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The Big Question: Burn Those Photos Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Burn Those Photos Edition

I think I’ve mentioned before that I was not always the fabulously appointed style maven you have all come to know and well, if not love, then tolerate and occasionally pity.

First there was the 80’s, or as I like to call them the “Acid Washed Puff Paint Over-Sized Sweatshirt and Scrunchie Years” also? There were stirrup pants.

THEN came the 90’s. I divide these between the pre-Nirvana “Someday Axl Rose and I WILL Be Together and I’ll Wear That Wedding Dress With The Front Cut Out And I Won’t Invite YOU, Grandma, Since You Tried To Throw Out My Favorite Guns N Roses T Shirt Because You Thought It Wasn’t Ladylike to Wear a Picture of a Human Heart With A Knife Through It EVEN THOUGH IT WAS SURROUNDED BY ROSE PETALS AND WHAT’S MORE LADYLIKE THAN THAT???” years and the grunge years, which saw my grandfather mysteriously lose about 85% of his flannel shirts.

I know I’m not alone. I KNOW you all have made horrible, eye-searingly bad fashion choices and for today’s big question I want to know the dirty, filthy, scrunch-sock and velvet top hat details.

Today Miss Plumcake Wants to Know:

What is your all-time WORST fashion mistake? Can it POSSIBLY beat my black stretch satin and gold lamé toreador outfit, complete with matching hat AND bugle-beaded capris?

31 Responses to “The Big Question: Burn Those Photos Edition”

  1. Leah September 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    BANGS!!! I’ll have to find my 8th grade photo… Not only do I have the “crashing wave” bangs and a perm (which complimented my braces) I’m also wearing a goldenrod/mustard colored mock turtle neck with shoulder pads. And you know what? It was 1994. Yeah.

  2. Janey September 10, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    I have some very bad pictures which the lovely Miss Plumcake will add if she is not blinded. Despite the evidence of your eyes, I WAS NOT ACTUALLY ON DRUGS.

  3. Deborah September 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    1981: tapered Levi’s, Frye boots, men’s dress shirt, men’s suit vest… Annie Hall gone horribly wrong! Ha!

  4. demjen209 September 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    First day of school (which we all know is a very important outfit!) sometime in elementary school – my parents have a picture of me wearing a black-and-neon-colored New Kids on the Block t-shirt, neon-colored leopard-print spandex biker shorts, black keds, ankle socks, and of course, the ubiquitous scrunchy. Thankfully, the picture is safely buried in a drawer all the way across the country.

  5. jelodi September 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    White moon boots, acid washed cling-to-my-ass jeans, and a black sweatshirt with a shiny gold tiger head screen printed on the front. Add in some super dangly earrings and a perm.

  6. Jane September 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    Orange pantsuit. Needless to say, it was the ’70s. In my defense, it was a hand-me-down from Cousin Margaret, whose parents were rich and who looked great in orange. I do not look great in orange.

    I spent most of sixth grade in super-tight corduroy pants and an orange Charlie Brown T-shirt (I still did not look great in orange) that said “How can we lose if we’re so sincere?” In an example of the fact that good can come from the worst misdeeds, a minister friend of my parents’ saw the shirt one time, liked the slogan and built a sermon around it.

  7. Cat September 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm #

    Fluorescent yellow parachute pants. With a matching purse. And a zebra-striped jacket. And spiky hair. Oh, yes. I went there. In my defense, it was 1984.

  8. KellyGirl September 10, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    I think some of my biggest fashion mistakes have involved bodysuits. And I’m old enough that I have two rounds of bodysuit related incidents.

    Between 6th and 8th grade we were still at the tail end of disco and unfortunately, I lived near a Danskin outlet. So there were lots of shiny bodysuits and wrap-around skirts. I think the worst outfit was for my first Junior High dance – a shiny rust colored bodysuit with an elasticized peasant neckline along with a rust and blue plaid full skirt and matching puffy-sleeved tie-front jacket.

    Then in the late ’80s/early ’90s the bodysuit resurfaced again. My favorite being a black velvet one that laced up the front. I thought I was very cool wearing it with cutoff corduroys and a studded belt with black tights and Doc Martens.

  9. Mrs. Hendricks September 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    We were at our friend’s wedding in Mexico City in 1992 and thought it would be a good idea to wear what can only be described as a clownish, garish printed one-piece “jumpsuit,” though in retrospect it appears as if it is an adult “onesie.” The horror, the horror! And of course there are photos, but not in our posession: again, the horror.

