This 1950s Lilli Ann jacket is made of "silk mohair worsted" loomed in Paris - what a dream! And the classic Lilli Ann typeface is so cute.
Bright colors and black, synthetic fabrics like PVC, nylon and latex. Huge, bubbly shoes. Body glitter. Everyone was wearing plastic wraparound shades with yellow lenses and giant swishy pants, throwing their hands into fish-eyes lenses, bouncing off the walls of some kind of space pod.Read More
Let's continue my series of worst trends of the year posts not with a rant about the pernicious trend towards complete and total capitalist fascism that is sweeping our country, but with a rant about something way more important and timely: SLEEVES AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM THESE DAYS.
You may be asking yourself, but Simone, what's wrong with sleeves? Aren't they just arm coverings that attach to your shirt or whatever? Maybe you're being a little too sensitive What could possibly be the issue?
THE ISSUE IS THIS:
I cannot with this floppy, bell-sleeve, tied-sleeve, ruffled-sleeve, BALLOON-sleeve trend. First of all, all that fabric flopping around your wrists and hands - all I can think about is trying to eat literally anything - that fabric is immediately gonna get dunked in your soup, dragged through your salad, plopped into your pasta sauce. NOT TO MENTION that this trend is basically a re-imagining of the horrific "poet's blouse" trend of 1992-3. And do I really need to remind you of THIS?
Second of all, I'm not talking about tailored, beautifully crafted crazy sleeves of ye olden times, nor some sort of intricately detailed couture sleeve from a vintage Balenciaga design. Nor is this a CAMPY dramatic sleeve - crazy ruffled puffy sleeves on a 1930s gown, or a fabulous flowy butterfly sleeve on a caftan - THAT I appreciate! This shit is hella boring, made of shitty materials, and like... not fun in any way.
I mean, I know that Mary already wrote about this, but WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE RANDOM-ASS RUFFLES? It's like you let an overly confident fifth-grader loose in a fabric store with a pair of scissors and a glue gun.
Yeah, I have to actually talk about the red sweater posted above. Does anyone remember those gross chenile-ish sweaters from the later 90s - you know what i mean, they were made of polyester, and we fluffy like you'd skinned an off-brand muppet, and they would be like really small looking but they stretched out hella much when you put them on? They came in gross colors like the one above, but also BRIGHT ORANGE and CHARTREUSE. They are so cheap and disgusting, and I owned at least a couple in my teen years. That shit is not worth $88.50, much less the ORIGINAL NON-SALE PRICE OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN DOLLARS. Also: bell sleeves. Clearly this really fills me with rage. MOVING ON.
I'll end with a more recent addition to the ridiculous sleeves trend, which is something I like to call "the straightjacket look". Yep, just slap a bow on your too-loose sleeves and you too can rock this "look"!
UGH. I'm done. Honestly, it's hard to find a sweater out there right now, guys. Can't wait for all of these pieces of crap to be dumped into the thrift stores in about 4 months.
I am hereby inaugurating an ongoing series of posts called "That's Nasty!", in which Mary and I will dissect current gross fashion trends, and explain why they are so offensive and NASTY. Today's totally nasty fashion item is what I consider, personally, to be one of the most disgusting trends of 2017. I am speaking, of course, of the horror of CULOTTES!
I fucking hate culottes. They are floppy, shapeless, unflattering, and sloppy looking. And it's not just me - culottes have been hated for longer than you think! The French word "culotte" means an item of clothing worn on the lower half of the body. In France in the 1700s, it referred specifically to the little short-pants aristocratic men would wear - you know the type, the ones that button under the knee and are tight and also you wear hose underneath them. The term "sans-culottes" was used to describe working-class revolutionaries during the french revolution of 1789. It quite literally means "without culottes" - a name derived from their rejection of artistocratic apparel - ie, those horrid culottes!
