No, the picture above is not a midget hipster photographed in Silverlake yesterday, it's me in Orange County circa 1979. Clearly, the OP tee, Stubbies butthuggers and cowboy boots were neither functional nor fashionable, but I was four years old, and when you're four, “not looking like an idiot” isn't really a thought that crosses your mind as you're getting dressed.
Unfortunately, that thought failed to cross my mind on a few other occasions as I grew up.
I'm no fashion expert, as my closet (and photographic evidence) will attest, but I think there are some articles of clothing that are universally understood to be just downright bad.
Unfortunately, I found a way to convince my parents to not only purchase a few of those articles of clothing, but to actually allow me to leave the house wearing them. We had plenty of mirrors in the house, but you'd never know that, given the following three fashion atrocities that I sported with pride for the better portion of the '80s.
Let's get self-deprecatory!
1) Zubaz Pants
Did somebody barf up a bag of Skittles on your sweats? Fashion a pair of trousers made of gay zebra pelts? Kill a clown and leave him bloodied and pantsless?
I had no less than four pairs of these disasterpieces, and wore them. Often.
I am of the opinion that most (if not all) items of mens pants with an elastic waistband actually have an elastic waistband so that the wearer of said pants can remove them as quickly and easily as possible after realizing that they're outfitting themselves in something that should never be worn by anyone with the gift of sight.
Apparently these made a tiny resurgence in the late '00s, but as is the case with most hideous fashion retreads, it was less of a “Hey, these are awesome and comfortable!” way, and more of a bullshit ethos like “Hey, look at how risqué I am for wearing something that is wholly impractical and hideous!”
2) Skidz Overalls
I had a bit of an identity crisis in the '80s. I loved hip-hop, ranging from good (Eric B. & Rakim, Run DMC, and Beastie Boys) to bad (Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark, and 2 Live Crew), and a whole bunch of questionable garbage in between. I had aspirations of being a rapper. I might have thought my skin was several shades darker than pasty white.
In an effort to dress the part, I made my mom drive me down to the Mission Viejo Mall to buy me a pair of Skidz overalls for thirteenth birthday. A far cry from the Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls I'd had as a toddler, or the semi-functional Carhartt or Dickies overalls that a tractor-riding farmer or handy carpenter might wear, these were stonewashed, embroidered with the Skidz “slippery when wet” logo, and often worn with one or both braces down.
If I had a time machine, I might use it to travel back to 1988 to punch myself in the face.
3) Nike Half Shirt
This was more of an early '80s thing, and I can't recall whether I was actually allowed to leave the house with a bare midriff or if I snuck this out of the house in a backpack and changed into it in the piss-scented bathrooms at Vista Verde K-8.
The bottom line is that I wore something like this. Happily. Yikes.
Fast-forward to 2011. There isn't a single piece of clothing that I could possibly wear at this point that would highlight a more damning part of my anatomy (aside from a t-shirt with a hi-res photo of my butthole on it.)
We've all been through this in some shape or form in a few different generations, and I'd love to hear some of your childhood fashion faux pas in the comments.