Farewell, crazy capitalization. | Image via Buzzfeed.
I spent the majority of my childhood wearing clothing—nay, outfits—from Hartstrings, otherwise known as the matching mecca of the free world. Everything I wore from Hartstrings came in sets. Shirts matched jumpers matched headbands matched socks. I was like a little walking panel of wallpaper, swathed head to toe in florals, or strawberries, or whales.
After years of matching, I rebelled. In sixth grade, I began poaching my dad’s jeans, lopping off a few inches at the bottom with scissors and then changing into them on the school bus.* I paired these pants—haphazardly paper-bagged on my waist with a weird rope belt—with marker-scribbled Vans and No Fear t-shirts (though, truth be told, I feared pretty much everything). I even owned a Stone Temple Pilots t-shirt, which was my prized possession for at least two years. In terms of fashion statements, it didn’t say much, but what it telegraphed was far more important to a pre-teen: “I listen to cool music” and, even better: “My parents let me go to a concert.”
Sometime during this stage, the Delia’s catalog began arriving at my house. It was like getting Moses’s stone tablets in the mail. This was the style bible, even more so than YM and Seventeen. You’d go to those magazines for very scientific quizzes that could predict whether or not your crush liked you back. You went to the Delia’s catalog to tune into the pulse of teenage fashion and culture. The styles were all very retro, but we didn’t realize that at the time.
“As a girl locked in the woods of Vermont, it was my access to mainstream America,” says my friend Jess, who now has a closet full of Chanel and Prada. “I had to have what Six was wearing. And avoid what Blossom had on.” Pause. “Wait, Six was the cute one, right?”