September 15, 2010

Failed Hipster


Everyone has a movie that spoke to them as a teenager, right? The movie becomes the soundtrack of their youth, their generational touchstone. Reality Bites was like that for me. I watched a few clips from it the other day, and it got me thinking about 90s style.

I was a teenager in the 90s. Not a trendy teenager necessarily, but I felt really comfortable with how I dressed. I also attended an arts high school, so that may have helped - you could feel comfortable wearing just about anything there. Or nothing. Given the day.

Some of my favourite outfits still stick out in my mind. I had a pair of army pants that were so badly worn, they were 90% covered in colourful patches. My jeans were in a similar state of disrepair. I wore comfortable t-shirts, plaid shirts, cardigans, and combat boots. This was my uniform, and I loved it. I also wore dresses over pants like it was going out of business.... And I still like the look, honestly.

That's where I came from, stylistically. We're not talking high fashion here... We're just talking comfort. Grungy, riot grrrl, hippie comfort.

Now it's 2010 and I feel completely at a loss with what is in style. Hipster fashion, and I'm talking about the mainstream stuff, doesn't really gel with me. It's taken me a while to put my finger on it, but I think I've figured out why I'm having a hard time fitting in with this look: I find a lot of it genuinely unattractive.

Wearing ironic ugly things from the 80s doesn't sound fun to me. That stuff didn't flatter me back in the day, and it doesn't flatter me now.

Wearing straight legged jeans is cute, but wearing "skinny" jeans that are too tight to walk in comfortably? A little weird.

Lace and unitards: two things that will never look good together.

Short shorts that introduce me to your labia? Probably too short.

I could go on and on, but that would make me sound crochety. The thing is, plenty of people pull it off while still looking cute. Those people are not me.

I'm not even sure why it was bothering me that I didn't like this particular trend. Maybe I was worried that it would make me sound old if I said it out loud, which is silly, because I'm not old. I just like to be comfortable.

Watching Reality Bites again was a strange experience.... Because I identified so much with those characters, and damnit, their clothes made sense to me.

So now it's out in the open: I am still that grungy, riot grrrl loving hippie that I always was. I'm slightly less disheveled, and I have an extra wardrobe for the office, but I'm still me. When labia shorts go out of style, when unitards are shoved back into the shadowy recesses of people's closets, I'll still be here. And I'll be wearing comfortable jeans.


Mud Mama said...

It seems to me, child of the 80's who wore cowpunk hippe garb then, that the next trend WILL be the 90's riot grrl stuff.

I have two 17 year olds in the house - what they beat me up over getting rid of are my combat boots, kelly green docs, and silkscreened artist tshirts from Queen Street West. You can see their typical clothes on my blog on the first day of school pictures.

There will be no "jeggings" in this house.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hear you on the recycled 80s look...I walk by American Apparel almost every day and I think, geez, even if I *could* wear those things (my post-kids shape would be so wrong in those tube tops!) I wouldn't want to. But part of me finds it all funny because when I look at old pictures of my self (I was in high school in the first half of the 80s) I remember feeling at the time that wow, I looked really good. This, even though I had big 80s hair, asymmetical tops and legwarmers on, lol.

zoom said...

I love this post.

I wish I could be comfortably fashionable, but I can't. And if I can't be both, comfort will trump fashion every single time.

Anonymous said...

I have much to be grateful for in my life but near the top of the list is that I was pregnant and/or nursing for all but a few nanoseconds of the 1980's. I got to be comfy and unfashionable . . . Oh right, my natural state.


Nat said...

I hear you. I wonder if I can still pull off black leggings over a skirt. God I loved that....

(Also plastic jewelry, it was tacky even then. Really don't get it now.)

Comfy. All about comfy.