Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Fashion Faux Pas throughout the Years

Every now and then, my children like to pull out old photo albums and poke fun at my wife and me because of past unwise choices. I guess this is a good thing, but sometimes the teasing does hit a nerve, especially when you can only admit that it is true. And then this week they got even more ammunition to question our past judgment.

We were combing through the attic to find our stored Christmas decorations when one of the children made a discovery in a box pushed way over in the corner. It was one of my old photo albums from way back in the day.

Well, they only had to thumb through the first few pages before they realized what a gem they had. Holding the dust-covered artifact over their head, they forgot putting up Christmas decorations for a while as they sat in a corner and literally rolled in the floor with laughter.

Now, I don’t care how fly you are at this very moment, at some points in our lives we have all ventured off the straight and narrow path of good fashion. We have all at some time or another lost our way. For all of us, somewhere there exist pictures of us with a hairdo, an outfit—something—that we thought at the time was dead fly, but only now do we realize how ridiculous we actually looked.

I am no different. These are my confessions.

The Leisure Suit

Perhaps I cannot bear the full blame for the leisure suit. This is one my parents and grandparents foisted upon me. I must have been about eleven at the time. My mother found these leisure suits in my size at the Sears Surplus Store, and she bought me a couple. Well, she and my grandparents liked the way they looked on me so much that they ran right out and bought me leisure suits in almost every conceivable color.

And with my mother and grandmother urging me on with shouts of, “Go ahead with your sharp self, little man,” and “You know you gonna’ knock’em dead today with your bad self,” I went out into the world each day clad in my little leisure suits confident in my flyness, though fly was not in my vocabulary at the time.

Only now do I realize just how ridiculous I really looked. I looked like a little old man. And let me give a shout out to my two friends at the time because they had to be real friends to stick with me through this.

The Jheri Curl

Just let your Soul Glo!

I don’t know who Jheri was, but I know that in the late-1970’s and through most of the 1980’s that this Jheri character got straight paid. And don’t judge me because at the time in the city of Memphis, everybody and their momma had a Jheri Curl. Literally. That’s everybody and their momma, and their daddy, and their grandmomma and granddaddy, and aunts and uncles. Err’body!

My whole family, from my daddy on down, had a Jheri Curl. My daddy had to write curl activator and touch-ups into the family budget. We call this our dark period. But after a year or so of ruined furniture and bedding from oily, greasy heads, we all come to our senses. However, in some parts of Memphis and the nation, the Jheri Curl remains alive and well.

The Michael Jackson Thriller Jacket

All I can say is that I got caught up. I watched the Thriller video and got all hyped up, and then I happened to venture into the local mall and guess what they just happened to be selling? That’s right. The Michael Jackson Thriller jacket.

Whoever thought of this had to have been a marketing genius because these jackets were flying off the shelf. In fact, when I saw them for sale, I decided to look around before I made my purchase, but when I returned there were only three left, so I bought one just so I could get it before the store ran out. And it wasn’t even my size!

Parachute Pants

And if the tight Michael Jackson Thriller jacket wasn’t enough, I even bought me a slew of parachute pants. So, there I was walking around with a Jheri Curl, a tight Michael Jackson Thriller jacket, and parachute pants trying to figure out why I couldn’t even buy a girlfriend. But then some frank young lady had the decency to point me in the right direction.

I really, really liked this young lady, and finally I worked up enough courage to ask her to the spring dance. However, when I finally popped the question, she simply looked me up and down and said, “Ain’t nobody gonna go nowhere with you when you walking around with a Jheri Curl, a tight Michael Jackson Thriller jacket, and parachute pants. You must be trippin’. You look like a broke Stoney Jackson.” She and her friends then laughed hysterically.

Well, I withdrew for a while, and over the summer I cut my hair and changed my wardrobe. When school resumed in the fall, the little girlies were all over me like a cheap leisure suit, even the young lady who had been so severe in her rebuke. And I thanked her for her advice, but I opted for someone with a better command of the English language who did not use double negatives.

And I take solace in the fact that perhaps twenty-five years down the line, some gentleman will be doing a similar fashion faux pas post about skinny jeans.

Skintight Genuine Imitation Italian Silk T-shirt

I wish I could blame this one on adult intervention or youthful ignorance, but the cause of this fashion faux pas was simply male vanity.

It was the end of the 1980’s, and I was living in the Seattle-Tacoma area at the time. I began to work out on a regular basis and before long I developed a reasonably good physique. So, I looked around and all the buff guys were wearing these super tight t-shirts to show off their muscles. And what did I do? I went out and bought me a bunch of skintight genuine imitation Italian silk t-shirts to show off my muscles as well.