Not unlike a 18th-century French revolutionary, I also despise culottes! Behold, a cabinet of contemporary culotte horrors:
PART II: JEANS
Alright, so that was just the PANTS side of the culottes equation, y'all. And seriously, I'm not going to mince words. Okay, deep breath.... We're getting very, very close to full-on elephant-pants, chode-legged JNCO territory. If for some reason, you are lucky enough to not know what JNCOs are (ie, maybe you didn't go to high school in the late 90s/early 2000s - GOOD FOR YOU), sorry, but it's time for your innocence to be well and truly shattered.
SOME EXAMPLES OF JNCOs:
JNCOs, also known as "raver pants" to my high school friends, were low-waisted, giant-pocketed, HUGELY hemmed jeans that were really fucking cool and popular like 17 years ago. They were always made of denim - the black ones were more popular with my friends group because we were on stage crew and had to wear black during shows/teen gothism - and were usually not seen without some sort of studded belt holding them up, and a wallet chain leading from belt loop to pocket. In any event, though I did indeed wear bellbottoms and flares, I never really understood the appeal of these elephantine-legged jeans. That's a lot of denim to drag around. Also, why do you want to be able to fit a small child into each of your pant legs? IS IT THAT YOUR PANTS ARE SO BIG BECAUSE THEY'RE FULL OF SECRETS? I don't know. What I do know is, these jeans are disgusting. Behold:
In conclusion, don't be a fool - when the revolution comes, I know of at least one item of clothing we will NOT be wearing! Vive le sans culottes!
Every once in a while, if you're someone who does a lot of thrifting and vintage shopping, you come across something you've never seen before, that you didn't even know existed. This listing, on a facebook vintage group Mary and I belong to, is one such find. I've never seen a groovy birth control pill dispenser necklace before! I tried to do some research on other birth control jewelry, assuming I'd be able to find some other cool stuff after the advent of the pill - but I couldn't find a damn thing! So in any event, here are the rest of the images of the listing, of this totally fascinating trend that I guess never really caught on!
“For Nice Girls Who Like Stuff.” – Juicy Couture
“When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off.” – Amelia Bloomer
By Micah Card
You may be surprised to learn that, upon hearing of Juicy Couture’s sell-out and subsequent closure of its U.S. store-fronts in 2013, my heart skipped a sad, shocked beat. The once ubiquitous velour tracksuit has been lauded as…many things having to do with the imminent end-of-days, and I think it is safe to say that multitudes were looking forward to its demise.
I, however, have not yet gotten over the velvet sweatpants of old.
Flashback to the mid-aughts in California’s working class suburbs. I was transitioning from high schooler to “grown person” with emo bangs while the tracksuit/Ugg Boot combo was just gaining momentum. It took very little time for Paris Hilton-inspired velour outfits to gain a bad rap as the uniform for celeb wannabes and Starbucks-loving soccer moms. Naturally, since I planned to run away from said suburbs as soon as student loans could be procured, I detested the tracksuit as the symbol of all that awaited me if I couldn’t get away in time.
What, exactly, did I imagine would happen if I stayed in SUV-town, USA? Perhaps velour was contagious and I would be magically transformed into a Stepford Other Mother just from airborne exposure? Even after I managed to leave SUV-town, the idea still haunted me - that I might feel the preternatural urge to awaken at 3 a.m. one cold, dark Black Friday, dress in head-to-toe pink velvet and head to Kohl’s in search of discounted nonessentials, triple mocha cookie frappe in hand.
So I decided I had to inoculate myself by doing just that.
