High School Outfits of Yore

[This is my contribution to the blog post tag team. [CLICK HERE FOR A PAGE SHOWING ALL TAG TEAM PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR POSTS.]


Anyway, MommyTime asked that I write about an animal dream or an unsuccessful high school outfit, and for now, I’ve gotta go with the latter because it requires the least effort. I’ve been feeling quite uninspired to write anything lately, and this scares me a little, because even when I am too tired to write or have blockages, I always want to write…and now I find myself losing the desire for even that. This is a forced post, I must admit, but I think I need to write, because if I don’t now, maybe the malaise will grip me and I’ll never write again.

I’m terrified of the drying well.]


I can’t remember much about the person I was in high school. That teen identity sorta fused with the person I am now (frighteningly similar) and the girl-woman I perceived myself to be during that time. I’m quite sure I came across as goofy, overly earnest, and random. I do know I thought a lot about clothes, and concocted the perfect outfits to wear for each auspicious high schooly occasion: football games, late night Denny’s dinners, barn parties. The labels of my day — Esprit. Hunter’s Run. Guess — whirled about my head at night and I still recall the acrid carpety smell of the Vernon Hills Hawthorne Mall fitting rooms.


Still, I was a girl of little parental money for clothes, so I often borrowed friend’s outfits and conjured money from babysitting jobs to foot the wardrobe bill. What I couldn’t buy, I cobbled together from my parents’ closet. Oversized sweaters from my dad, inappropriately clingy silk dresses from my mom, pajamas. Thank God for uniforms. But every dress-up Friday, you’d find me in either (a) something I made with paint/bleach/stencils or (b) something horribly off in some glaringly disturbing way. Many times, I wore plastic slippers with my plaid Catholic schoolgirl skirt because I thought they looked like stylish flats, or a flannel pajama top that doubled as an oxford. And? I’m totally serious.


I loved bright colors and stripes and patterns and (did I already say bright colors?). Also, I adored juxtaposition, so I’d wear say, oversized sunglasses with a hobo ensemble because no one expects hobos to dress like Madonna from the nose up, am I right?




(These were my artfully bleached pants.) (And my straw hat.) (No relationship between the two implicit nor implied.)


And — I did mention the bright colors, right? Did I talk about the stripes too? ‘Cuz I had big love for both of those design elements.

I don’t think you believe me. So I’ll have to show you.


(Just so you know, this is hurting me way more than you):


Sushi and Stripes


(Dad’s sweater. You may recognize the bright color gene?)


Goofballs in the '80s


(Were stripes big in the ’80s? That’d make me feel marginally better.)


Eyes Wide Closed


(Eyes closed due to nuclear glow given off by shirt.)


You know what? Drying well be damned. I think I’m done here.


p.s. Just be glad I’m not posting the Moonlighting script I wrote my senior year.


22 Responses to “High School Outfits of Yore”

  1. g says:

    Aw, you done good. Those pictures of you are hilarious!!!

  2. Now that was a fun read and a feast for the senses! I tried to do Katherine Hepburnesque. Don’t know how I thought that worked in the eighties, but I did see a single layout in Seventeen Magazine with that aesthetic. Mens Blazers from the Good Will, jeans or trousers, mock turtlenecks. Guess didn’t fit me and I couldn’t afford it.

    When I got to college, my husband’s roommate called me “GAP” girl. Most of my clothes were from the GAP clearance rack.

    Guess things haven’t changed much. These days I’m mostly NY and Company, trousers ot jeand, fitted sweaters or a T-shirt….Don’t wear the blazers any more though. Still fashion out of sync.

  3. blognut says:

    You were awesome! I’m glad the well is not dry!

    BTW, Per your comment – You need not ever worry about pushing the boundaries of good taste on my blog. There aren’t any!

  4. Eden says:

    Stripes were pretty in b/c color was in. What was more “in” is the “Shaker style” of knit sweater, which is what each of those was. Did you buy them at Deb? ;)

  5. Kizz says:

    Oh, come on, couldn’t we have like a “memorable quotes” entry from your Moonlighting script? Pleeeeeeease?

  6. Steph says:

    If it’s any comfort at all, those outfits don’t look worse than anything I wore during that time period. Let’s face it, even the girls who were practically haute couture back then are probably embarrassed by that shit today. :)

  7. Danielle says:

    I think you wore stripes well.

  8. Green Girl says:

    We owned similar wardrobes–you did better in stripes than me!

  9. Sam says:

    You are a brave and lovely woman…and may I say, I think I had those same sweaters. :)

    P.S. Feeling so much better after less than 24 hours…go get yourself a Z-pack and a shot, lady! :) (Hope you feel better.)

  10. OMG I have almost that exact photo with the same hair, the same sweater the same arms flailing out to the side to look “cool.” HA~! Great post!

  11. […] According to my records, I am to write wrote a post on an animal dream or an unsuccessful high school outfit. […]

  12. […] Diego Momma wrote about an unsuccessful high school outfit Who’s […]

  13. I’ve been likening my writer’s block to a parched August day in Death Valley. I’ve been taking up reading other blogs in hopes of inspiration. Love this topic. The 80s wardrobe should have been criminal with all that illegal blue eyeshadow to boot. I remember thinking I was very hip with the ginormous earrings that took up half my head. I punked out my frosted hair and skulked around in a black grandfather trench coat I scored at the Salvation Army. Boots were always black and pointy. Lots of necklaces, beaded ones especially. Boy, did I think I was hot. Those photos are the source of much humor.

  14. vodkamom says:

    Christ, I’ve been trying to FORGET the 80’s.

  15. g says:

    Gawd, without realizing it, I have posted a High School Outfit of Yore in my Prompt Tuesday post!

  16. Jessica Bern says:

    You are a very brave woman. I don’t think I could post anything of me prior to the year 2000. Let’s just say I made a few “off” outfit choices prior to that

  17. Jennifer says:

    I was a toddler in the 80’s. My first years of elementary school I wore the normal trends. Osh Kosh was big and then there was the one piece outfits I could’ve worn every day with neon colors. Jean skirts and tshirts. Ya, the 80’s were fun but don’t bring them back.

  18. mary says:

    you are so brave…I can;t even bear to LOOK at my own high school photos…
    and yes, those striped ‘shaker’ sweaters were definitely ‘in’ then…sigh…

  19. Oh, I was so, so stripey in my 80s high school days, too. Big, big sweaters with even bigger stripes. God help someone if they were also florescent!

  20. The turtleneck under the sweater? We even wore that in San Diego. Mine were from Nordstrom and had things like tiny hearts all over them (in pastel colors to coordinate with the pastel-striped sweaters).

    You looked as fab then as you do now.

  21. MommyTime says:

    The horror of my high school days doesn’t include many sweaters, due to the fact that I grew up in Atlanta. But plenty of pastel stripes. Oh my heavens, this post is AWESOME! Thanks for the memories. :)

  22. Jamie says:

    I so would have wanted to hang out with you.

    I so still do.

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