Because I am an over-achiever, I bought every available color. And I bought them extra tight. So tight, in fact, that I had to have assistance in putting them on and taking them off. But two incidents convinced me that this was not the fashion choice for me.

On one occasion I was standing in line at a local department store when a kid in front of me looked at my chest and then told his mom, “Look momma. That man has nipples.” The woman looked at me, looked at my chest, and then told the kid, “Must be really cold in here. Doesn’t feel that cold, though.” #sexualharrassment

And then the last straw came when I was attempting to impress this young lady at a bar-b-q. There I was talking to her when her face suddenly took on this quizzical look, and she began staring intently at my chest. Of course I’m thinking, “She’s digging on the pecs,” so I really start flexing. I am flexing so hard, in fact, that I could feel a cramp coming on.

Just then her friend walks into the room, and she excitedly motions her over. When her friend gets there, she points at my chest and says, “Girl, this dude's shirt is so tight that you can see his heart beating!” With that they broke into raucous laughter, threw their hands up, and ran from the room to get more of their girlfriends to come and mock me. #sexyfail

I know that many of you out there have had similar fashion faux pas. Care to make your own confession?


Anna Renee said...

LOL! You a bad man! You had the Beat It jacket?! That's Ok. Haha!
Back in my day it was jeans and Chuck Taylor sneakers in every color imaginable. The flyest of us would wear mismatched Chucks--a red and green with a red and green shoe lace in the opposite color shoe! Superbad!!

Max Reddick said...

Yeah, I remember the Chucks. Chuck cornered the market in the hood. Now they are making a come back. Both my kids are attempting to collect them in every color, and they think they just discovered them. But I know that they have been around for years!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Haha! So funny. I will confess that on my first day of high school, I wore a pair of MC Hammer pants. They were homemade! The crotch came down to my knees, and I thought I was hot stuff.

Chucks - those are still cool!

River Glorious said...

I have nothing to confess. I have never been quite in fashion...

I have a question for you: Whatever did you do with the MJ jacket? :D :D :D

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Brother Max,

I see you've opened the confessional booth today but I'm not Catholic, so I'm going to decline the offer of kneeling in total shame.

I do remember wearing those Sears-Roebuck jeans which had the double patch in the knees and the really short shorts that everyone assured you looked good until you steppped outside and all your friends got a look at you.


macon d said...

This was a fun post, thanks for it.

Me? Ridiculously big sunglasses.

Max Reddick said...


The MC Hammer pants! LOL! I was never brave enough to try those. They just didn't seem right.

@River Glorious

When I left home, my younger brother started wearing the jacket to middle school, and he was a hit there. But I'm glad it worked out for somebody.


When I was in high school, everybody wore Levis. However, at one time my grandmother found those toughskin jeans on sale and she bought me a gang of them. So since I already had a gang of jeans, my mother would not buy me any new ones. But I refused to wear the toughskins, and cut enough yards until I could get the money to buy my own Levis. Toughskins ain't classy.

@macon d

One time I blew the eye test just so I could get some cool glasses. But when I got the glasses, they were so thick they made me dizzy just to have them on. #fail

md20737 said...

I laughed all the way through this post. My fashion Fauz Pas included stretch colored jeans in every color and bodysuit shirts & flannel shirts I used to wear with them.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Oh Max! Your pics and past fashion wear took me down memory lane. Heck, I still like the MJ clothes line.

Remember the oversized aviator glasses? Yep. I had 'em.

The micro mini. Damn but I looked good in them, and still wonder if my mama was going blind to let me out of the house in them.

Tube halter tops. The fellas never left the picnic table until us girls played volleyball in these.

The JC Penney pantsuit collection in Easter Egg colors. Perfect for the young lady daring her employer to complain that she isn't wearing a dress.

The genuine armadillo purse. Yes, that's right Max. Road kill as a handbag, compliments from my dad driving through Texas or some unlucky state for armadillos. It was cute. I miss it.

A.Smith said...

You said "some parts of" Memphis Jheri curls like it's not an epidemic of major proportions Can't deny facts, Max. Can't deny facts. :)

As kids we just don't learn early enough not to trust our parents on fashion choices. They swear we look good in anything. My mama still is tryna dress me like I'm 50. ::sigh:: I can't.

I'ma forgive you for ALL of this. Not because I should, but because you used a hashtag and boy was it appropriate.

As for my own admission: neon colors. That's all I have and all I'll say.

Andre said...

Dag, brother. You're brave for this post...especially considering there is NO WAY any of these items will ever be fashionable again.

Nice list, Max. A bit on the unfortunate side. But nice, nonetheless.

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