I’m turning 30 this year, so of course a part of me gets the appeal of revelling in judgement about what The Kids are into. I will not pretend to understand the appeal of youtube vloggers, and I don’t even know what kind of music teenagers listen to today. Are Justin Bieber and One Direction actually still cool? Probably not. Just last week I was on the way home from a job interview wearing my most grown-up outfit, a black business suit, when I walked past some 12-year-olds that laughed at me. When I’d just walked passed wondering what had made them laugh one of them said “Imagine being that old and still having an iPhone 5!”
I still think I’m fairly on trend for even having an Apple product to begin with, so it’s fair to say that I have no idea what the youths are up to nowadays.
And I sure find 12-year-olds wearing butt-enhancing underwear and false eyelashes in an attempt to look like Kylie Jenner as uncomfortable as the next old feminist swamp witch, but then I remember that teenagers have always worn ridiculous things to school to try and belong to something. Whether it’s popular girls painting an adult woman’s face over their acne or alternative kids showing up to biology class dressed like a 19th century ghost straight out of a gothic novel. We need to give the ridiculous teens a little more credit and have faith that they too will grow into adults with their own individual horrible tastes just like us.
But that’s not even the point I want to make. We adult women got distracted by our fear of 14-year-old wannabe Kardashians and have forgotten how good we have it, fashion-wise. When I go shopping in 2017, I can buy what amounts to extremely high-waisted sweatpants in loud prints, pair them with some tennis shoes and a big oversized jacket and actually claim to be fashionable. I’m a size 46 and I can buy bikini bottoms that actually cover my tummy, yet have trendy shit like pineapples on them! Cool people wear jeans that are stretchy and come up all the over your belly button! For the last few years there has been an actual trend called mom-jeans! The stuff our mothers wore when they had just resided themselves to being un-hip old moms and embraced comfort, that’s now actually something cool! There is sexy underwear with lace and prints that COMES UP TO THE WAIST.
I know I may be focussing a lot on the height of the current waistlines, but it’s because I remember vividly trying to squeeze my gigantic hips into low-riding jeans that showed my literal arse when I bent over and that had front zippers that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Barbie trousers. I remember when not wearing a thong was considered a radical feminist statement. I have owned underwear that amounted to nothing more than a rectangle the size of my hand, with some ribbon that went between my arse cheeks to hold the whole thing together. Now I have a drawer full of what used to be called gigantic granny panties, except they’re beautiful and sexy now!
The concept of even wearing a warm knit jumper was considered uncool when I was in high school just after the turn of the millennium. It could be -10 degrees, and all the girls were in their low jeans wearing a regular length top that left at least 15 centimeters of skin exposed, covered up with maybe one of those weird stiff G-sus hoodies. I off course rebelled against everything and instead wore even less practical clothes, such as oversized skater pants full of holes that the cold wind would blow right underneath, paired with some kind of mesh goth situation so that I might as well have just turned up in my bra.
When skinny-jeans were first introduced circa 2006, they were never made of stretchy denim and it was considered a faux-pas to wear them with anything but sky high heels. The very idea that you’d wear them if you were even remotely chubby made people recoil in horror. And of course they still barely accommodated your arse, but even that was a step up after a decade of boot cut jeans with roses embroidered on the butt cheek.
And let’s take a moment to remember that in the 00s, everything had a print of some kind on it. The concept of ‘basics’ was almost non-existent, when I was 20 I nearly cried with joy upon finding a simple black tube skirt without the word ‘juicy’ written across the butt. The re-introduction of the plain buttoned cardigan and the ballet flat was a revolution, finally something to wear with your god-awful butterfly print bandeau dress that at least sort-of made sense. Now H&M is racks full of every item of clothing you could want in plain black and grey as far as they eye can see! Sure it’s boring, but boring is good. I am currently wearing what amounts to a black t-shirt that comes all the way down below my knees, paired with a black cardigan that is essentially a huge fabric square with sleeves. I will pair this with a big denim jacket and Nikes, and people actually tell me I look great. And there’s plenty of weird stuff to indulge in to spice up your grey sack dresses. I have in the last year bought things like an eye-blindingly bright yellow pant suit and a fluffy pink faux-fur coat from regular stupid shops; there is weird loud stuff covered in glitter everywhere and dull basics to pair it with.
When I was a child, the discovery that someone wore second-hand clothes was akin to finding out their parents had a sex dungeon in the basement. The very idea that anyone would even still look at you was far-fetched. But then we made that fashionable! It’s been cool to wear weird old shit for so long now that there is an actual danger that we’ll run out of vintage clothes!
Jumpsuits are fashionable now! I literally wear a jersey onesie with some kind of loud print, put some red lipstick on and get accused of actually overdressing in something that might as well be pyjamas. Even dungarees are cool! Sometimes I fully embrace my lesbian stereotypes and wear dungarees, a flannel AND birckenstocks and none of these things are even unfashionable.
There was a time when the only available handbags were the size of a credit card. Now there’s cute rucksacks. RUCKSACKS!
Let’s never forget that there was a time when it was verboten to wear anything that wasn’t skin tight, let’s praise the lord that warm beanies and flat ankle boots are cool, and let’s never go back.
Title borrowed from: