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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Olivia Kelly ~ Lady Loquacious ~ asks: Do These Parachute Pants Make My Butt Look Big?


What does it mean to you? When you realize that your favorite jeans have holes in them, are too small or too big (you evil witch!) or are acid washed, and it’s time for a new pair, are you thrilled to go shopping? Or does the idea of crossing the mall threshold make you break out in a sweat and want to hide in the closet with a box of chocolates and a Julia Quinn novel?

That’s just me? Oh.

Well, as you might guess, I’m not big on shopping. I used to be. I used to live at the mall every weekend with my girlfriends. I think it’s actually a required part of the American Teenage Girl Rite of Passage. (Shopping, gossip and finding a musician or movie star to crush on make up the 98.6 percent of a teenage girl’s time. The other 1.4 percent of the time is complaining there’s nothing to do.)

Partly, I think I hate shopping now because I’m still carrying around extra weight from the baby. (He’s six.) Mostly, though, I think it’s because I seem to fall prey to the Looks Fantastic in the Dressing Room Syndrome—you know the one. It’s when you try an outfit on, maybe something out of your comfort zone, and between the fun-house mirrors and the anorexic, gum-snapping rabid sales lady, you wind up buying parachute pants. For example, I mean. Not that I have ever worn parachute pants.


Anyway…LFDRS seems to strike when I least expect it. Sometimes I can even wear a shirt or dress, or haircut, for weeks before catching a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror and shrieking “Good Lord, why didn’t you tell me?!” Apparently, I need a personal shopper/dresser—like a movie star.

(Please don’t tell me you think they all actually manage to look like that just “running out to pick up a coffee” or “hanging out at the beach”? That would be very, very depressing. For me, I
mean. I’m sure it’s lovely for them.)

A personal shopper! Why do I always think of these things after the holidays?

I think my personal Fashion Lows include:

*A poodle perm (it was the 90s)
*Hip-hop paint-splashed, one strap overalls (it was the 90s)
*Pairing a “skort” with knee high boots (it was the…oh, wait. That was last week).

My Fashion Highs include:

*My Junior Prom dress; fire engine red and sequined, with spaghetti straps. It was one long column, with a slit up the side. I’m still not sure how I made it out of the house that night.
*My new brown corduroy jacket from Kohl’s; cute, casual, form fitting and warm.

Umm. I’m thinking.

Well, that might be it.

How about you? What are your Fashion Highs and Lows?

Did you perm your hair or fluff your bangs? Have you ever owned a jacket inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller phase? Did you wear bellbottoms, fringe vests, shoulder pads, Doc Maarten’s or that fake turtle-neck thingy that goes under your sweater? (And do you happen to know anyone who has a personal shopper they would like to loan me?)
Not Sexy. Not even a little bit.

Oh dear, it’s the Poster Girl of 80s Fashion Perfection.

Gosh, I wasn’t expecting all this—I just need some milk and toilet paper. Did you see my Gucci headscarf?

~ Olivia


  1. I'm not ashamed of my fashion lows--they were hot at the time! I rocked the big 80s hair. I loved the early 90s BIG shirt and tights combo. I embraced the grunge jeans and t-shirt and never let go! :-)

    I have to tell you that my son has a pair of 'Hammer Pants' that he bought just to do parkour in. I reserved the right to make fun of him for the life of the pants.

    I hear the new fashion is to smear cake icing all over your new shirt and wear it out with the girls! I believe I've rocked that look recently! LOL!

  2. LMAO! I will never live that down, will I, Deb? I hearby give you permission to spill something all over my shirt the next time you see me, lol!
    I was SUCH a Grunge baby! I wore the ripped flannel shirts and torn jeans and ratty sneakers. Then I went through a phase where I wore a lot of short plaid skirts with construction boots and hoodies...I believe this look was called "I got dressed in the dark". ;)

  3. It's not you that will never live it down--it's me! I was the one who smeared myself--and never noticed! The only thing you guys are guilty of is not telling me sooner! I'm still shaking my head at myself!

