90’s style is back! I say that with a mix of excitement, disgust, and trepidation. See, my relationship with 90’s fashion is super complicated (as I predict anyone who is my age can relate.) The clothes of my formidable tween and early teen self. The self who loved fashion and was simultaneously learning how to hate her body because of it. This was the time of the straight baggy leg jean, or the extreme low rise jean, the extremely tiny spaghetti strap tank tops that were impossible to wear a bra with unless you were one of maybe three girls in the entire world, crop tops, sweater vests, blazers, body con dresses (and not the good ones), flannels, exposed thongs, bucket hats, clunky shoes, stores that only sold sizes 5,7,9. What a time to be alive… except those years traumatized me. Nothing ever fit my body. My beautiful body back then which was not big, it was normal, but I thought it was huge and disgusting and it was wrong because it wasn’t a size 2 like the rest of the girls. My body which was curvy and couldn’t fit into pencil straight jeans was somehow less than because 100% cotton denim pants don’t stretch. Something was wrong with me because I (gasp) had to wear a bra, with straps, and couldn’t pull off a tank top meant to fit a toddler. I didn’t look great in crop tops, I have a long torso, and between the crop and the low rise jean that’s a lot of stomach to be hanging out there, let’s not mention the tween un-toned skin (not everyone could pull off Britney’s 1,000 crunches a day). But then nothing fit. Ever. And so I felt like I didn’t fit. Ever.
Back then I so badly wanted to be dressed a certain way. Like Cher Horowitz, like the girls on Friends, Kate Moss, like Mandy Moore & Hilary Duff even, but my body dictated otherwise. I never fit the mold (straight up and down) and I never let myself feel good in the clothes that did fit, or that I could afford. Self consciousness was like poison eating away at me.
In my 20s, living in NYC, with access to more of my own money, much better stores, cool and free spirited friends, and evolving trends, I found clothes that I loved. I learned how to dress for my body, the importance of stretch, what to accentuate and what not to, how to take risks, and what really pops, how to play with prints and fabrics, how to play with all budgets, how to get just the look you want but make it your own. I really came into my own style. 180 style evolution. I’m so proud that I know how to dress my body and any body through my own trial and error because I’ve been there and I know it’s not about how you look it’s about how you feel. Style is attitude. It’s expressing your energy and vibe on the outside, not just regurgitating some trend.
Except… flash forward to present day and all that shit that “hurt me” back then is all back now. Everywhere I look it’s those unforgiving straight up and down pencil jeans. I wanted them to fit so badly back then and I guess I still do. I have literally spent too much time trying on, buying, and returning jeans this past year only to be absolutely crushed when the largest size won’t even come up over my butt. I look at each new pair I find with a renewed sense of hope like these will be the ones. These are my “90’s jeans” and then BAM they don’t fit or zip and depression. Tonight I decided forget that. What is wrong with me? If I’m going to be insipiring people to wear what makes them FEEL amazing and not just look amazing then what am I doing chasing after these pants. My search for these stupid jeans ends now. I have learned too much about myself and healed too much to let these pants bring me to a place of anything but love and acceptance for my body.
Also, truthfully, why is this style back? 5 years ago if you told me this shit was all coming back I would have said you were crazy. I look back at my year books and I’m like what were we thinking?! And now someone says it’s cool again so we all have amnesia. Ugh to think there are tweens and teens struggling to get these high waisted no stretch cotton traps on right now and letting it define them because they don’t know better just makes me mad. How can we as a society be going through a body positive movement but then filling the affordable fast fashion places with all this unflattering 90’s crap? What kind of mixed message is that sending?
The thing is these pants will never fit me, they will not look good and I will not feel good in them. I need to let go of this idea of the perfect pants that I was searching for all those years ago. The truth is, it’s not about the pants, it’s about that desperate need and desire to fit in when you’re at that tender age and even that we carry with us into adulthood. Well today I am dropping the need for the pants. Forget what generation z says about skinny jeans being dead, buy whatever the fuck jeans you love. The end.