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Fashion nostalgia: the clothes that made me

I hold a lot of memories in my clothes. I can tell you exact outfits that I wore on holiday, jumpers that I would keep for swimming training, t-shirts that I wouldn’t want to ruin so I would keep them permanently folded in my wardrobe. There are truly so many pieces that I love. However, to start the ball rolling, the item I feel I must share with you is slightly more simplistic, but something that haunts me daily – my lost Abercrombie & Fitch fluffy hoodie of 2007. The emphasis is on lost. In 2021, it sounds significantly less appealing, however, it was my favourite piece of clothing for the three months I had it. I adored the fur lined sleeves and hood which made it the best piece of clothing to put on before and after swimming lessons. It was something that I would parade around in at seven years old, showing all my friends and encouraging them to squeal with joy at the fluffy fabric. Then, one day, I lost it. A very dramatic end, somewhere in between the swimming costumes, damp towels, shampoo bottles and detanglers; I lost my favourite hoodie and faced the wrath of my very angry mother, extremely unimpressed by its short life span – a fashion tragedy, but on reflection, with the eyes of 2021, maybe for the best?

So after that very dramatic introduction, let me begin my carefully constructed list. 

Pink Crocs

My airport shoes, my swimming shoes, my holiday shoes, my winter shoes, my beach shoes; my baby pink Crocs were the best shoes in the world, and at eight years old you couldn’t tell me any differently. Despite the sweat that would build between your toes, the itchy soles, and the constant blisters, I still wore these shoes everywhere. I think everyone remembers their first pair of Crocs. Unfortunately I do not do anything in small doses, so mine were an obsession. I would decorate them with Minnie Mouse shoe charms and cover them in bejewelled shiny icons, which I would gradually lose, one by one, on each outing. However, being an eight year old who had just discovered I could accessorise my shoes, I was unstoppable.

Leggings and shorts

I really hope I am not the only one that followed this trend so fiercely in the 2000s. I am pretty sure I took inspiration from Hannah Montana herself and immediately recognised the power of the shorts and leggings combination. Leggings and shorts. I’m just going to let you take a minute to process that ensemble. Let me paint the picture: white three-quarter leggings with a frilly hem and low-waisted (of course) blue denim shorts. This outfit stands out as the one that makes me question my dedication to the cause. 

The white Christmas party dress with all the sparkles 

Finally an item that doesn’t make me cringe completely, my favourite white party dress that my 8-year-old self was in love with and my 20 year old self remains in complete envy of, including the apparently-packed social life that came with it. This was one of those dresses that I never wanted to take off, an I-will-sleep-and-shower-in-it-if-I-have-to kind of love. It had a row of sparkly sequins, a long bow that tied at the back, a matching headband, matching tights. Honestly, what I think I miss most about this outfit is the coordination and organisation that I certainly seem to be lacking in my 20’s. 

My Christmas onesie 

Current friends of mine will still know the existence of my Christmas onesie. Purchased in 2015, I brought it to uni with me and still proceed to wear it all year round despite the obvious holiday association. Covered in the most obscene festive pattern with a hood and a holly wreath attached to the zip, it truly is one of the most distracting and obtrusive pieces of clothing but also an item that has saved me multiple times in Edinburgh winters. Onesies are a great purchase, especially for the winter, and I will keep repeating this until I believe it myself, and until I am no longer embarrassed about owning said Christmas onesie. 

The High School Musical 2 T shirt 

When picking this list, it really was go big or go home and truly nothing is as iconic as the fashion trends inspired by 2000s era Disney Channel. To no one’s surprise, I was the biggest High School Musical fan (*whispers* still am). If you were invested in the franchise, you were obsessed with the second movie: the summer fashion, the pool and the iconic songs meant everything in the movie was truly fabulous. This t-shirt was simply the printed logo of the High School Musical 2 poster, and because of the ‘blue water’ background, I felt I had the fashion freedom to pair it with everything and anything. I remember feeling undefeatable when wearing the t-shirt because I had the official merchandise, which obviously meant I was a superfan. My younger sister had a matching one as well, so you can imagine the odd looks from trips to shopping centres or just anywhere in public really. 

When reading this list back, I realise that my most memorable pieces are items that I wore years and years ago, rather than recently. I believe that the clothes we cherish are from times when we can identify a change; creating our first outfits, picking our favourite colours to wear, pairing various items together in weird and wonderful combinations. At the age of eight, you are unapologetically you and even though these outfits might be incredibly cringey to look back on, there is a certain pureness in the pride we still have for them. So if this nostalgic account of my wardrobe can offer you anything, I would say to channel immense devotion and gratitude for your clothes, find that piece you don’t even want to take off. Who knows, maybe I’ve just predicted the next fashion trend and three-quarter leggings might be the latest development in the Y2K revival.

image: nbankulova via Pixabay