    The grunge thing I miss is the olive green cargo pants. I loved those!

  4. Did you ever tell Claudia? So funny! I love cargo pants. They aren't in fashion anymore?! See, I have no idea about this stuff, lol!

  5. LOL. I'd nearly forgotten the whole episode, Deb. In fact, when I read your comment first thing this morning, I thought... "Smear cake icing all over your new shirt?" That must be some pop culture thing I'm not getting. (Which, sadly, happens a lot to me.)

    As for not noticing... you know how oblivious I am to everything around me. Now if you hadn't worn a shirt *that* I would have noticed. It has to be really obvious that something isn't right for me to pick up on it.

    In fact - I was born in '73. So I lived through the 80s and though I heard people talk about "parachute pants" it was many years later before I realized what they were. Yep - I was oblivious even as a child. (And I never watched MTV or Friday Night Videos ever... I think the first time I watched MTV I was in my mid-twenties. So where was I going to see parachute pants? That's the story I'm sticking with anyway.)

    Yesterday someone said I always look stylish. Nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Maybe the always-oh-so fashionable Claudia Dain has finally influenced me. (Or the person who said I was stylish is even less so than I am.)

  6. No! I'm afraid to tell Claudia! She helped me pick out that shirt. Shhh!

  7. There are names for particular looks? Umm okay.

    You're supposed to go to a mall to shop? I thought 1-800-Send-It-To-Me-Without-the-Embarresment was how you shopped.

    I know nothing of fashion and in regular life I throw stuff on and it doesn't matter much because hubby and the kids are the only ones who see me. For nice clothes, I take my hubby. He lets me know if he likes it or not. :)

  8. It's funny, I used to devote much more time to my wardrobe...before I had kids. Now, it's more "Is it stain resistant? If my child pulls on the neckline a little bit, will I be exposed to the world?" Sort of puts you off plunging necklines, lol...

  9. Omgosh leave it to Olivia to discuss the one subject I can't stand as her first post! LOL! I hate shopping. I hate the crowds. I hate the mall. I hate the clothes. Ugh, did I say I hate shopping?

    I'm a jeans and shirt kind of girl and probably haven't worn a dress since I was a teenager. A pair of slacks is about as dressy as I get.

    With that said I grew up in the eighties and Madonna was the poster girl for fashion. Ugh, I cringe to even think about my hair. I've burned, hidden, or chopped up every picture I ever took back then. I wore the bangles, the granny boots, and the bobby socks! *swoon* Egads! What was I thinking??

    Now I'm off to try to forget we even had this discussion and try to get some writing in. And btw I've had that exposed to the world thing happen all too often, not because of plunging necklines but because I don't have enough up there -- so when the kid pulls on the shirt...well I'll leave the rest unsaid. =D

  10. Aww, but you're lucky, Suzie- because you look cute in a sweatshirt and jeans! My DH says he thinks I look cutest when I'm just hanging out, in jeans, t-shirt and no make-up.
    Really?! No make-up??? It's a sweet thought, but none of you will ever see me sans make-up.

  11. lol This post made me laugh. I was born in '72, but we were very poor growing up so never had the "latest and greatest". However, once I started working I made tons of blunders. Pouffy bangs? Yup. I dated a guy once who called girls' bangs "joke catchers". Or how about the one color knit pants suits/leisure wear? *shudder* Anyone remember jelly shoes? :-)

  12. Aww Olivia, you're so sweet and adorable! You forget I have seen you without make-up!!!!! Na na! And you're adorable. It's that brilliant smile you have that's so infectious. I love it!

    And Sandra! Jelly shoes! I remember those! I think I had some in every color. Ack! LOL Oh I have got to get out of memory lane and get something done LOL.

