Retrospective '90s and '00s fashion, and my horrible prom dress

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I've been doing some minor cleaning up of my dressers and closet, and I found some clothes that are "relics" of late 1990s and early 2000s fashion. It's amazing, even to me, that clothes that aren't even a decade old can look so dated, because it seems like skinny jeans have been in style since the mid-'00s. I do know that acid wash, crop tops, Doc Martens, high top sneakers and some choice selections from the '80s and early '90s have come back into fashion, but overall, it doesn't look all that different to me than what was trendy close to ten years ago. (Now I'm rethinking tossing some of these clothes ... at this rate, late '90s fashions should be back in style in the next 5-7 years, right? I've still got a bunch of bootcut-to-flared jeans in my closet, awaiting their great comeback.)

American Eagle denim mini skirt

When I saw this mini skirt, I realized that I haven't seen anyone wear anything like it in years. I remember a time in about 2004-2005 when girls wore mini skirts like this one year-round. When it got too cold to go bare-legged, they'd add black tights underneath (another clothing item that hasn't gone out of fashion yet). It's really interesting to me that I can still remember where I bought most of my clothes. This one came from the American Eagle Outfitters in Union Square, and I got it for just $9.99 at the time.

Delia's sporty mini skirt

This is another mini skirt I found from around that time, probably a little earlier. I was (and still am, for the most part) very much a tomboy when it came to my style, and I thought this was right up my alley. Double-striped gym pants turned into a skirt? I thought it was funny. I'm pretty sure I picked this up from Delia*s (which I'm surprised still seems to be thriving).

Old Navy hibiscus t-shirt
This shirt is standard Old Navy stuff, but I had to take a photo because it's the t-shirt I wore the day I left for college, the day I moved into my very first dorm and met my very first roommate. I'd worked all summer at Old Navy, which was an experience I'll never forget.

Last, but certainly, not least ... the dreaded prom dress. I don't remember having been a girl who'd fawned over the idea of Prom, but I definitely hadn't been a girl who had shunned the idea and gone at the last minute. I remember having bought another dress, a light peach/coral-colored strapless dress, during the winter when I'd seen it on the discount rack somewhere, but then I spotted this "beaut" at Sears and traded up. Or down, in retrospect.

white prom dressBefore I show you photos of the horrific dress, let me just say that ... I don't know, I might've had an aneurysm or something. The dress has a bunched empire waist, thin spaghetti straps, a sheer chiffon layer that splits down the length of the dress from the empire waist down, a lace-up cutout back, and ... specks of iridescent glitter in a sort of bouquet-like pattern across the expanse of the dress. I think I'd decided quite early on to go the "angel" route with my hair and makeup, which meant light lavender eyes, a half updo with my hair in waves, and a French manicure. No one stepped in to tell me that I would regret wearing white to my Prom. No one slapped me across the face and said, "Girl, you will NOT look like an ethereal angel in that dress, so snap out of it."

If only they had. Maybe I wouldn't be stuck with this useless white ball gown that I will never be able to wear again, anywhere. (I'm donating it, but I get the sinking feeling that even the needy would cringe at this dress.)

In some ways, it's nice, I guess. I like the split sheath layer. But that's about it. I vaguely remember seriously coveting a dress I'd seen in Seventeen magazine or maybe Cosmogirl, but I'd tried to locate it in the New York area and hadn't been able to (this was before e-commerce was a full-fledged thing). I don't know what girls wear to Prom these days, but when I watched the girls on "Laguna Beach" get dressed for their proms, I almost wanted to kick myself. A knee- or mid-length dress? Casual? Why hadn't I even considered that idea?

Oh well, let bygones be bygones. I had a good enough time at my Prom, and no one laughed at me outright. I think we were all too self-absorbed back then to really give two hoots about what anyone other than our respective crushes were wearing, anyway.

Before I lost my mind, I had the foresight to wear a fairly versatile, red knee-length dress to my junior prom. That dress sleeps happily (and without fear of losing its home) in my closet.

white prom dress
white prom dress

Well, I guess most people regret their prom dresses. Do you?

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