Fashion failure? It’s not an option.

I may have had fashion failures in my life so far, but it doesn’t mean I have to CONFRONT them. I have a technique. We both know they happened, but I will stare you down, until you look away first. I’m like a frog. I don’t always have to blink.

Let’s first consider this notion of fashion ‘fails’. Failing means to fall short of success or achievement, or to be deficient or lacking. I don’t think there was anything deficient or lacking, persay, about my sartorial choices. I don’t think my outfits over the years have lacked anything, persay. I threw myself right in there, just like Madonna threw herself in to that pointy bra. I didn’t look good. I’m not claiming that. But I was on-trend, I think. So while looking back I look laughable, I was actually mixing it up in the milkshake blender of trends that were the 80s and 90s, cos God only knew MY milkshakes as actual EUPHEMISMS weren’t going to bring any boys to the yard, pancakes that they were. Maple syrup jokes are SO unfunny, teenaged boys. I could talk about pizzas, but I am a sensitive soul who knows who the Pixies are, even though it’s the NINETIES. So ner.

Apologies. I went somewhere for a moment. Fashion is a funny thing, and highly subjective. You can be so fashion forward you are actually backward (a la Celine Dion’s tuxedo at the 1999 Oscars, winning her a hallowed award in the ‘Worst dressed’ hall of fame), or you can rock it like Madonna with the lace and fingerless gloves in Desperately Seeking Susan, and WIN. With attitude to burn. And attitude is something I had in plentiful supply during my teenaged years, so, fail or no fail, I shall guide you through my cheeky 80s popped collar ensembles to the more moody 90s ‘I have no body under here and if you look at me or take a photo I’ll stomp on you with my BIG ANGRY GRUNGE STOMPY BOOTS! COS I’M IN YEAR 11 AND NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME!’

In truth, these are not the worst photos in existence. I am not being photo-ist and vainly flattering myself. I truly cannot find them. It seems they may have disintegrated in self-disgust, or spontaneously combusted from the attitude within. I hated having my photo taken, cos I looked horrible in photos (Duh. I was always scowling), hence I always looked horrible in photos. This is the song that never ends… it just goes on and on.. I can tell you I used to crimp my hair, and wear T-shirt crop tops, and later checked stussy pants with Docs. I went through a patch in year 10 and 11 where I put Glintz $3.50 rinses through my mousey brown hair to turn it a majestic shade of OH MY GOD THE SUN’S UP NEED SUNGLASSES! Or, ‘sunburst’ or ‘copper’ as the box described it. Or Wilma Flinstone, if it caught the light.

I feel my parents were blessed to have us turning 18 in the age of grunge and flannie shirts, because instead of going out in body-con dresses and worrying about undercarriage on display, ours were more concerned about us looking like something that had been sleeping in the bus shelter for the past week. Denim shirt, long skirt, hiking boots, OH and some leggings underneath, just in case there was some skin on show. They must have HEAVED a sigh of relief as I remember year 10, wandering the streets in skimpy denim cutoffs, singlets and bare feet, wondering what all the fuss was about when cars drove past. Ah – the innocent youth of yesteryear.

Without further ado, I bring you… my shame.

A plucky young lass in the 80s, Kim was fond of popping her collar while reading World Book Encyclopaedia.


Oversized sunglasses? Check. Chic? Ba-Baum. The flap hat helps keep the attitude off the back of her neck while she writes important postcard missives. Later she’ll have you know she had her hair stylishly braided island style, with beads etc, and was severely sunburnt along all of the part lines on her head. Hot.

Who is this dude in Madame Tussaud’s wax museum? Kim is nonplussed. And too cool to bother finding out, because she is wearing HER TRUSTY DENIM SHIRT and giant culotte-style black pants with clogs. She is in Year 11. She KNOWS EVERYTHING. But not who this man is. He must be unworthy of a photo.

