Thursday, August 2, 2012


I tend to think of myself as someone who doesn't have a style when it comes to clothes, but that's not accurate. I've always had a style or styles, all my life.

As a toddler, my style was Princess. I would have been more than happy to wear a tiara every day. I insisted on wearing dresses and mary janes, eschewed my mother's idea of proletarian dress, i.e. sensible shoes, plain brown overalls and such. Yuck! My sisters were fine with the modest, dressed down look, but I was not. I was shamed for my love of girly style, made to feel frivolous and vain. Can a four year old be vain? You tell me. It took years of therapy and noticing that many mothers allow their daughters to wear tutus, grow their hair to their waists, and sport tiaras whenever they damn well please before I was healed from the shame. It wasn't just me who loved the princess look!

As a grade schooler, I still loved my dresses. I remember distinctly some of my favorites from those years. I was also really into uniforms at that time, especially nursing uniforms. I learned how to fold a nurse cap from plain white paper. During that era I would have loved being allowed to wear a nurse's cap every day. I loved my Brownie and Girl Scout uniforms, too, festooned with pins of course. It was so pre-Michael Jackson. I did not wear one glove though, so maybe it wasn't Michael Jacksonesque.

As soon as I came into adolescence, I began dressing like a whore. The shorter the skirts, the tighter and more revealing the outfits, the better. I wore a lot of ugly make-up, too, including the then popular white frosted lipstick, in an effort to appear even more sexy. Oh dear. White lipstick? What were we thinking?

I see girls in early adolescence all the time whose style is similarly whore-ish, according to current styles. They must experiment, they must try to express themselves through dress and make-up, but oh - it is so embarrassing to see them! Good lord.

And then there was the summer of love, 1968. After that I adopted two styles: hippie chick and vintage. I loved my John Lennon teeshirt and bell bottom jeans - of course! - but I also began shopping at second hand clothing stores then. I loved wearing fashions from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Those clothes fit better than what was stylish at that time, aka Twiggy style clothing for women who were skinny with no waist or boobs or hips, and long legged, all of which I never was.

During the 80s, fashion took an unfortunate turn. Oh the frizzy hair, oh the shoulder pads and ugly balloon pants that fit tight around the ankles! I wore crazy Balinese-like prints, clothing with the biggest shoulder pads I could find. I dressed like a clown - but then, so did everyone else. I was also very fond of the Annie Hall look with the big pleated trousers, vests and hats. I had an aqua plaid sports jacket that I called my Paul Drake jacket. I loved that jacket.

Something happened to me during the 1990s. I don't know what it was but I can say for sure that I gave up on having a style. I adopted a look I call Bag Lady. I've dressed like a Bag Lady ever since then - until the day I threw away my mildewed clothes this week, that is. It's a brand new day. As of this week, I am no longer wearing old, faded, stained, worn out clothing. I'm starting from ground zero, so I can go any direction I want.

I'm over the anxiety about starting fresh, curious to see what I decide to wear. I am so over the Bag Lady look, my goodness! Gypsy style is quite in vogue this season. That appeals to me, definitely. And of course the REI active wear makes sense for a person whose work is physical and spends a lot of time outdoors.

Figuring out my style, after so many years of dressing like a shabby bag lady, is going to be fun. I'm jazzed.

What a crazy summer!



Pam said...

A lot of energy coming from that last photo Reya - and no doubt a lot of energy will come with wearing the new clothes too! The early eighties were a shocking time for fashion and hair. Big earrings, big shoulders, big hair. I cringe when I look back on family photos of that time.Other eras just make me laugh, or remember good times.

Reya Mellicker said...

I cringe too, when I see myself during that time. My hair was usually either eggplant purple or maroon. Of course I henna-ed my hair! It was cut long but in layers, assuring the maximum amount of frizz.

I dressed like a clown. But at least I had style!

Reya Mellicker said...

When I see pictures of myself, I meant

Anonymous said...

I'm always mystified by those who have a fondness for the 1980s which I consider one of the worst decades I lived through. Most of them were preteens or early teens then, which probably puts it in a different perspective. It was the worst decade for my life and fashion.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes. It was a really difficult decade.

Steve Reed said...

Actually, I like that white lipstick look from the '60s!

We all have our fashion epochs -- our pleistocenes and mesocenes of bad clothing. You're right about the '80s. They were especially bad.

Rebecca Clayton said...

It sounds like you're going to have fun!

Reya Mellicker said...

I might as well enjoy it. Bring it on!