... a Crime of Fashion, that is.
A crime perpetuated upon American consumers by a misogynistic prankster with influential friends. I am, of course, talking about The Bodysuit or, as it is more commonly known among fashionable infants, The Onesie.
I can’t imagine how The Bodysuit gained prominence. Surely it didn’t just happen because some lazy woman was tired of tucking her shirt in all the time. I mean, the easy solution to that is DON’T TUCK. But evidently, someone else thought the best possible way to keep your shirt tucked into your pants was to snap it around your crotch. On paper, I bet it sounded like a good idea. In practice, though, it pretty much sucked, for several reasons:
1. Bodysuits look good on a very specific type of body. That is to say, underdeveloped, non-wiggly bodies. There are, of course, some people that have these bodies; I had one myself, back then. But the people who COULD wear bodysuits and the people who DID wear bodysuits were often not from the same group.
2. Bodysuits are inconvenient for frequent pee-ers. Given the snaps at the crotch, you’d think that you’d have easy access for taking care of business, but you would be wrong. Inevitably, I would have to work the whole thing off, leotard-style, and risk being caught mostly naked in a public restroom.
3. Bodysuits are, frankly, unattractive. I don’t know how else to say it. Every single one was ugly, and each was uglier than the one next to it.
4. Bodysuits are uncomfortable. There is definitely some atomic wedgie potential in a bodysuit, and that is not at all how I like to spend my day.
So I definitely don’t know how I got suckered into buying one. Okay, two. Aside from the reasons mentioned above, this was the 90s, and I definitely stole all my dad’s flannel shirts and wore them exclusively, the sole exceptions being the Amish-inspired dresses I’d wear to church.
One way or another, though, I had a bodysuit. I mean, two bodysuits. And documented evidence suggests that I wore one at least once:
This photograph was a Christmas present to my parents during my sophomore year of college. I went to WalMart with two friends and we all got our pictures taken; this is a cheap gift, but one that lasts—-my mother kept this picture on her bookcase for YEARS (though in fairness, I did look like this for years).
The presence of the earrings and makeup leads me to the conclusion that I actually made an effort to look good in this picture. Yet the bodysuit and the mass-produced crocheted vest detract from my natural beauty and force me, at least, to focus on my apparent Fashion Zombification (definition: when one buys trendy clothing after having had her brains eaten).
I am more than certain that I paired this catastrophe with my nicest pair of high-waisted jeans, the era of thongs and muffin-tops not having yet dawned.
--High-waisted jeans, starting at the widest part of the body and tapering down to the narrowest, giving me the—no doubt—sexalicious look of a stuffed pastry bag.
--High-waisted jeans, with their ten inch zippers ending just below the bust line, so that even my perky nineteen-year-old bosom seemed to be pendulous and unsupported.
--High-waisted jeans, which gave my ass the appearance of two watermelons being juggled by an inept clown.
Now, how to top off this American Tragedy? What shoe would draw the entire collection together into one ravishing ensemble?
I love Keds, and I’ve loved them for years. I got my first pair when I was a sophomore in high school, and I wore them everywhere: to school, to church, to band camp … you name it, my Keds were there.
I didn’t stop wearing Keds until 1999, when I went to work in an office that didn’t have casual Fridays, and that whole trend of ladies wearing t-shirts and jumpers had to die. I miss that trend. Jumpers are good for Fat Days.
Anyway, I was undoubtedly wearing Keds when this photo was taken. I bet ten dollars I was wearing white scrunchy socks, too, carefully arranged to cover that slip of ankle that showed between the tapered hem of my jeans and the top of my shoes. You know what I’m talking about. Also important: symmetrically scrunched sock wrinkles. Because you can’t just scrunch socks; there is an Art to it.
I would now like to turn your attention to my hair. It’s brown.
I can’t conclusively confirm that my natural hair color is brown, because I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I had an itch to go brunette, but I didn’t want to do anything permanent, since—-let’s face it-—I was pretty spectacular as a blonde.
And, until after this picture was taken, I did not dye my hair. Well, when I was in the eighth grade I used Sun-In when my family went to DisneyWorld, but OTHER THAN THAT, my hair was sun-bleached and 100% natural. For that, I have to give credit to six years of marching band, during which time I spent approximately 4000 hours in direct sunlight, probably growing jillions of cancerous cells while we played Rocky Top for the 600th time.
So, to become a Brunette Bombshell, I didn’t use any dyes, permanent or otherwise. I used tea.
Yes, Lipton’s finest took me from blonde to brunette in six easy steps.
Step One: Boil some water in a hot-pot (the only cooking appliance allowed in a dorm room).
Step Two: Throw in about twenty tea bags.
Step Three: Dump it all in the sink.
Step Four: Stick your head in.
Step Five: Wait thirty minutes.
Step Six: Rinse.
I totally made that up. Oh, not the fact that I dyed my hair with tea, but the process by which I did it. In those days, we didn’t really know what the internet was, so I couldn’t consult millions of anonymous amateur beauticians. In those days, we had to use THE LIBRARY, and our library didn’t carry back issues of Cosmo, and I’m pretty sure that’s where I first heard this idea. So I was forced, by necessity, to make it up. As you can see, it worked.
Unfortunately, it worked a little too well, as the tea wouldn't wash out, and I soon learned that I didn’t much like having brown hair; my personality was far too blonde. And that’s when I started dyeing my hair.
Notice, too, the bangs. I cut 'em myself. This was not my first time at the hair show, ladies; I'd cut my own bangs before. And I've cut them since. They have not always looked that good.
Now, here, I believe I VERY CAREFULLY rolled my bangs around a 1/4" barrel (perfect for making spiral curls), then spritzed them with water so the tightness of the curl would fall out, then fluffed them with my fingers, then backcombed them a little bit, then sprayed them with half a bottle of hairspray. In order to achieve that "natural" look.
And I can't say for sure, but I don't think I'm wearing makeup on my whole face there. I went through a phase, for a while, of just wearing eye makeup. I would spend fifteen minutes brushing on three shades of eye shadow and blending them, and then another fifteen wiping on ten layers of mascara. But I wouldn't bother with foundation, powder, or blush because "it takes too long." Teenager logic.
Someday, all of these fashion disasters will come around again, just wait. People will look to this photo for inspiration, and designers will copy my aesthetic choices and send them down the runway.
In the meantime, though: I'll go quietly, Officer.