Daddy Likey has a contest going for best junior high fashion confession. Unfortunately, I don’t have any colorful stories of how I emulated some pop star. I was just plain dorky. I never owned a pair of Guess? jeans, though I longed for them. I had to make do with discount clothing from Sears or JC Penney. Interestingly, though, in all three dork-tastic junior high photos, you can see hints of the budding fashionista.
6th grade. I’m growing out my first perm. I should be wearing glasses, but I’m too vain. (My vanity will eventually lead to my flunking out of math class because I can’t see the daily quizzes.) I freakin LOVED this sweatshirt. It features a puffy, white bear painting himself to look like a panda. I remember wearing it with short, white shorts on a field trip and thinking I was the ultimate in stylishness. Even back then, I appreciated the classic combination of black and white, punched up with a bright color. I did not, though, have an appreciation for hygiene. For some reason, I boycotted brushing my teeth for weeks at a time.
7th grade. By God, this picture is painful. Again, you can see that my fashion roots run deep with the layering. I’m pretty sure that this shirt had turquoise in it, so I felt that topping it with a turquoise jumper was quite sharp. I attempted and failed at mall bangs on a daily basis. Instead of a defiant claw, I ended up with insipid fluff. My favorite shirt from this grade isn’t pictured here. (I must have gotten it after the start of the year.) It was a white, baseball-style shirt with 3/4 sleeves, one of which was yellow and the other pink. It had a “Troop Beverly Hills” emblem on the chest. When I wore it, I felt pretty and popular. It mysteriously disappeared at my Grandma’s house the following summer. I pined for it for years. Even now, I’d kind of like it back, for nostalgia’s sake.
8th grade. Things were looking up. I got a spiral perm and highlights. I still wasn’t allowed to wear make-up, but I’d sneak some of my mother’s or apply a friend’s at school and then wipe it off before I got home. This shirt is sort of cropped, but, hey, that was in style (and it doesn’t have any bears or weird checks on it!) By this time, I really started getting into jewelry. I remember going nuts over the cheap bracelets at 2 + 2 at the Clackamas Towne Center (in the pre-Claire’s Boutique days). Even back then, I carefully sorted and stored my jewelry. Each pair of earrings had its own, tiny ziplock bag and the entire collection was stored in a decorative tin. I wore these fan earrings almost daily, until I finally lost one. The “K” necklace is my mother’s but I appropriated it for many years.
While dorky to the end, at least my style improved a little between 6th and 8th grades. I left animal prints and jumpers behind. I embraced a simpler style of clothing and showcased my flair with accessories. I was never cool, even in high school, but I gradually strayed less and less from my fashion ideal. I zeroed in on the things I love – color, layers, and accessories – and eventually found a way to make them work with my look and wardrobe.