In a place in the English Cotswolds, disguising her bum that has ingested far too much clotted cream, is teenaged Kim in her ‘dress’ leggings and cranky stompy boots. Ironic, then, that she LOVES Shakespeare and is absolutely busting to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon and see his birthplace.

The worst part of all this is, we’ll look back on our photos with our gorgeous kids, and all we’ll be able to see is our frightening sunglasses and scary hair. It all looks so normal, now….

Linking up with THE LOUNGE today, to share my shame…


29 thoughts on “Fashion failure? It’s not an option.

    • Well, Em, you know the rules. No hat, no playing at being a very important person writing very serious and important postcards. ;) x

  1. Oh, big grungy boots! Loved those!
    I think I went through 2 pairs of Docs. Complete with 501′s, a midriff top and big hoop earrings, of course. What was I thinking?
    Love the pink shoes to go with the pop up collared pink shirt! :) x

  2. I did the leggings, boots, jumper thing too, except my jumper had a picture of a sheep on it. Classy. You were SO CUTE as a girl. awwww.

  3. Chambray shirt and the yellow boots. I had both and I was as shiz as you. No-one understood me in year 11 either Kim, except Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Ihad stomp boots too!

  4. I’m loving reading everyone’s thoughts on this topic! I agree that your parents got lucky with the timing of the whole grunge era. That was early uni days/early twenties for me, and it was just so cheap to look ‘chic’! I did all my shopping at St Vinnies and thought I was totally hot stuff.

    • You WERE hot stuff, and for the princely sum of $14! Remember the army-style jackets with the badges on the arms? They were pretty cool with leggings too. Only in times of peace could we think we looked awesome looking so much like people going through tough or violent times!

  5. So Kimbo my fashion fail was (let’s start from the bottom): white Reeboks, white socks, denim shorts rolled up, brown belt, “genuine” Reebok t-shirt (warranty still hasn’t arrived from Thailand yet) TUCKED IN to the denim pants, but then pulled out just enough to look a little bulgy around the waist – HOT!!! No wonder that boy Nick never liked me in year 7.

    • He SO did like you – he was just blinded by the shining Reebok light that you emanated. Your glorious whiteness and brand loyalty. No girl has ever measured up since. Poor Nick.

  6. LOVE the fashion fails. My photos are packed away during renos (hey, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), but I’d be able to add to the stompy boots with my Doc Martens/mini skirt/tie-dye t-shirt/Nirvana pendant phase. GROAN.

    • Puh-LEASE. They so are not. Tie-dye shirts! How could i forget. Those photos had better make it out one day WOMAN OR I”LL HUNT THEM DOWN!

  7. Oh Kim! I love this post so much. I TOO HAD CRANKY STOMPY BOOTS AND A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX! Oh sorry, you didn’t have the superiority complex, that was just me. Ahem. I totally agree that these days the PRESSURE on the KIDS to be high heeling it up on a night on the town is more than I could have borne! Thank god all I had to do was put on my good Docs and I was ready to PARTY! xx

    • I DID SO HAVE A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX! How dare you suggest otherwise. We could have had a superior-off. Try saying that out loud. I did and it sounds like I’ve had half a bottle of sherry. FUN! Your turn xx

  8. The trend when I was in school seemed to be denim bottoms of some description and a low cut top. I have no idea, I have no pictures from that time because I was too busy hiding behind my hair and wishing the world would fuck off.

    • I kept wishing for more hair so I could do the same Tegan. Sadly mine still remains baby fine and barely even useful for hiding an ear. Boo.

  9. I was a flanno/leggings/docs girl in year 11 & 12 myself but have not included any of those photos in my post. Why? Becuase I still think they look AWESOME! And I’m not afraid who knows it! And I loved the Pixies too! I think we were teenage dirt-bag soul mates x

    • My leggings now have bits of ‘flair’ on them to make them pretend they’re pants. Like jodhpur stylings on the knee etc. Deep down i know the truth, but I’m WEARING THEM dammit. With my 2012 stompy boots ;) x

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