  10. Evie September 10, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Flourescent pink shiny leggings. With oversized pastel tshirt with tigers screenprinted on the front. With matching purple tshirt ring, so that the extra baggage of said tshirt is tied off jauntily to the side.

    On a separate occasion, a three piece ensemble consisting of ill fitting black trousers, equally ill fitting fake bustier top, floor length black sheer mesh coat (with lapels!) thing. I think it was XOXO, and it was definitely the late nineties. I wore it with dark red lipgloss and thought I was hot shit at the middle school dance.

  11. Sniper September 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Black stirrup pants with big sweaters. I wore this combination to tatters during my first year of university.

  12. Bree September 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    I was in Catholic school (although not Catholic) until 7th grade. So I had no sense of style when I entered 8th grade public school because we had to wear uniforms. One of my outfits consisted of an oversized pink button down shirt, paired with an acid wash jean skirt, powder blue Reebok hi-tops and pink socks that matched my shirt. This was 1988, when acid wash anything was all the rage.

    Another fashion faux pas were what I call “genie pants,” inspired by MC Hammer and were quite popular in the early 90s. They were baggy in the thigh and had tapered legs that came to a point. I had a white pair with fuschia flowers, and it came with a matching top. I wore this to a high school dance in 1990. I thought I was hot stuff when I actually was a hot mess.

  13. Jalilifer September 10, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    In 1984, I proudly wore THE best party jeans EVAR. They were high-waisted and baggy at the knee, and tapered at the ankle. They had pockets across the knees. Pockets big enough that you could put 2 beers in each one! And they had hardware! Grommets!! And I wore them with a large white T that said “PARTY NAKED” in big, bold black letters. And a pair of fake Vans and painters cap that were both black and white check.

    Thank the heavens above that none of us were rich enough to own a camera that summer!

  14. MM September 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    Once in high school my friends and I decided to put together some punky weird outfits to wear to school the next day. (Yes, this was the 80’s.) I decided it would be a good idea to take a pair of capris that I had–they were pinstriped denim–and bleach every other stripe using a paintbrush. Even though I washed them 3 times before wearing, the odor which emitted from them completely overtook the fashion statement I was trying to make in pairing them with an Outback Red sweater, dangly earrings, and a long strand of silver disco-balls. I was seated in each class for about 3.5 minutes before I heard, “EEWWWWW what is that smell?????”

  15. Bobbi September 11, 2008 at 2:09 am #

    Acid wash jeans with a lace strip down the seam, which I pegged and rolled. This was junior high before my working life began, so I filched a huge pair of gym socks from my Dad’s drawer and slouched them on in lieu of leg warmers. My hair was (and is) very curly and I was growing it out at the time so I held back my bowl cut with a rolled up bandana. I tended towards all purpose, baggy t-shirts as my go to top.

    I also, gulp, own a pair of pleated, tapered sweat pants with a garish garanimals print of train engines spattered all over them. -To my 13 year old brain in the late eighties, those pants were amazing.

  16. supasam September 11, 2008 at 4:42 am #

    Luckily I was a small child in the 80’s and can dismiss most of that era because when you are small things that normally look horrific tend to be more endearing.

    However, my grunge years are a whole other story. I only purchased mens pants because girls jeans sat to high on the waist, and I only wore them oversized. I had a few fitted tops (and bodysuits – of course), but my wardrobe consisted mostly of long sleeve (and short sleeve) collared button ups in plaid, flannel, flannel plaid, cord, check, floral and plain. Some of the tops were stolen from grandpa, some were so old that they were held together with safety pins, none of these tops had darts – it wasn’t until 9th grade that I learned I had a waist.

    But it gets better. I wore my mans pants (my favorite were a pair of grey cargo shorts that were just like a pair I saw Eddie Vedder – of Pearl Jam – wear), with one of my long sleeved, collared, button up shirts, with a separate, loudly patterned, short sleeved, collared, button up shirt on top of it – but I would never button it all the way so that I could show off my choker (the shame). Add to that some converse, vans, or airwalks, rainbow colored (and often chipped) nail polish, and a changing array of hair colors. I was the queen of grunge at my school.

  17. ChaChaHeels September 11, 2008 at 7:49 am #

    There was a moment in the late 70’s/early 80’s when all things New Romantic were in style.