  13. OMG, jelly shoes! I had some of those- they used too give me stinky feet and blisters. What were the upside of those again?!
    When I was in middle school, I went to private school and we had a dress code. Everything I wore came from The Limited or Express- and it was went together, heehee. Yes, I had THAT matching silk blouse and blazer, with huge shoulder pads (that I took out!), which was worn with houndstooth wool pants and Sam and Libby ballet shoes.
    I think that was my fashion peak, actually. :D
    Glad I could make you chuckle, Sandra! Isn't it nice to look back fondly on how silly we were?

  14. Olivia,
    Love this post! But I agree with Suzie--hate shopping, DESPISE crowds & if it's not my hubby's cozy, police academy sweats, I'm not wearing it.
    And I'm the opposite of you-I wear make-up under duress & only when necessary. My mom subscribes to the put-your-face-on-to-scrub-toilets school of thought, so it kills her that I rarely wear any. In Junior High, I wore the heavy liner & winged hair with the poofy bangs. Dear God, I shudder at the memory. Now I'm fine walking out of the house looking like a 12 year old boy. ;}

  15. I don't put make-up on if I'm sick. Or if I'm going to the pool or beach. Or if we are in the middle of a nuclear melt-down. But I WOULD pause to grab my make-up case on the way out the door. ;P

  16. I love new clothes and handbags and gloves and shoes and scarfs and jewelry and hats... So, I guess in that sense, I like shopping, but I prefer to go alone since I'm on a mission. :)

    I was an 80s teen and remember wearing stir-up pants and big shirts. Then there were the two t-shirts where you rolled up the sleeves. Neon colors. Two belts. Leg warmers. I had big hair, chunky wooden jewelry, purple eyeshadow and glossy lips. Oh, and who can forget the stripes of blush - one for the apples and a darker color for contour? LOL.

    Trends are funny. I heard someone talking the other day about her and her sister ironing each other's hair to make it straight. This was using an actual iron and ironing board.

  17. My mom did that, Samantha! Back in the 50s and 60s, my mom and her friends used to iron each others hair to get it straight, lol.
    I would love to see pictures of you as an 80s teen. Love. It. ;P

  18. I had the big 80's hair and dressed it up with silver and bright blue eye shadow. I proudly owned parachute pants, stirrup pants AND Hammer pants.

    I did the spiral perms and followed Madonna down any fashion alley she chose to lurk around. I still have some photos. Crack me up. Loved my 80's style and the music.

    Much to my 19 yr old's chagrin, I still wear scrunchie socks and high-tops to the gym. LOL

  19. Stirrup pants! Haha, I forgot about those- I wore them too. And those squared-off sweatshirts, they were shaped like a box. Not attractive on anyone.
    I once wore a t-shirt that was fringed and beaded at the hem, from the islands, for an entire summer. It was hawt.

  20. Great post, Olivia and soo funny! I love, love shopping for my kids-especially for my 7 year old because she loves pink and sequins. My 4 year old's clothes are much more sedate--well, if you consider skull and crossbones and pirate ships sedate, lol!

  21. Ms Olivia, you can write, girl. Your post is fantastic! It also makes me cringe at remembering what I used to wear.

    I went from grunge, complete with the torn fishnets under the cargo-shorts, to punk, eek.

    Though now I intend to judge the success of my writing career as to how soon I get to buy a pair of those pajama jeans. Oh, the hotness.

    -TL Costa

  22. Oh, Marquita- I envy you and Jerrica your little girly girls! I love my little monsters...erm... BOYS, but they are all pirate ships, skateboards and skulls too! My 5 yr old brought home a bag of green slime (a la Nickelodeon) from his track out camp today. I don't know what to do with it. I'm afraid to let it out of my sight!
    TL, thanks for the compliment! You are very sweet. :) I went through the same phases, complete with the requisite homemade "tattoos", made with magic markers, all over my legs and hands, lol! I thought it was artsy and cool. Teenagers are dumb. ;D