Personal style, much like our preference for a particular genre of music or a style of food, is deeply intertwined with our background and upbringing. Nostalgia is, whether we like it or not, a powerful emotion. The kid who was raised eating bold flavours will likely develop an affinity for spicy dishes, and the kid who grew up listening to golden era hip hop will probably have a hard time wrapping their head around crunk or Riff Raff.
Of course, as we know, letting go of our past is a valuable exercise in helping us grow as people and as purveyors of good taste. But looking forward doesn’t mean we should forget where we came from. And on this holiest of Internet days, Throwback Thursday, I wish to pay tribute to my shoddy fashion past.
An embarrassing factoid about me is that I was dressed by my mother until I was in middle school. Yes, Tiger Moms are real. Mine chose to wield her unimaginable power in the cruelest way possible for a kid growing up in the public school system: dress her up in matching play suits obtained from the mainland of China while her peers frolicked in nondescript Gap Ts and Nike sneakers. I had the dubious privilege of owning said play suits in a variety of colours, each one more garish and humiliating than the last. One time I wore a school bus yellow suit and got chased around during recess by a bunch of hungry honeybees. Everyone saw.
How I survived that and elementary school in general I’ll never know. But now that I’m older, wiser, and get to pick my own clothes, I can look back and smile about it. I can also see with clearer, less angsty eyes that maybe some of those forced-upon-me style choices weren’t so off the mark. Monochrome suits not made in China during the early 90s are beyond chic, especially in unexpectedly bold colours like magenta. Sure, moms should let their kids pick their own clothes. But if you’re dealt such a sucky hand in life, pray that the person picking your outfits has an eye for colour like my mom did.
Images via thesartorialist and style.com