Friday, May 14, 2010

Signature Look of the 80s #2 - Ridiculous Pants


For Christmas in my ninth grade year, my parents bought me some new clothes at The Limited. I was beside myself with joy. OUTBACK RED!! I got some Henley shirts! I also got one pair of army green Z Cavariccis (real ones!) and two pairs of Outback Red pants in the Z Cavaricci style. One pair was black and white checkered and the other was solid black. My mom thought these were the hottest pants on the planet. For my subdued tastes they were a bit wild, so I preferred the somewhat toned down style of the Outback Red version, which had only half the buckles and loops of the real version. Still, I was very fond of the real Z Cavariccis and wore an enormous black, roll necked, ribbed Forenza sweater to hide some of the more elaborate waist embellishment. I couldn't get away with this around my mom though. She liked the Z Cavariccis in all of their glory, so she preferred me to wear them with a tucked in, button up shirt, puffed out as much as possible. The shirt seen here was a red corduroy shirt that I wore with everything during tenth grade year. I wore it with acid washed jeans (tucked in of course), the checkered pants, a prairie skirt, the army green pants and the black pants.

Getting into a pair of Z Cavariccis was like fitting the lower half of your body in a straight jacket. There were so many buckles and loops and straps on these pants, none of which served any actual practical purpose whatsoever. It took at least fifteen minutes to make sure they were all fastened and arranged just so. The pants were in no way flattering to any body type. With snug high waists, excessive pleating, balloon like proportions through the thighs, tapering down to pegged ankles, there's no way these pants could look good. But try telling that to anyone lucky enough to score a pair back in 1988.

But we weren't satisfied with just wearing the pants as is. No way. You had to roll them up. And you had to roll them up the right way, which means as tightly and as close to cutting off the circulation in your calves as you could come. We accomplished this (with all pants, especially jeans) by pulling the pant leg out in the front and then folding it over and then rolling it very slowly. The cuff had to be very narrow. You were a loser if your cuff was too wide and both legs had to be identical in every way. We practically got a ruler out to measure our cuffing and the height of the roll on each leg. It had to be exact! People would make fun of you! You would never get invited to sit at the right lunch table if your pants weren't rolled up properly!!

Naturally we wore our rolled up pants with huge, scrunched down socks. I had these in every color and I always coordinated my socks to my shirts. In the above sketch, if the top were red the socks would also be red. Then, on my feet, a pair of what we called Eastland Hikers. I lived for these shoes. I lived in these shoes. But again, they had to be worn a certain way. You couldn't just lace them up and tie them. No. Alas. You would be pariah in all social circles if you did that. You'd be known as eww, the girl who ties her shoes, gross. The shoes had to be laced a certain way and left untied with the excess laces knotted neatly into two symmetrical coils that resembled tiny beehives or tiny nooses. We had also done this with the laces of Docksiders, but no one in their right mind would wear Docksiders by this point. Those were so sixth grade and totally out of style along with Bermuda purses and again, ewww. The laces always gave me a problem. I couldn't do the cool coil thing. It caused me endless anxiety. My friend A tried to do it for me, but she too had trouble. Finally, my dear friend Faith Hill (once thought to have been in a persistent vegetative state which turned out to be a nasty rumor - she's perfectly normal, yay) came to the rescue. Faith Hill was popular, but more than just regular popular. Faith Hill was absolutely stellar and radiant with popularity, so naturally she knew how to do up some laces for me. On my next trip to Millpond I had her hook me up and she made the coils so tight that they lasted longer than the fad itself.

Now to complete the whole look - Outback Red top, Z Cavariccis properly cuffed, slouchy socks to match my shirt and Hikers with coiled laces - all I needed were two wrists full of friendship bracelets. Everyone made these and gave them away and if someone gave you one, YOU COULD NOT REMOVE IT EVER. We showered in them and everything. They frayed and faded, turned grey and we would not take them off. I adored my friendship bracelets. Naturally, just like with the shoelaces, I couldn't figure out how to make them, so I had to rely on the generosity of my friends. Once again, Faith Hill came to my rescue and spent a whole day trying to teach me how to make them. Once I got the hang out of it, you couldn't keep me away from a skein of embroidery thread. I was dangerous. I even developed a signature color scheme - periwinkle, rose, yellow and lime green.

The look you see above lasted me a while. I wore this for the second half of ninth grade, well into tenth grade until I got in a world of trouble and had to go to the Waldorf School, which I then proceeded to get expelled from within six months.The Waldorf school though marked a change in my fashion identity. I moved away from my preppy/ popular aspirations. As a Waldorf student, I suddenly became...an artiste.

7 comments:

Amy said...

Do you remember what people would say when anyone confronted them about the ridiculous cost/social trauma of those jeans (Guess falls into this category as well)? In my neck of the woods, it was, "Ooooh, I just wear them because I loooove the way they fit! It has nothing to do with being popular!!"

Really? How are the super high waisted, tagged, strapped, and zippered monstrosities comfortable in any way?

My mother refused to buy the Cavaricci's (sp?). I did have a pair of Guess overalls, though. And a story of utmost humiliation to go with them.

Sixteen Chickens said...

I got married in 1989, just imagine for a moment what a wedding dress from 1989 would look like. Ok, now imagine the hairstyles of my bridesmaids. You got nothing on my 1989 wedding unless you can pull out some 80's prom pics. :)

kerry said...

I've tried to forget the fashions of the 80s. My only salvation is that I never really did it up- apparently we didn't get to buy a lot of stuff when I was a kid, so my wardrobe was pretty tame.

I did have parachute pants and a froofy, pink prom dress with lace, but that's about it. I remember it all, though.

Jen said...

Omg. I'm having flashbacks. And when i saw the shoes I instantly remembered the coil knot thing. I never had a problem getting mine to do that. I'm looking at a stack of photos from when I was in highschool. I'll have to stick some of them on my blog. I can't believe I thought I was a pinacle of fashion then.

dissed said...

Let's not forget the hair. Not that it wasn't worse in the early nineties.

Ciarra said...

Hahaha.. this post, so funny. I was in 6th grade when all of this foolishness was going on. We called it "pegging" our pants. We were also extra cool if we wore two pairs of scrunched socks in two colors and alternated them so that on one foot it went red-white and on the other foot it went white-red. Oh lordy. I never heard of Z Cavarrici's back in those days. Guess was all the rage at my school, especially those very thin cotton canvas Guess bags that the girls used for their schoolbooks. I, however, never go to have anything Guess and only had a pair of Jordache jeans because they were hand-me-downs. Oh, remember the jeans with the zippers at the ankle? And they were even cooler if they had a denim bow at the top of the zipper? Oh, how about the rings that you wear on a huge oversized t-shirt and you pull the excess material through the ring to cinch the shirt? Not to mention MC Hammer pants. My favorite hair style of the time was a half up side ponytail that was braided with a bow clip at the top of the braid. Okay, I'm gonna have to go pull out my photos now!

Melanie said...

While channel surfing this morning, I happened upon an old episode of "Wings" with Crystal Bernard. The people in the show were dressed completely in the signature look of the 80s. Talk about a walk down memory lane!

Love your blog! Thanks for all the amusing, endearing stories!

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