Thursday, December 03, 2009


Yesterday, I was the school lunch lady volunteer. A fourth grader came through the line and was cold from being out at recess.

"We can't wear leggings on Mass day!" she said. "So we freeze!"

"Can you wear tights?" I asked.

She looked at me like I was positively insane.

"Nobody wears tights anymore," she said.

"Really? Nobody?"

"Not unless you're in preschool."

Huh. I had no idea how dumb tights were.

It got me thinking about kids' fashion trends. There are the obvious ones: In the eighties, fingertip-less gloves became popular thanks to Madonna. Actually, no thanks. I practically lost all of my third joints to frost bite that year. Then there was Britney's half shirt, which parents of preteens were thrilled about. And now it's leggings, which is a Hollywood trend, too.

Those trends are publicized and marketed. But the mysterious trends are the wierd little ones. They aren't sold anywhere. Nobody makes money off them. They just show up. Like pinch rolling jeans in the 80s and 90s. Where did that get started? And how did it spread throughout the country?

Last year, Katie Holmes wore a pair of pinch-rolled jeans, and fashion bloggers wondered if the trend would make a come back. And everyone was like, "I never wore pinch rolled jeans. I was too cool."

Well, they weren't cool back then. I can tell you that. The cool people pinch rolled their jeans. I have pictures from mixers of kids in pinch rolled jeans and V-neck sweaters. Actually, everybody had the same V-neck sweater. It had stripes along the neck in primary colors. Boys and girls wore it. Always with a turtleneck.

Now, when I see kids, I think, "They dress so much cuter nowadays. The girls have special T-shirts now. They don't have to wear the baggy boy shirts. And whatever happened to acne? Does nobody get it anymore?"

Even the stuff we used to wear--like leggings--look cuter now. Perhaps because they no longer are paired with giant pok-a-dot sweatshirts and enormous hair.

Then again, I remember walking into a Topsy's in grade school wearing Hawaiian shorts (remember jams?), a neon pink shirt, and fruit jewelry, and the woman at the register said the same thing to me. "You kids dress so much cuter nowadays. I never had fruit jewelry."

I guess whatever the trend is, no matter how silly, it looks good because it's new. Even if it's old, it's worn in a new way. Everybody likes bright shiny new things.

That's probably how the pinch rolled jeans got started.

Somebody tried it, and somebody else said, "That's new. How did you do that?"

"Like this."

"Like how?"

"Like this."


And then after you'd invested half an hour figuring it out, you decided you might as well wear your jeans like that, too. And so on and so on.

But I am really disappointed to hear that tights are on their way out. I just bought a pair of neon pink ones to go with my fruit jewelry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Francie wore pink tights with her orange sweater Sun and looked so cute - reminded me of some of your outfits!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Tim Higgins said...


That is the real reason that photography was invented ... so that future generations could see and be amused by what was once considered fashionable by their seniors.

My own youthful fashion faux pas are documented somewhere, but those attempting to find this treasure trove will be on a search longer than that for "National Treasure".
The process has greatly accelerated however, as every celebrity and want-to-be celebrity creates a fashion line immediately after their 2nd movie or record. It must be a full-time job for the kids to keep up, and overtime for the parents to pay for it.

By the way, for those of your readers too young to remember, the turtlenecks under the V-neck sweaters were often fakes called "dickies". Yet one more example of fashion mistakes that we can gladly put in our past.

5:26 PM  

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