At work last Friday, a group of contemporaries and I were discussing some of the finer fashion moments of the last 25 years. We covered some of the early 80s looks, including neon apparel, parachute pants, and sweatshirts with asymmetrical neck holes, a la Flashdance.
And then I trumped them all: In the late 80s and early 90s, I paraded around in UNDERWEAR. Yes, it’s true, boxer shorts were a staple of my wardrobe for several seasons. Worse? In the winter I paired my boxers with LEGGINGS, presumably to keep me warm.
I didn’t really grasp the concept that boxer shorts were actually underwear because my dad was partial to briefs. Boxers became available in a wide range of patterns and fabrics (plaid flannel, for example) and I was in heaven.
As it transpired, I wasn’t the only one in the group to wear boxers as outwear. Apparently it was a tri-state area phenomenon. I’m not sure if the boxer fashion tentacles stretched farther because none of us grew up further away than Westchester, NY.
From boxer shorts, I moved inexplicably to dressing like a lumberjack from the Pacific Northwest. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Kurt Cobain and his ilk. If the aim of that fashion epoch was to look like a man, I reached nirvana on every level.
I was also a victim of my environment (and heritage). Growing up in a town with a larger-than-average Italian population, it was impossible to avoid the cliched New Jersey Guido (gwee-doe) look. To achieve this, we utilized many cans of Aussie Scrunch spray, shirts from a store called Chess King, and Z. Cavaricci pants, which sold for upwards of $70. I vividly recall the day my sister bought her very first pair–she’d been saving for months–and my dad and I accompanied her to the mall for the epic purchase.
I’m sure our discussion about fashion could have stretched into the wee hours of the night, but it was a Friday before a holiday weekend and we were eager to get out of Dodge. Lucky for me, I can continue the discussion right here with you!
Pony up: What fashion faux pas did you embrace with open arms?