Last week I went to Joshua Newman’s Homecoming '96 party, where you were supposed to dress accordingly. I couldn’t remember how I dressed in 1996, so I used Rayanne Graff from My So-Called Life as my inspiration and wore black nail polish, lots of eyeliner, fishnets, Liz’s German army boots, a plaid Catholic schoolgirl skirt, and carried a backpack full of liquor bottles. I spent the whole night kicking myself for not dressing like this in 1996, and if there was some way I could pull this off now, I’d probably try, because it was really fun. Anyway, today I started wondering exactly how I did dress in 1996, so I pulled out my college photo album and OH! Oh. That’s how I dressed in 1996.
This was taken during Thanksgiving Break my freshman year of college. A few weeks earlier, I had let my roommate cut off five inches of my hair, which was fun for about three days. Here I am wearing someone else’s sunglasses, and my little brother’s sweater. He was 11 at the time. That’s kind of weird.
I know what you’re asking yourself right now. You’re asking yourself, "is she wearing overalls and a scarab necklace?" But no, I’m actually wearing SHORTALLS and a scarab necklace! What else do you wear to the Widespread Panic concert? Apparently you also wear some sunglasses that were the bastard issue of Jackie O and Bono. I don’t wear sunglasses anymore because they make me look like an asshole. I also don’t wear polo shirts because they make me look butch. Fun fact.
I found the top half to my dad’s old silver and burgundy Adidas tracksuit from the early '80s and started wearing it in 1995, thus marking the only time in my life I’ve ever been ahead of a fashion trend. So far ahead of it, in fact, that my friends made fun of me and would ask me not to wear it out. Here I seem to be pairing it with pajama pants, wool socks, Birkenstocks, and the orange headband I would use when I washed my face. I think I’d actually been sick in bed all day and was headed out to buy cough syrup in this picture. Someone put that creepy Calvin Klein poster on our door as a prank the first week of school and we left it up all year.
This is me on the phone during sorority rush. I really, really did not want to attend sorority rush. In fact, my mother and I had some pretty heated arguments about it, but finally she won and I had to go, and the only good part was that I got randomly paired as rush roommates with my now best friend Laura, who did not want to be there either, so we’d spend the evenings when we were supposed to be socializing with the other girls locked in our room, eating vending machine food and listening to the Pogues. We were not supposed to have any contact with the outside world during rush, but that phone was right there in our room, begging to be used, and what better way to give a giant fuck you to sorority rush than to use that phone on the sly? Here I’m sporting Laura’s Meat is Murder T-shirt, cut-offs, a silver scrunchy around my wrist, and, given the hand gesture, a giant chip on my shoulder. Sidenote: Jesus God how I long for the tan legs of my idle 18 year old summers.
This picture can’t really count as what I wore in 1996, because I think the only thing I’m wearing that’s my own here is my jeans. I seem to have collected my friend Alex’s fleece vest, my friend Tony’s shirt that says IDAHO, and my friend Brian’s boots. Sadly, the hat is mine. I look like I’m about to down some Dew and snowboard out of a helicopter. I call that look “drunk.”
This was what I wore to the Screw Your Roommate dance in November 1996. You can’t really tell, but that babydoll dress ends above my knees, and then I paired it with some unfortunate heels made of black satin ribbon that somehow laced around my ankle or something. I bought this dress because it cost $30 and it matched the nail polish I wore religiously in 1996, Chanel Vamp. The best part of this photo is the stuff in the background. What’s up, Johnny Cash poster? I see you, Kamel Reds! And why the fuck are you even there, hot rollers? This was back when I had straight hair.
This was taken right before I spent the evening driving my brother and three of his friends to their first middle school dance. I borrowed my dad’s car and my brother insisted we play Weezer really really loudly, which was more than okay with me. This was back when I thought it was really cool to cut the hems off of my jeans and then fray them by hand. Also, in the fall of 1996, I wore only two pairs of shoes: the black boots pictured here, or these 200 year old clogs that made my feet bleed. I think later that winter I jazzed up the roster with some dark red platform loafers. However, it’s the coat that really sums up best what I wore in 1996, because I wore it EVERY FUCKING DAY. You can’t really see it here, but it’s dark brown corduroy with a fake fur collar. My friend Christina bought it at a thrift store for $5. It smelled like somebody’s grandparents’ couch, but in a good way. About five minutes after this picture was taken, my brother grew nine feet taller.
The Coat, again. Paired with a lime green shirt and a wide suede headband. Sure, why not? I was always jealous that Emily could pull off scarves so effortlessly.
This is my college boyfriend Joey modeling The Coat, along with my Jackie O/Bono spawn sunglasses. It’s a shame you can’t see his sideburns properly in this shot, because they were truly a thing to behold. I also wish that you could see the Van Gogh Starry Starry Night print hanging next to the Trainspotting poster on the opposite wall. Ohhhhh, 1996.