Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just Say No To Retro


That was the scream I made when I rounded the corner at the entrance of our Target the other day and saw, in the $1, bins...


Loads of Jellies. In flourescent colors! Those little plastic shoes looked the same they did the last time they stunk up my feet back in 1985.

Oh, please, God, tell me they're not coming back.

Last spring I wrote about the pegged-leg jeans I saw in the J. Crew catalog. Guess what? They're still there, and they frighten me. I knew that 80s fashion was coming back, but does it have to come back so unchanged from 20+ years ago? Didn't we all ditch that crap in the 90s because shoulder pads, high waistlines, smelly Jellies, and unfortunate perms did us NO favors?

When several of the gals on American Idol graced the stage in skinny Mom Jeans with waistbands right under their nipples, I knew we were in trouble. But then the Jelly shoes, and I see now we're on a highway to hell.

Now, I hear a lot about Crocs being the Jelly of the 2000s. They are both arguably ugly shoes with fad followings. But here's the difference, kids: Crocs are actually comfortable. Comfy shoes can be ugly as sin and still be redeeming. Add to that that they are great for wearing in sand and mud and germy hospitals because you can spray them off, or disinfect them with a mild bleach solution, and they're none the worse for wear. What did our Jellies have going for them, really? They made your feet sweat, and the cheap ones were so hard that they left permanent indentions in your feet that bore a triking resemblance to a chain link fence. You couldn't break those things in; you just band-aided your blisters and kept going. Because they were cool, and everybody wore them. Why, I have no idea.

The very day after I was shocked by the return of the shoes, I saw these glasses in the J. Crew catalog. (That link takes you to a picture of the model wearing them, but J. Crew also lists those frames in their catalog and online and actually sells them and seems to be proud of them.)

We just never learn, do we?

Those big, clear frames bear a striking rememblance to my first prescription glasses, bought in 1986. Mine did have a tiny bit of blue tint in them, but that just made them cooler. Or so I though. But here's the thing with huge, clear plastic frames: if you put lenses in them for even the mildest nearsightedness, they shrink your face and make it look like your eyes are being transmitted from another dimension. I thought we all learned our lesson: no to large frames, yes to small. I saw an entire Oprah show once where they grabbed people on the street and put them into more flattering glasses by getting rid of the big and bringing in the small.

Tacky is making a comeback. Good taste is going out the window.

When I was in high school, there was this one teacher (let's call her Mrs. B) who wore the same polyester shirts and pants in 1990 that we spied her wearing in the 1970 yearbook. I used to feel bad for her, as I sat in her class in my bi-color layered mock turtleneck with shoulderpads, my acid washed jeans, Eastlands, and carefully teased bangs. She just wasn't with it. Why couldn't she dress cooler? Our Spanish teacher wore what we wore, so why couldn't Mrs. B?

Now I think Mrs. B had the right idea.

She always looked tasteful, and despite the polyester, downright elegant. Those simple shirts and pants could weather every ugly trend.

I may have loved these retreads I'm seeing in stores in the 80s, but I am not wearing them now.

You would not catch me dead in a pair of Jelly shoes.

Now, hand me my Crocs. I'm going shopping.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Just reading about the jellies again made my feet hurt. I'm not sure I ever got over the blisters those things gave me! And I love my ugly lavender Crocs. I wore them the whole time I was pregnant with Charlie, and my feet didn't swell until the last two weeks! Sure, people at work made fun of them, but I don't care. They're darn comfortable!! :)