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Wait, I Wore That?: Worst Fashion Trends Growing Up

By Hannah Gross on October 26, 2012
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I recently stumbled upon some of my photos from back in the day as an immensely awkward middle schooler, a phase I was blindly unaware of at the time and, glancing at the pictures, could not help but simultaneously cackle and cringe at the tragic trends I sported throughout those years of petty drama and Gossip Girl novels (which were held with Biblical magnitude and read aloud during recess).

With that being said, allow me to reminisce upon a few of the most regretfully worn fashion trends in the 2000’s.

Hobo Chic

Picture this: you wake up for school one morning. You begrudgingly shove the sheets off your body and saunter over to the closet. The most bothersome question you must face every single morning, like a reoccurring nightmare, presents itself: What are you wearing today?

Interestingly enough, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen encountered the exact same issue day after day until one morning when it all changed, all because of this very epiphany. It happened so quickly, a scene straight out of The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley films; they faced each other, eyes dazzling with excitement, and screeched (in unison, of course):

“Let’s dress like homeless people!”

And there you have it, folks: hobo-chic. Dare to complete the look? First, roll around in dirt. Purchase extraordinarily expensive, pre-distressed articles of clothing that are, at minimum, four sizes too large. Top it off with some oversized sunglasses, sling on a purse the size of a carry-on bag and, bam, “you got it, dude.”

Fortunately, my middle school enforced a strict dress code in which one must dress  professionally (whatever that is when you are eleven), so I was never granted the opportunity to emulate that one homeless man on the corner of State Street. Besides, I never fully grasped this term, “hobo-chic,” as it is quite frankly an oxymoron; pairing the two words makes as much sense as merging “jumbo” and “shrimp” or “Heidi Montag” and “real.” Although I must say that I did not escape the trend scathe-free: I may have possessed massive sunglasses that essentially hindered my face from the general public (Me: Hi guys! Friends: She doesn’t even go here).

Platform Flip-Flops

All throughout elementary and middle schools, I had a major deficiency in the growth department. While everyone else had growth spurts and made the big move to the infamous trainer bra, I was left in the dust wearing the same size clothing as I did at age eight and snagging the title of “shortest girl in the class.” This posed as a devastating predicament, as I was unable to shop at any of the cool teenager stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, a fashion faux pa within itself. With the arrival of puberty, the bratty middle school girls perceived even the most trivial of issues as “the end of the world as we know it.” Thus my height—or lack there of—left me feeling like a reject, or a washed up American Idol contestant, or Anne Hathaway pre-Princess Diaries makeover, or—okay, I’ll just stop now.

Then came along the answer to all my prayers: the platform flip-flop, or “Rocket Dogs.” These gems are essentially six inches of rubber probably feasible as floatation devices. I simply could not wait to get my hands on a pair and when I did, I wore Rocket Dogs to the pool, to the mall. I wore them strolling around in my house, to school, cuddled with them to sleep. However, as they say, all good things must come to an end.

Side note: flip flops are not meant to be hazardous. One should never have to endure a face plant in the school hallway due to her platform flip flops. Yes, I still contain some resentment.

Below is the beauty shot of me and my dear friend, Rocket Dog (oh, and Lauren Lewis on the left).

And I wondered why the boys weren’t flocking…

Velour Tracksuit

My name is Hannah Gross and I am a former owner of a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit with, I cringe to admit, words on the butt. Tell me, Mom and Dad, why did you allow me to purchase—let alone exit the house in—a monocromatic hot pink tracksuit with the word “juicy” plastered on my ass? One will never know…

I yearn to go back in time and warn the general public of the pandemic that would hit like the Bubonic Plague. I’d gather my fellow peers in the playground at recess, evoking a Hunger Games reaping and proclaim, “Lock your doors, close your shutters; hide your kids, hide your wife—fear the velour tracksuit.”

This trend was all the rage; everyone and their mother sported this getup. Actually, just ask Britney Spears, whose bridesmaids’ Jamie Lynn and Momma Spears donned custom-made monstrosities. The infamous bride went from “Ms. Oops I Did It Again” to “Mrs. Federline.” She displayed her love with embroidery of her beau’s last name on the back of her white tracksuit—classy. Unfortunately, the embroidery was invalidated by her failed marriage, shifting her from “Mrs. Federline” to “Ms. Oops, I Did That?”

Complete the look: Throw on a pair of Ugg boots and let your pants spill over the top of your Ugg(ly) shoes. Do not wear anything but a bra underneath the zip-up because it allows room for indecent midriff exposure. Remember to lower that zipper just a tad more than what is socially acceptable, shamelessly display your cleavage, and you can be a “cool” mom just like Amy Pohler in Mean Girls!

Trucker Hat

The Trucker Hat: A phenomenon in which celebrities and suburban-Americans purchase pricey hats originally catered to rural or blue-collar farmers as “feed caps” (promotional giveaways to advertise farming supply and tractor companies, like John Deere). Ah, I can smell the irony like a fresh batch of fertilizer.

Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Pharrel Williams brought the trucker hat all of its short-lived glory, but instead of tractor logos they had phrases such as “I have issues” or “billionaire”—thanks for enlightening us, we had no idea.

I will never forget my burgundy and baby blue “Von Dutch” trucker hat, of which I wore three times and then misplaced.

The Denim Miniskirt (with or without leggings)

And they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

I could continue on for pages (Ed Hardy, Crocs, Gauchos, oh my!), but instead I’ll leave you to think about the trends you latched onto as a kid. I frequently ask myself how I could have genuinely enjoyed these trends, for they were grossly unflattering and mildly inappropriate for my age.

Here’s a question for you: Were you a trendsetter or a follower (“I saw Cady Heron wear army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops”)? Can you possibly imagine which trends will resurface in the future? When you sift through photos of the glorious college days ten years down the road, which trends do you think will leave you saying, “wait, I wore that?”

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Hannah is majoring in English Literature and Language at the University of Michigan with a minor in Judaic Studies. She works as a indoor cycling instructor at RealRyder Revolution, but she weirdly hates bikers as they ride--and potentially run her over--on her way to class. Hannah's greatest passion is her love of singing, and often performs around campus and surrounding cities. Be sure to check her out on YouTube! And lastly, she currently feels slightly awkward writing about herself in third person. That is all, folks.

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