The Quotophiles

This week’s quotation comes from Oscar Wilde:

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

So we started wondering about our own fashion mistakes over the years.

Colette: One fashion mistake which can be blamed on me and not upon a particular decade (like big hair and neon leg warmers) is my choice of prescription eyewear over the years.  If you look at pictures of me, over time, it’s like a time lapsed gallery of geekdom.  There’s nothing like making a fashion mistake right smack in the middle of your face.  Giant plastic frames which engulfed my head.  Tiny wire rimmed frames better suited for a Pixar rodent.  What was I thinking?  All I can say, in my defense, is that it is a cruel irony of the universe that people who cannot see well are expected to make sound decisions about what they’ll look like in a pair of glasses.  At best, I’ll try on a pair and think to myself, “When I’m not all blurry, I bet I’ll look terrific in these.”  It’s akin to putting on make-up using a fogged up bathroom mirror.  Somewhere behind all that fog, you either look fabulous or you look like Baby Jane.  You won’t know until it’s too late.

If you asked my Dad this same question, I’m pretty sure he’d say my asymmetrically shaved head – in college – was my biggest fashion faux pas, but what does he know?

Thankfully, the photo evidence of my blunders is packed away in storage.  No sense unleashing that Kraken.

Emily: Fashion faux pas are my forte! In elementary school there was the bowl cut that made me look like a little Amish boy (and also the repeat of that cut when I was 25). Then there was the year of turtlenecks – in fourth grade I wore a different color I had purple. I had blue. I had orange. I had brown. I had patterns. I had stripes. I had solids. And I repeated this trend my freshman year of college when I wore a chunky turtleneck sweater nearly every day – not like a cool poet or a beatnik turtleneck sweater, think more Land’s End, lumberjack. In high school, I refused to wear jeans, but I didn’t refuse to wear Birkenstocks On rainy days, I wore the plastic ones that nurses wear; in the winter I wore the suede clogs with socks. Oh, and then there were the do-rags. Of course, I couldn’t wear them to school, the floral patterns obviously meant I was in a gang, but once I was outside the school walls…

And, finally, I sometimes wore my hair pseudo-Princess Leia style.

Pam: It’s true, I actually thought this was a great look for my New Coon Creek Girls tour of 1985. The hair, believe it or not, was not a helmet but actually styled into this attractive coiffure. WHAT was I thinking! And, we played in public! Ahh!


Sally: It’s not a fashion mistake (or maybe it is), but my idea of fashion is to dress nicely and comfortably, like wearing a “Cycling for Libraries and MERLOT” t-shirt. I’m really not a fashion type person, but I am a biking librarian. Fashion should say something about who you are.  

Jolly Librarian: My fashion mistakes are too numerous to write out here. Many had to do with glasses. As Colette pointed out, the nearsighted are at a disadvantage when trying to discover how they look in a pair. The other major category would have to be around my attempts to smooth down my wild, curly hair. My passport picture is ten years old, and I am staring at the camera in giant glasses and a freakishly flat, short hairstyle. (No telling how much hair spray I swallowed to get my hair to stick to my head like that.) Last year, in an airport in Germany, a woman looked at me, looked at my passport, and then looked at me again. I shrugged. “That’s an old picture.” She gave the briefest of smiles and responded, “You have improved.” And that was after ten hours in coach!


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