Monday, March 17, 2014

When high school fashion trends come back to haunt you

In the never-ending workout fashion catwalks that are my gym and Pilates studio, I noticed with much horror a new trend make an appearance early last year that is still going strong. It's that loose tank top with the exposed sports bra attached look.  Inherently there is nothing wrong with the look. As someone who always tries to look nice when I work out, I actually think it would be cute.

Except I have lived through this look before. Long before lululemon made it all cute and stuff, this look was THE LOOK during high school. And it's not like we were wearing it to work out, it was worn as general casual wear.  It was unfortunate. I shudder at the mere thought of it. 

I like to pretend all fashions that I wore before age 27 never happened. But specifically those I wore in high school are never to be spoken of.

Unfortunately, photographic evidence makes that impossible.


(It was a long, horrifying walk down fashion memory lane as I sifted through pictures to find this one. I am still cringing. )

Yep, long loose tank top over a sports bra, with Nike shorts that I am sure had a giant swoosh across my bottom, a giant GUESS? watch, and probably Adidas soccer sandals with socks. I was a walking name brand catalog which probably led to my current aversion to ANYTHING with a visible logo or brand stamp.

(Pirate hats were not part of the trend. I am not sure why I needed to clarify that except that I really didn't want you to think I walked around wearing a pirate hat. A fashion train wreck I was, but I had some fashion standards. Okay, probably just one standard: "Never wear a pirate hat except in a hat shop.")

But we ALL wore this outfit. This pic is from a high school band trip where the photos appear to show a contest in who could wearing the baggiest tank top. Why were the 90s so against tailoring and fit?

I remember that at the time, I appreciated the trend a lot because as always the overweight girl, there were few trends that I could participate in. This look was my jam! And it is entirely unfortunate that I thought that. But in my hometown, IT WAS COOL. 

I won't mock the fashion trends of my hometown because I really have no idea what was in style in other towns at that time. But I grew up in a very small farming community before the internet. It's not like most of us were reading Vogue. Most of our fashion trends were determined by the back-to-school JC Penney catalog, long before JC Penney kept trying to rebrand itself to be cool. Every so often someone would visit her cousin in like Chicago or California and come back wearing something that was actually in style and the outfit would get mocked and the outfit would never see the light of day again. And two years later, we would all be wearing that trend and you knew that person had to be thinking "TWO YEARS AGO I told you this was cool!" 

(For what it's worth this form of mockery not only deterred on-time fashion trends but also gangs. We had a gang problem in my town for like four days in the mid-nineties. Eventually everyone just started making fun of the gang and the gang disbanded because they decided it wasn't worth it and just went to the Farmerball game instead and then probably had a beer party in a corn field with everyone else. And a gang-free life was restored to the town and everything was right again. I am positive this type of gang deterrence would only work in my hometown.)

Looking back, it was NOT a good look and it was NOT cool and as a general rule, I try not to relive any horrifying fashion looks of my past. It's a matter of my personal growth.  But I was in Target over the weekend and sifting through the clearance rack in the workout clothes section and I discovered one of these modern-day sports bra-tank top combo for $6. And then I broke all my general rules and bought it. I am not sure what came over me. I am still working through it. 

Photo 17

But the thing is, it's not awful. Kind of comfy actually. Maybe we were onto something in high school. It's perfect for those days when I eat a big lunch and really don't want to go to the gym but I drag myself there a anyway but don't really want to put on my normal, more fitted workout tops because "Hello, food baby!" And the fabric has come a long way from what I am certain was a Hanes  tank in high school. 

So I will concede on this one fashion item that it is okay that I am wearing something that I wore terribly in high school. As long as it is worn only in a working out context.

And as long as it is never ever worn with a pirate hat. I do still maintain that fashion standard.


  1. Yes, some trends just to go away forever. But this tank over sports look is one I can work with. Just as long it's worn to the gym and not pirate hat shopping. Save your swashbuckling, puffy shirt for that ;-)

  2. I definitely spotted a puffy shirt when I was going through my picture pile. Except I think we called it a "poet's blouse" and it was supposed to be all moody and romantic ala My So-Called Life. I also blame My So-Called Life for all those awful baby doll dresses. Ugh. But it also gave us Jared Leto so I overlook ALL THE OTHER THINGS because of this.