Indeed, I woke up early one Black Friday, outfitted myself in the hottest, pinkest, cheapest Juicy Couture knock-off I could find, swung by Starbucks and spent two hours in line at Kohl’s to buy an imitation down comforter at 7:00 in the morning. I even took pictures of every other track-suited person I saw. I saw ~so many~, at least 100 different people over the span of 4 hours. I thought it was HILARIOUS and SO WITTY…at first. But guess what? Not only was I being mean and kind of voyeuristic, but that ish was comfy. So comfy, in fact, that I bought a different colored knock-off tracksuit every Thanksgiving for the next five years. I kept acting like it was funny, but honestly, I just liked them so much. They were fun and flamboyant and stretchy enough to allow for all kinds of gross-motor movement! I even went so far as to save up for a pair of real outlet-shopped Ugg boots to wear with them (I love them–you shut up!). But alas, I have never been economically equipped to spend upwards of $200 for a real Juicy tracksuit. I could never justify spending that kind of money on one pair of sweats that I could only wear with a hipster smirk and some shame. Better to pay $10 for that at dd’s DISCOUNTS.
The irony of my velour adoration has never been been wasted on me. As a feminist and avid wearer of clothing, the whole thing got me thinking about what it means to sport a garment so wrought with cultural symbolism and, ultimately, ire.
What does/did the Juicy tracksuit say? The most obvious statement might be the trope of the insta-rich reality star/celebrity who need not do anything but be leisurely, a la Paris Hilton. But this view really doesn’t get to the heart(land) of it all. What does it say about the large population of middle and working-class women who indulged in this trend?
Popular clothing speaks to popular ideas. Let us consider first-wave feminism’s “Bloomer” dresses, unique as well as reviled for their comfortable design, expressly meant to allow women physical mobility. I’m not saying the tracksuit is specifically liberating anyone, but it is a notable comparison of notoriously comfortable women’s fashion, made more complicated by its relationship to turn-of-the-millennium consumer culture and reality tv fetishism. What does it feel like to be dressed like a laid-back Kim Kardashian? One can try that feeling on for size at nearly any price point…with a catch. There’s hell to pay for it in terms of being taken seriously, either as a fashionista or a grown woman in a hot pink velour suit, doing or not doing as she pleases. I think Juicy’s commercial death and reincarnation (at Kohl’s!) provide a rather poetic arc through which to think about where our clothing and identities intersect and live together.
There’s something interesting about the widespread adoption and simultaneous hatred of a garment coded so outrageously “feminine” (the colors! the rhinestones!), so comfortable, and that comes at such widely varying price points. I really did buy my fakes for $10 a set. It’s not like only rich, white suburban moms rode the wave of the tracksuit – look at J.Lo’s velour shorts ensemble in the “I’m Real” video. That look spoke to ladies who were potentially neither rich, like me, nor white – you know, just (CODED LANGUAGE ALERT) “real.” The tracksuit still implied a sense of fabulous comfort and mobility, literally and figuratively.
I can’t help but think that upward mobility is the name of the game here. Even as I was critiquing the tracksuit and it’s real life repercussions, I was still bothered by the fact that I could not afford an authentic Juicy suit. And I have to tell you that when I saw that the Juicy Couture of legend no longer exists, my first impression was genuine disappointment that I didn’t get to indulge in that most contentious of American pastimes: using certain objects (in this case a designer sweatsuit) to gain prestige as a consumer/person/(capital-W) Woman. This feeling of disappointment is unsettling but certainly not surprising, given that we live in a culture that is necessarily built around making us ~feel things~ about objects and appearances. That said, the point of being conscious is not to remove yourself from the world you live in, but to be critical and try see things for what they are/have been/can be/will be. What a gift that tracksuit has given those (probably few) who choose to dissect it! Juicy Couture has been a bright, glittering marker of a gendered, raced, and classed cultural phenomenon. It was like a rhinestone neon sign, blinking, “ISSUES TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT HERE!” However, to read more you may have to consult the back of some sweatpants now found only on eBay.
So, to end this eulogy, I tip my hat to the fake tracksuits that I wore, the original Couture I could never afford, and my complicated relationship with both.
Micah Card is a writer, and educator in Los Angeles, California. Her work has been published by Vagina::The Zine, Lummox Press, Aesthetica Magazine, and once in seventh grade via a by-mail poetry contest, the legitimacy of which she now questions.