    I wore a lot of knicker pants then, I had one pair in particular, black, that I bought from a pseudo Japanese store called Parachute. They snapped closed at the back, had pleats emanating from a yoke at the front, and came to a halt with bands that snapped closed and sat just under my knee. I wore them with strange, dressy things, like tops that had the Princess Diana high collared frilled neckline, along with sheer black hose and black high heeled, open toed patent leather pumps (which I actually wish I still had). For going out underaged to dance clubs, I’d add a headband (yeah), put on a ruffly top that showed decolletage, and glitz things up with gold coloured earrings and brooches and eyeshadow.

    But I had just escaped from Catholic school and it was my last year of high school, my first year of high school clothing freedom. I’d tell you what I wore to “insult” my Catholic school uniform, but really it was just so bad all I could do was accessorize with inappropriate red suede boots and bright green socks, or my mom’s vintage black suede pumps from the 60’s, which I really destroyed with my daily wear. I’d take off my red, grey, yellow and white plaid blazer (with solid red coloured lapels, I kid you not people–all this worn with a yellow tie and grey flannel kilt) and put on a denim jacket with “Sex Pistols” cafepressed across the back (I honestly thought it looked better. Still do). I can still remember my math teacher crossing, and then rolling, his eyes at the zebra striped oversized plastic clutch I used for carrying my books.

    I am so glad all that’s over.

  18. Sashibala September 11, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    My whole life was (and still is but to a lesser degree) riddled with fashion mistakes and I make no apologies for it. :) My worst offense, though, was in junior high. It was around 1987 and one of my favorite outfits was a bright pink cotton sundress over an eggplant purple cotton tank top over a turquoise blue t-shirt with slouch socks to match the t-shirt and one pink tennis shoe and one purple tennis shoe. I furthered my accessories with a pair of earrings that were 1-inch metal globes… seriously, globes of the earth… which matched my color pallette. I, too, had the permed hair and big bangs with the big ol’ glasses.

    I could list several more but I’ll stop with just that one horror story.

  19. jenniferb September 11, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    two come to mind:

    1. a short, tight pink halter top, a pink leather miniskirt borrowed from my sister-in-law, and pink hightop Reeboks, to some metal show and out to a club afterward. I felt so cute! I also had some pink lowrise bellbottoms that I wore with that same halter top all the time. probably barefoot. clearly I had no shame.

    2. a long black skirt, black legwarmers, black stiletto pumps, and a long black silky scarf tied around my wrist. I can’t remember the top but I’m sure it was black! this was apparently a Steve Nicks phase.

  20. Smili September 11, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    I refuse to classify any of my clothes as mistakes. They made me feel like a goddess. And that’s the point of any fashion, ever, at any time.

  21. TeleriB September 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    School uniforms through high school. Jeans and T’s or sweaters through college and yea, into grad school. What is this ‘fashion’ of which you speak, this ‘style’?

    I did have a few horrible 80s pieces but luckily few occasions on which to display them. Let me say – gold lamé pants in gym class? Bad idea.

  22. Sarah September 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    Long knit skirts with black tights, slouch socks, and reebok hightops. Oh the shame.

  23. JaneC September 12, 2008 at 2:36 am #

    Purple shiny leggings and a black t-shirt with glow-in-the-dark constellations printed on it. Green stirrup pants with green and white horizontal-stripe shirt and black ankle boots. Turquoise denim shorts with a matching floral shirt and a wide cloth belt, with jelly sandals. All in the same year. In my defense, I was twelve. The next year my mother took me in hand and began to make sure that any objectionable clothing items met with an “accident” in the laundry.

  24. Z. September 12, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    Two words, ladies: t-shirt slides.

    You know, those plastic things you threaded the bottom of your t-shirt into, so that it pulled to the side to make a tail? I had about 500 of those, in varying neon colors, which I would tug my New Kids on the Block t-shirt through, or that one black t-shirt with the neon puffy paint and silver lame bows stuck on it at random intervals. That was when I lived in stirrup pants, my pink & white LA Gears with the extra laces, and slouch socks of various colors that I would stack on top of each other (different pattern on each leg, of course – left leg: white, green, white, right leg: green, white, green). That was elementary school.

    Then came middle school – the leggings worn with those weird tunic tops that might’ve been dresses but weren’t (Angela Chase wore a plaid one), and the slouchy socks, and the construction boots. Most loved accessory: sullen expression.

