough for me. Who cared if my personal style always ran to kicky classics, funked up with sparkly objects (like the aforementioned tiara)? I needed to be a free-spirited goddess, dressed in prairie skirts, huge hip-slung belts (guaranteeing that NO ONE could miss the size of my ass), and embroidered tunics.
However, I missed the word Chic in all this. Chic, as fashion mags use it, translates to “you people in the fly-over states can’t and won’t pay for a style that asks you to spend gobs of money to look like a bag lady. Or an Olsen twin.” I could never afford to be Boho, and still pay my mortgage.
I recently read an interview with Sienna, and she said she dressed like that to mess with the paparazzi. She was TRYING to look bad, to see if they would still photograph her. Sadly, I don’t think the paps ever got the joke.

I won’t even go into the two-toned jeans I longed for in 8th grade, the wrap-around-the-ankle sandals and espadrilles I coveted for years (until I realized how hard they are to walk in), the corsets I (still kinda want, don’t tell) fondled at the Ren Fest – desperate to figure out a way that I could work them into my day-to-day wardrobe.

Now that I’ve shown you mine, why don’t you show me yours? What is the WORST thing you almost bought, but didn’t because you couldn't scrape together the funds? I can’t believe that I’m the only one who has been spared fashion humiliation by a strong frugal streak.


LaRue said...

OK, I actually wore combat boots, but they were a required part of the uniform. And damn if they weren't comfy. And I did indeed wear them with little flowered dresses on my time off. When I wasn't wearing sandals with straps.

Hmm. Worst thing. Probably a short cape. Because let's face it, all my 42DD chest needs is some more fabric draped across it, ending just at the fattest part of my ass. Because that is classy and tasteful. And I think the cape was just slightly too expensive and I was just slightly more interested in buying chocolate. So my fat ass saved me. Hoo-rah. (Or HUAH if we are referring to the combat boots.)

And I owned a bustier, and wore it in public, so I am feeling ashamed here. Then again, I didn't have the money to dress completely like Molly Ringwald, so that also saved me. But I did wear the hats.

Otherwise? Sadly I was in a fashion rut for about 10 years, so was able to successfully avoid fads by being completely unfashionable. And NO ONE should wear leggings unless you are 8.

A wise Cheap Chick once told me, "If you wore it the first time, don't wear it the second." And it was wise advice, and I followed it and thus I was fashionable, amen.

I think I have to go into my closet and hug my cashmere now.

Norwego said...

Back in junior high I coveted, COVETED, plaid stirrup pants. Worn with a humongeous baggy Express sweatshirt and scrunched up socks. I got the socks. I got several pairs of black stirrup pants. And one fateful Christmas I got that Express sweatshirt. Still no plaid. Finally my friends broke down and told me my ass was just way to big to wear plaid pants. I refused to believe them.
When the pants were finally accrued and people pointed out my enlarged ass to my face, I promptly threw them to the back of the closet.

OH but I loved that Express sweartshirt!!!

I also coveted a sweater from United Colors of Benneton, as that meant you were TRES CHIC if you had one of those in the Chicago suburbs (where I grew up). Sadly, I could never afford one.

Tundrababe said...

I have super-wide freak feet, so I never got Docs either...but it was more because they wouldn't fit me than me being poor/cheap.

There are a lot of RenFest items I have coveted but not purchased, and that's probably for the best. Oh, and I wanted some MC Hammer pants, but never got any, thank jeebus.

Michelle said...

In high school, I really wanted to have a pair of black Doc Martens combat boots , but my parents were too frugal. My mom found me a pair of faux Docs for $20. I wore them with my broomstick skirts and babydoll dresses. It wasn't the same, but I made it work. I was into the grunge look. It wasn't until college, that I got a pair of real Docs (with my own money).

I really wanted a pair of black leather pants, too. I could never find them cheap enough, either. And I always feared that I would get them stuck on me like Ross on "Friends."

In middle school, I wanted LA GEAR sneakers with three pairs of laces woven together on each shoe. I liked the floresent ones. They were way too expensive. I did, however, rock the Hammer pant.

As an adult the only trend I really want is a pair of brown Frye boots, but alas, they are way out my price range. :( Those aren't a bad trend, though.