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Given enough time, the old becomes vintage and the silly fashionable

August 7, 2010

Just as songs can take you back to an exact moment in time, clothing and accessory fads can help you relive the past, those great times and just how ridiculous you looked. It's not the polo shirt, jeans and simple silver necklaces that stand out and make you reminisce about the good 'ol days. Instead, it's the trends that are enigmatic and fashionable in the nontraditional sense that provide the most fun and memories.

Not long ago a friend posted a story link on my Facebook page about the "inexplainable fads" of our childhood. While I scrolled through the pictures, I realized that I had participated in most: jelly shoes, slap bracelets, chokers, the dreaded scrunchies, Hypercolor T-shirts, charm necklaces and stick-on earrings.

All of these accessories reminded me of the latest craze among children, tweens, teens and some adults. The audacious rubber "bandz" in the shapes of nearly anything you can imagine are well on their way to being discussed on VH1's "I love the 2000s."

At first, I thought SillyBandz, ZanyBandz, etc., were absurd, but now I can't get enough of them, just like those $1 "slap bracelets" from the early 1990s. Part of why they're so perfect is because they're not exactly like past inexpensive accessory fads, yet they're so close - and affordable. For prices as low as $2 and none more expensive than $5, everyone can afford at least a pack and accessorize with as many or few as one chooses.

Color coordinating a set of bandz with each other or with your outfit is only part of the fun. Although I know I probably shouldn't, I wear some colorful, shapely bandz every day. I also keep a bag of them with me at all times and offer them up anytime I meet someone who isn't wearing one. Trading, handing them out or letting people choose which one suits them always leads to great conversations, even for us grownups.

Connections with the past live in vintage T-shirts and sweatshirts as well. My obsession with vintage tees began with a shirt that belonged to my mom - a yellow T-shirt with an alien catching a frisbee in its mouth. To this day, I love that shirt, holes and all, and won't stop adding worn-to-perfection tees to my wardrobe.

However, sometimes the shirts on the racks of second-hand stores don't fit, but that shouldn't stop you from buying them.

One year for Christmas my best friend gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. We had been at Goodwill and I found an old sweatshirt with my alma mater displayed on the front: West Virginia University School of Journalism with the outline of Martin Hall (the home of J-School). Unfortunately, it was too snug, so I left the shirt hanging on the rack because I knew I would never be able to wear it.

That Christmas, when I opened Melissa's gift to me, there was the sweatshirt I wanted so badly turned into a pillow. To this day that pillow remains on display in the room I keep all my collections and special mementos.

Because clothing and T-shirts can remind you of great times and places, and hold special meaning, they can easily be turned into an item you or someone else can treasure for years to come. Quilts can be made from T-shirts by taking old, small shirts from high school, college, vacation destinations or concerts.

If you can squeeze into that old shirt from the '80s, find your own way to wear it. For example, dress them up with a blazer, scarves, cardigans; but don't take it too seriously and don't forget to add a couple SillyBandz.



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