Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Neutrals Are Called "Neutral" and Other Lessons

Now when I look back on my outfits from high school, I'm kind of filled with shame. I mean, I can understand the thoughts (I hate school/my teachers /advertisements /"the man"/everyone in every single one of my classes/The Backstreet Boys [Yeah, it seems funny now, but they were actually really popular]/The Paul Frank monkey) and inspiration (David Bowie/ glam rock/ Nancy Spungen/ 1960's "scooter girls"/ some sort of vague riot grrrl thing) behind them, as well as the urge to look extremely different from my Gap-clad classmates, but I guess something was lacking in the execution. I didn't look good with a very short haircut courtesy of my friend while watching Empire Records, or turquoise blue hair (Punky Colors over Manic Panic/Special Effects, okay?), or fishnet shirts (for layering!)

When I discuss my terrible outfits circa 2000 with my friends, they are like, "Well, it was the best we could do at the time/I totally thought you looked awesome/were courageous for wearing that hot pink children's tutu." And this is true. We didn't have a lot to work with, and we were sixteen. We were supposed to be dying our hair magenta and painting our nails black and layering oddly and sneering at everyone and writing our angst on our Converse in Sharpie. To do any less would have been, you know, conforming.

So that's why I find Miia (the one on the top) kind of weird. I mean, yeah, no one could say she looks bad- she isn't really risking enough to do so. But to show such restraint, such a neutral color pallete, such a carefully planned and trendy-- without one stop at Forever 21 (Back in my day, we went to Wet Seal, only it was called Contempo Casuals, the best name ever, and we called it "Contrampo") is just wrong. Miia, only four years ago, you were ten. You have your entire life to dress like Charlotte Gainsbourg and wear gray sweaters over black pants or whatevs. Also, you announce that you like "unconventional combinations like high-waisted shorts with romantic, delicate shirts" but that's not unconventional! Hipsters wear high-waisted shorts with everything these days, especially delicate shirts. As pointed out in a previous post, even Rhianna wears high-waisted and has that hat, so let's not pretend you don't get your fashion inspiration from Nylon/various twenty-eight year olds/The Sartoralist.

So, by contrast, I bring you Juulia, also 14 (As mentioned previously, everyone on Hel Looks appears about ten years older, on average, than their purported age, Miia and Juulia included, but let's say they really are 14 are Ulla is only 26, Tomi is only 16, and Jani is only 25- and straight) Juulia looks liked I wished--or perhaps now wish-- I could have looked in high school, or maybe how I thought I looked, but anyway. The point is, she looks kind of trashy and 80's and punk and has huge hair and is even rocking the forbidden leggings as pants, but she looks amazing, in a Plasmatics/drag queen/brown cowboy boots paired with checkerboard print kind of way.

Juulia, like Miia, looks kind of too perfect to 14, but she looks perfect in a much more awesome, risky, and strange way. She says, "I like to wear jewellery and a big hairdo. My style role models are Madonna in the 80's, Joan Jett and Mötley Crüe." Now these are high school role models I can get behind. If you don't want to look like Joan Jett in high school, at least a little bit, then you have no soul.

Actually, I used to have this (alright, it's still there) photo of Joan Jett wearing, like, a purple leather jacket and mega eyeliner singing stuck to the mirror in my room, and once my friend Emily put on eyeliner using Joan as inspiration, and everyone was like, "You look like Joan Jett!" to her. And by everyone, I mean our small group of friends.

So though we are not all fourteen any longer, and shouldn't pretend we are so that we can wear purple knee socks with green striped tights and dye our pigtails blue, we should all remember that even if we are in our twenties we still have plenty of time to wear black cardigans and tan scarves and look appropriate.


Simone said...

look, girl, special effects was the best, if you wanted a hot hot pink that lasted more than a week! punky color faded so quickly!

It's so funny how, like, EVERYONE in new york totally dresses like that first girl in your post... so fucking boring. i mean, i no longer wear two slips as a dress, hot pink fishnets, and a lab coat i silkscreened myself, but just wearing my vintage 40s dresses around i feel like i look totally weird compared to everyone else. that is, unique and interesting. but people give me looks on the subway. it's like we're in this stage where everyone in their mid-20s wants to look like a wallflower or something. gray, saggy, flat, lank, boring. thank god for the old-school day-glo hip hop high school girls i sometimes see around. hell, i'm happy when i see the high school "punkers" hanging around astor place in their lip service pants. at least they're inspired by something other than what Lucky tells them to wear.

That girl with the bleached hair is pretty fierce. if anything, i wish i had dressed MORE crazy in high school. I mean, i had hot pink hair and wore pieces of fabric pieced together with safety pins as skirts, but i could have worn MORE tutus and 50s prom dresses and ripped stockings to school. I mean, what else was highschool for?

Anonymous said...

I still think purple knee socks over green tights is a good look, though. Also, why don't you do a special entry about the challeneges of dressing for us big-busted gals? Lucky magazine encourages anyone with big hooters to wear a blazer, even if you are 12. I would like to hear your take on this issue that is very close to all of our hearts (for some of us, very literally).


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