Which cringeworthy fashion trend did you follow when you were younger?


I’m a Child Of The Sixties, soooo…. Apache hair, generationally mandatory moustache, giant sideburns (occasionally linking up to moustache); fringed buckskin vest covered in buttons, badges and “flair”, worn over a tie dyed T-shirt; girlfriend-woven macramé belt holding up ragged bell bottoms; “Jesus boots” until it got too cold, Civil War boots (the ones with the pointless instep straps) thereafter; large clunky medallions worn over turtlenecks and paisley print rayon shirts; Nehru jackets with collars that accentuated my just-sprouted adam’s apple. Accessories: on a grubby leather thong, grandpa’s old, difficult-to-dig-out, needing-to-be-wound-and-adjusted pocket watch (somehow at the time, seemed preferable to a perfectly good, perfectly visible, accurate, self-winding wristwatch); ethnic beadwork shoulder satchel also covered in “flair”; completely useless leather sweatband horizontally bisecting my forehead; brilliant red eyeballs from really bad home-grown pot; the freaked-out, wide-eyed and uncomprehending stare that comes from ingesting thousand microgram hits of blotter acid. The decade’s signature scents: patchouli, sandalwood and b.o.

In the Seventies: white-guy Afro perm, Jheri Curl, droopy Fu Manchu moustache; Goodfellas collars large and pointy enough to spade gardens with; wide-lapelled, PermaPrest™ 3-piece suits of artifical fabrics, in fruity colours, over open-collar, smelly polyester shirts; barrel-legged and cuffed pseudo-tweed trousers of inauthentic and awkward plaid; platform boots with side zips (one usually left partly unzipped to accommodate Ace bandage around sprained ankle). Cabretta leather jacket/pants combos that creaked when I walked. Weekend wear: ragged OD green US Army surplus w/ peace symbol, smiley face and/or McGovern campaign buttons (and I’m Canadian). Accessories: tiny, purple-tinted granny glasses; paua shell necklace or Powers-ish “male” medallion, to direct female gaze to excessive throat/chest hair; wallet full of gaily coloured condoms, most more than a year old; man-purse. If STEM student (I was): large pouch for rechargeable calculator, ostentatiously carried on hip; newfangled watch with red LED readout it took both hands to view (see “pocketwatch”, above). If gay (I wasn’t): polkadot hankie knotted around wrist; single earring; lisp (otherwise how would they all know?). Decade’s signature scent: Amyl nitrate. Second place: Hai Karate / Brut (basically the same thing).

In the Eighties: The briefest of dalliances with Flock of Seagulls hair, and the nearly immediate realization that it hadn’t really been worth the effort. At all. Disco Stu look comes back for an encore, gradually transitioning into a mullet with frosted tips; soft-shouldered, deconstructed jackets in Miami Vice pastels, worn with pushed-up sleeves over loose, crew-necked T-shirts. Thick gold chain worn over the shirt. Weekend wear: tennis whites with prominent logos (headband mandatory); acid-washed denim, topped with a double-stitched Italian shirt in a complicated print, worn either with an ascot, or open to the navel; no middle ground possible. Accessories: pastel sweater worn over back, w/arms casually folded around neck (safety pin helped w/ effect). On a gold chain: Ankh, Hebrew chai and / or coke spoon. Decade’s signature scent: Jovan Musk … lots and lots of Jovan Musk. Can’t possibly splash on too much. Second place: “cocaine” that was about 90% lactose, and smelled like it.

In the Nineties: middle age hit me hard and fast. So for the better part of the decade, I just wore a simple, classic, eight-seater minivan. Accessories: assorted progeny, neighbourhood kids, classmates, teammates, soulmates, prom dates, only-friends, best-friends, former-friends, rivals, bitter enemies, peacemakers, posses, conspirers, cabals, neutrals, in-groups, and out-groups; Cadets, Scouts, Brownies, swimmers, sailors, debaters and musicians; forgotten scarves, skates, Sunday School take-homes and band instruments; discarded Yoplait containers and Slim Jim wrappers; musty wet towels; unreported dog throw-up; sports gear that varied with the season, but smelled bad all year round. Decade’s signature scents: Old Spice, Rogaine, Carpet Fresh, the pit at Mr. Lube.

In the New Millennium: a comb-over; a visually complex, excessively be-zippered and jingly biker jacket (I rode a ten speed); sweatpants, track suits; lo-rise socks that exposed my shiny, depilated shins; and giant, expensive athletic shoes that incorporated various gadgets. Accessories: new stockbroker’s phone number written somewhere on my arm in Sharpie; Celtic armband tattoo; moleskin doughnuts to protect blisters; bandaids over chafed nipples; digital stopwatch on a lanyard; Zune. Decade’s signature scents: Ben Gay and Bombay (gin, that is).

Since then: a shaved head, increasingly white goatee, and a remarkable crop of liver spots on the back of my hands; cargo shorts plucked from the remaindered bin; sandals over socks, preferably black ones – specifically chosen to maximally embarrass my grandchildren. And because I’m now officially too old and too tired to give a flying fuck what strangers might think of me; if you don’t like the way I’m dressed, shield your eyes, pal. MANDATORY and DAILY accessories (don’t leave home without ’em!): fanny pack, insulated coffee mug, enough random change to make my front pockets bulge hideously, four-inch thick wallet that prevents me from sitting down, and an outmoded-by-three-generations cellular phone with diminished battery capacity, for which I have to keep finding public receptacles – when I don’t forget the cable. Decade’s signature scent: heady mixture of Aqua Velva, Preparation H and that weird, vinegary Old Man Smell.

Sartorially speaking, the rank silliness of the droopy-pants generation ain’t got nothin’ on me; buncha freakin’ amateurs.

Author: theartfulcodger