Sometimes I feel sorry for the kids of today because they’ll never know the joys of looking up to someone in a giant sunflower hat or mismatched shoes. They’ll never practice getting the perfect tight roll on their jeans or realize the value of a perfectly curled bang as the piece de résistance to a totally tubular ensemble.
I’m really glad I got to grow up during the late 80s and 90s. Don’t get me wrong, these styles were crazy, but I love that so many different styles were celebrated. It wasn’t about being pretty or looking chic, it was about standing out and really giving it your all. And while I stumbled through trying to find my own personal style, I’m so glad I had these ladies to light the loudly-dressed way.
1 Now it probably takes a different kind of toddler to beg their mom to get home in time to watch Jem and the Holograms, but it was a must-see in my book. Not only did I think Jem’s look was totally amazing and attainable, but I also felt pretty sure that that was exactly what my adult life would be like. | 2 And Punky was my girl. Cute and fiesty and making her own rules, especially when it came to style. Plus, I learned two major life lessons from watching Punky Brewster: never ever play hide-and-seek in an old refrigerator and you’re not cool unless you’re wearing two different shoes.
3 Look at those legs! I thought Blossom Russo was the bee’s knees. Even if they were the skinniest knees in town. And if Blossom is my number 3, Six is holding a strong position at 3.5. The pair were rarely seen without a daisy, a hat, or a daisy hat. I loved their louder-is-better approach to dressing (not to mention they rocked that menswear!). | 4 In my first grade book, no one in the world was cooler than Clarissa Darling. I wanted everything she had, from her cool mixed-pattern clothes, to her checkerboard room, to a cute neighbor to climb through my window. Plus she made her own computer games to “solve problems,” so there’s always that…
5 Seriously, no one in the world was cooler than Janet Jackson in the 90s. Did I know all the choreography to every video from Rhythm Nation? Yes. Did I look super cool doing it? Probably not. Would I still wear a key earring and an embellished hat? Yes and yes. Though probably not together. | 6 I wasn’t really old enough (or cool enough) when it came out to realize just how much I loved Angela Chase’s grunge sensibility in My So Called Life. But, as if I was being called by a higher power, I watched it and even though I wouldn’t really understand it until many many years later, I would say my too-brown makeup and flannel shirts of middle school proved it sunk in somewhere.
7 & 8 Edgy Alicia Silverstone in her many Aerosmith videos and polished Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. Also relaxing Alicia Silverstone in jeans and sleeping Alicia Silverstone in her pajamas. I just wanted so badly to be her. Or at the very least have her perfect, accidentally-looks-amazing hair. And if I couldn’t be her or have her hair, at least she taught my truly clueless 10-year-old self that Alaia is “like a totally important designer.”
9 The bindhi, the bangs, the red lipstick. Gwen Stefani was so self-assured and different from anyone else. Basically, everything I was not when I was little. I longed to be cool enough to do and wear whatever the heck I wanted. My space-age silver Nikes and matching silver track pants were about as close as I ever got to emulating this look. | 10 And, finally, the Spice Girls. I think they were the last official celebrities I really idolized (Leonardo DiCaprio aside, because true love doesn’t count). And while I never really had a solid favorite, I definitely rocked 3-inch platform sneakers on our entire family vacation to Disneyland. Because, you know, zig-a-zig ahh meant a lot to me at that time.
And now, another week linking up with Buttons & Birdcages for Link Up the Love! Here are some people who deserve some extra lovin’ this week…
1. Amee Bell-Wanzo, founder of Columbus Rocks the Cure, put on an amazing event last weekend and I’m so glad she talked me into taking part! She’s a really inspiring person and I’m so thankful our paths have crossed this year.
2. All of the models and musicians I worked with at the event were the nicest people. Whoever gave models a bad rep never worked in Columbus, because they’re awesome!
3. And in other inspiring Columbus news, a few people I met recently took a major stand against the upcoming Fashion Meets Music Festival for signing R. Kelly as their headlining act, feeling it was unethical to support someone with a known history of sexual violence and assault. They raised such awareness that the event not only pulled him from the lineup, but the backlash made national news on sites like USA Today and Rolling Stone. It makes me proud of our city, both on the part of the local activists, for passionately fighting for something they believe in, and the festival, for taking note and acting accordingly. People of Columbus, you make things happen and I love it!
So who were your childhood style icons? And on the hot topic of the day, would you see R. Kelly in concert? Let it all out in the comments section?