What Goes Around Comes Back In Style
When I was a teenager, the instant my mother began serving-up boy advice or fashion suggestions, her voice would evaporate into a distant murmur, and I’d escape to a short film, about my mom, in my head entitled Teen Martha Jean .
She’d be chewing gum, holding an armful of books and leaning against a T-bird in her pedal pushers, polka-dot blouse and neck scarf. I have not a clue of the color scheme because it always played in blank and white. Her hair was teased into the exact shape of a cartoon speech bubble. And her knee would swing back a shiny Mary Jane and a cotton bobby sock rolled into a large dough at her ankle. All very cliché, I know, but she, as it was reiterated to me often, was a good girl. And that’s how I imagined one of those might have looked back in those days.
Sometimes though, for kicks, I’d redesign the scene to one where she wore a thin, ratty baby-doll tee with the words “Property of Folsom Prison” running across her chest. (I wonder where I might find one of those today. Seriously.) Her cutoffs would fast mid-ribcage and hula-hoop loops would swing away from her lobes. She’d prop a barefoot on the dash, and relish the last of her ciggy while whirling a Pabst can from the T-bird window.
But mostly (out of respect, and because I could find no photo documentation to prove otherwise), the good girl scene remained my default lecture trance.
I usually came to about the time she was saying, “I know you do not think I know what I’m talking about, sweetheart, but I do. Then she’d close with a pitchy, “I was very cool.” After impulsively channeling the scent of her musty yearbook, I’d halfway thank her and roll my eyes beneeth my fried, spiral-permed mega bangs. Then, I’m spin on the heels of my white leather high-tops and dart off to the Galleria in search of something 90210 (the first season).
I felt fortunate back then to be a part of what I considered the only teenage generation in history with a truly timeless style. I envisioned a future where my BFF-teenage daughter might point to an old high school photo of me and ask if I still had that baggy lace-splotched blazer.
“Sure. I’m wearing it now. Anything stonewashed or splatter-painted will hold-up for, like, ever. You can totally borrow it.” I’d say, pushing my roeled sleeves up above my elbow and then scrunching my permission with another palm-full of mousse.
We all know trends come and go, and some come back again, and again. But for the most part, styles resurface in evolutionary fashion with a fresh edge, or at the very least, a new hemline. It’s God’s way of making sure we donate our clothes to the less fortress, and streamline our closet space. (Despite after a quick flip through last month’s InStyle, I do wish I’ve saved my khaki safari jumper.
I know now I should’ve listened to my mother back then. She’s a woman of great experience and wisdom. The good news is that she continues to generously dole out an array of insight, from fashion to relationships. So now I listen. I might not always put every “if I may make a suggestion” to actively use. But I do respectfully listen. Because, one day my daughter will be a teenager. And because I happened to know karma carries a Garmin. So somehow, someway, spiral perms will eventually track me down.