    I hit my Gother Than Thou phase in high school, which somehow ended up in me seriously being voted Best Dressed my senior year (yeah, I don’t know either) – I was partial to anything velvet (still am), so you’d often find me tromping around in my 20i Docs, one of several pairs of strange tights (my favorite being a black pair covered in cobalt blue butterflies that got ruined when I had to yank them off one night to wrap around a friend’s car’s radiator hose in order to hold it long enough to get us home – ingenuity for the win!), a black velvet skirt (floor length or mini, depending on my mood) and any one of about 900 band tshirts (like, say, the Pantera shirt that shrieked “I GOT MY ASS BRANDED!” across the back). Most loved accessory: still the sullen expression.

    Oh, and my Boy George hat.

    Wish I knew what happened to the Boy George hat. Sigh.

  25. jenn September 12, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    1988 – peach mini skirt, black pantyhose, WHITE (god help me) patent pumps with a black and white striped sweater. Hair crimped and Sun-Inned beyond recognition. Most likely with blue mascara. Horrors.

  26. Harri P. September 12, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    1990, wool catsuit with stirrup pants, sleeveless, low scoopneck top, worn with beige silk blouse with puffy sleeves. Still not sure if that’s the best or the worst outfit I’ve ever had.

  27. Hmunb September 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    Yellow overalls paired with a lime green t-shirt. Early 1990s. Worse still, I had stolen it from my sister’s closet and had to fold up the cuffs on the overalls (they were too long)

  28. Violet September 13, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    1990, black velour catsuit that zipped nearly invisibly up the front, worn with red snakeskin go-go boots purchased from Red or Dead in ’88. Best outfit EVER and I’d kill to have those boots back. I wore them til they died some time in the early 00s.

  29. ChristianeF September 14, 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    I had a couple of VERY embarrassing first-day-of-school outfits.

    For my first day of Junior High, I wore a one-piece pants thing made from navy blue fabric with suns and moons all over it (you know, the fabric they make bad throw pillows out of) and alternating moon and sun buttons on the front. The worst part is that such horrific style cannot be purchased, it must be commissioned, which it was. I can’t believe that poor woman actually sewed that thing…

    The first day in High School, I had a long flowy skirt (the kind that come with directions to store twisted to maintain the proper amount of wrinkles) in a sunflower print. I matched this with a turqouise t-shirt (I don’t recall turquoise being a part of the skirt’s design, but whatever) and a scarf.

    Terrible as those were, probably the worst thing I ever wore was one of those extra long sweatshirts (with pockets!) and leggings. Not so bad? The sweatshirt worn by chubby little Christiane in her kindergarten years was covered in donuts.

  30. Jo September 15, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    Y’all are all amateurs, with this mid-eighties stuff. I managed my best fashion mistake two years ago at my sister’s wedding. No, she did not pick out my dress. *I* did.

    She had, I might add, a lovely wedding, except for the flaming whore in black wool who attended her.

    See, I bought this dress from J. Crew (yes, they go up to a 14/16, and it was forgiving) in black knit wool. Low V-back, low scooped front, sleevless, empire waist, skirt to the knee. I loved it, and it made me feel fantastic, so I wore it (with Kate’s enthusiastic approval, though it didn’t match anything else in the wedding).

    Unfortunately, we were in Seattle. And Seattle in October has a tendency to be humid. And wool, no matter how carefully knitted, tends to stretch in the presence of humidity.

    So, by the end of the day, I was YANKING the damned thing up to keep from exposing more (generous) boobage than was strictly acceptable at a Methodist wedding. The one picture that has survived of My Breasts And Me I made my boyfriend take down off his piano–not only are My Breasts the center-point of the picture, but you can see every vein in them (I’m fair-skinned and red-haired).

    No more deep scoop necks for me. And no more, no matter how much I love it, knitted wool. At least not in humid climates. I’ll stick with V-necks for a while.

    (The whole Fashion Debacle was made even more amusing by the fact that I had just gotten a divorce, the second person *ever* in my family to do so, and was therefore seen as the Whore of Babylon by a number of folks from the extended family. Kate wore slubbed off-white silk with a full skirt, bracelet sleeves and a high, square neck and our mom’s veil, and I wore the Black Thing. Which prompted a particularly acidulated comment from an aunt: “The contrast is impressive.”)

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