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The immortalization of fashion horrors
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Somewhere tucked in the confines of my office are some old family photo albums.

Among those yellowed pages are cherished memories, early pictures of my grandparents complete with my Pop in his Army uniform, baby photos of my Mama and uncle and me in all my baby glory.

And then, there are pictures that I wish would never see the light of day again.

I have been forbidden to get rid of them.

When I took possession of my Granny's beloved photo albums, Mama had one stern rule before she relinquished ownership: Do not burn or destroy any of the photos - no matter how unflattering you think they are.

I begrudgingly agreed even though pretty much any photos of me from about age 5 until now needed to be burned.

Especially those horrors from the ‘80s.

I had forgotten about these nightmares that had been frozen eternally in time.

"Mama, did Granny make your clothes?" Cole asked one day.

"When I was little she tried to, then found out Sears had a Pretty Plus section."

"What about this?"

He held up a photo - a horrible, horrible photo, complete with overly poofy hair, too much makeup, and an atrocity of a dress.

"So somebody's curtains didn't die in vain then?" he asked, still holding the photo up in front of me.

Bad heavy drapes from the 80s were not as bad as this dress.

"Were you wearing one of Granny's dresses? ‘Cause this looks like a grandma dress."

The backdrop of the dress was black with huge, bright pink flowers scattered across it.

Rather than curtains, it more accurately resembled wallpaper.

To add insult to injury, it was crowned with a crocheted collar that looked like I had tucked a napkin in and forgot it.

"Was this a school photo? Did you wear this to school? Please tell me you didn't wear this to school."

I'm sure my child was worried about the ridicule, teasing and torment that dress would invoke.

I assured him I had not worn the frock to school but had changed to go get my photo made at a professional photographer.

"You paid for this?"

"Well, Nennie did. It was one of those packages that she got from registering in one of those boxes in the Chinese restaurants."

That did not help my argument.

Cole was beyond confused.

"Where did you go to get these made?"

Maybe I shouldn't have told him that the actual location was a room at the only hotel my little town had at the time.

"And Nennie took you there?"


"She did. She wanted some extra photos of me and I am pretty sure my yearbook photo that year was pretty bad."

I may or may not have been wearing a Motley Crue shirt; more than likely I was out of my teenage rebellion.

"Seriously. Can you even explain this?"

"No, I can't. Just know when you grow up and look back over your childhood photos, you will find some questionable fashion."

But the point my child was missing was that this dress - as horrific as it is now - was probably in style back then.

Along with the overly teased hair, the god-awful eyeshadow, and even that crocheted doily I had apparently used as an accessory.

All of it was high fashion and haute couture in the 80s.

Even though it was in style, I hated it. But I had to wear it, along with those Sebago boat shoes that were as painful to wear as they were to look at. And the Reeboks with stirrup pants were equally horrid.

Flipping through the pages, there were more photos. Apparently, I went through a phase where I wore hats and rolled up my jeans.

Neither were a good look either. I must have seen something similar in an angsty movie.

None of it was good and all of it needed to be stuck back in the album, to be mocked well in the future.

"What did you do with all of these clothes?" my child asked.

I assured him they were given away - back then, I didn't hold on to a skirt; it was out of style two days after I wore it for the first time. I probably donated it or tossed it, thinking clothes were disposable back then.

Cole just found it horrible that I would share those fashion tragedies with anyone.

"Can I have this picture?" he asked, holding the wallpaper dress up again.

"Why do you want it?" I wanted to know.

"I just do," he smiled.

Regardless of how long it's been since you've thrown it away, there will always be proof of it somewhere.

And for some reason, my child kept the picture of mine in his wallet.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."

 

 

 

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