Call me closed minded, but there are a few fashion moments I just don’t understand. Like completely beyond my comprehension. The one that’s been boggling my mind for the better part of two years is the “I’m going to wear this 90s floral baby doll dress with boots that make my legs look fat and some ripped tights and maybe a hat – that would be good, too – and a big fluffy sweater that doesn’t match” look. I don’t get it. I wore that shit when I was in second grade; we bought rayon dresses from the JC Penney Outlet store and paired it with cheap earrings that I stole from Claire’s. The necklines were always off and the patterns were cheap and careless, the same bullshit bouquet of flowers printed uniformly all over the place. To me, that was growing up in the 90s.
But some of what’s going on today isn’t even good nineties fashion. Crop top: I get it. Your brother’s smelly plaid button up: I get that, too. But dressing like you’re the geriatric loser chick that they cut out of The Baby Sitter’s Club is just something I’m never going to understand.
Seeing as I am (obviously) not a big fan of this look, I believe that there are very few girls (if any) that can pull it off. These are usually short, petite chicks that were about the size I was in elementary school, when this look was “cool.” It might be that they actually look good in that “I wish I dated Kurt Kobain” outfit, or I’m just projected nostalgia onto them, seeing a little piece of myself as they walk down the street.
I was sitting on the train the other day when I saw the most egregiously bastardized version of this trend: four girls whose collective presence was enough to me to pray for blindness. Allow me to elaborate.
Girl 1: Leopard tights paired with cream knit socks made for winter, paired with some dumpy ass loafers in camel. A dress of a nondescript shape to cover whatever was going on underneath. Giant, pilled sweater. Nerd glasses.
Girl 2: Black tights with white socks (not as nicely knitted), paired with nearly the same exact pair of dumpy ass loafers, but in black. Crosby-era sweater, some sparkly fucking Lurex woven into the knit. Nose piercing (I don’t have anything against nose rings but it was gilding a lily that needed no such thing). Oh, and lots of VPL.
Girl 3: Black stirrup leggings, white socks visible through the u-shaped holes. Red velvet Keds. Black hair that had obviously been bleached in the kitchen sink with cleaning fluids, left a sour yellow color. Thurston Powell’s 80s faux-Hermes jacket and a powder blue purse. A wrinkled dress in white cotton with polka dots. [On a side note, this one is still giving me nightmares. She wins.]
Girl 4: Combine all of the aforementioned outfits, rinse, repeat.
I sat there, trying not to stare at these trolls who were attacking my sartorial senses. They had taken something that was already bad and made it infinitely worse. It was beyond anything I could have even concocted when left to my own devices back in 1993, and that’s saying a lot; I liked floral bikers shorts and homemade Puffy Paint t-shirts.
As the train sped along, I wished they would go home and vow never to dress like this again, just so I would never have to be subjected to it. The vomitous sensation was not unlike when MTA put up those macro photographs of open-heart surgery on the trains in their anti-smoking campaign. I felt violated, abused, and when they got off at Bedford I breathed a sigh of relief, taking solace in a view that had been replaced by a trampy looking Polish woman with fake nails and pink lipstick.