Monday, November 17, 2014

Fashion "Disasters" ... or Maybe Not

Thinking maybe it was time I participated in a Throw-Back Thursday on Facebook, I grabbed a box of old photos I'd found recently. Many Throw-Back photos focus on fashion disasters, and there was no doubt in mind I could find a photo of one of my own fashion disasters. After all, I turned 18 in 1975. The seventies and eighties were frightening years for fashion in oh, so many ways.

Thumbing through the photos, I noticed for the first time that there aren't many of me. Guess that can happen when you're more comfortable taking the pix than being in them.

In the few photos of me, I often didn't look half-bad. Gasp. That I looked just fine astonishes me. No, I'm no narcissist, but low self esteem and I do have more than a passing acquaintance.  Not labeled the "pretty sister" in the family, I never had a positive body image, and in those days was resigned to being what I considered decidedly chubby. I didn't absolutely hate my looks back then, but I certainly didn't love my image in the mirror in those days.

Most of the pix show me in jeans and a sweater, or short-shorts and a cotton top. Not really what I'd call total fashion disasters. I was even rocking hoodie jackets before they were hijacked by hipsters. A real trend setter, bwah-ha-ha--not really!

With the few scraps of wisdom I've gained since then, I see in my earlier self a young woman who was in her prime, slim, with a pretty smile and sparkly eyes. Decidedly not chubby, and if I had been chubby, that wouldn't have been the end of the world, now would it?

Too bad I didn't enjoy and celebrate my appearance more back in my teens, twenties, and thirties! What time I wasted worrying about my appearance!

Finally, at the bottom of the box, I found the photo that qualifies as a fashion disaster. It's a red plaid dress, buttoned up to the neck, with a skinny black grosgrain ribbon tie. That 1984 dress hadn't crossed my mind in 30 years, but once I saw it, I remembered I indeed thought it was pretty. It was a nice quality dress that I wore for many years, and I felt good about myself when I wore it. Nowadays it looks vaguely Little House on the Prairie or perhaps a garment a "sister-wife" would wear. The bobbed hair was not my best look, either. Slightly cringe-worthy, but sheer youth and good health can make up for most any fashion faux pas.Some other photos in the box show me in the garb I wore while I was a commercial fisherman. One of only two women on the island who worked crab pots, there's a shot of me looking like the Gorton fisherman. But I look happy, even though my jacket is stained with fish blood. Surely many people would see the goofy red visor and grubby slickers and judge this the ultimate fashion disaster.

For once, looking at that awkward girl that I was, I feel nothing but pride. Happiness, youth, health, and a smile can make a fashion disaster seem trivial in comparison.

So yellow rainslickers are okay with me. However, you can bet I won't be tying a grosgrain ribbon around my neck again in this lifetime.


  1. I feel exactly the same now Mel. When I was in my 20's and 30's I dodged the camera as often as I could and actually felt like people who wanted my photos hated me because I was so "unphotogenic". Since starting the 365feministselfie project, I've grown to first accept my face, and then Love it. Now when I look back at my childhood pics (when I thought I was such a dork) and my young adult photos (when I knew I was ugly) with a kind heart and gosh, I actually love that girl I was (and am). So far as our fashion, we are the same age, and everything was ok back when we were in our 20's. Heck I was too busy raising kids to worry about fashion. Love you gf. PS: I had a dress VERY similar. Lands End and Eddie Bauer had the BEST knit dresses.

  2. I have really enjoyed your 365feministselfie project, too, and have learned a lot from you! We were WAY too hard on ourselves-- we never would have been as mean to another person as we were to ourselves. If that makes sense. Yep, that kind heart, even for our geekie selves is essential. Love you too and I'm so pleased to call you my friend!

  3. WOWOWOW! I want to see more classic Mel pics!!!! You look mahhhhvelous! <3 KC

  4. Aww... I like the red plaid dress with the ribbon. Isn't it amazing how we (women) tend to feel insecure about--even disparage--our appearance when we're younger. But looking back, we looked pretty good!

    1. Thanks, JAVS. We did look darn good. Now I'm working on my neural pathways to condition them to think I look good now, too! ;-) Work, work, always work, LOL!

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