This weekend I had the opportunity to do some fashion archeology. An activity that is right up my alley.
Saturday, there was a surprise 30th birthday party for the Vicar at my church. As he was born in '81, it was to be an '80s themed party and us party goers were encouraged to dress the part. A chance to dress up in vintage duds bordering on costume? I couldn't resist. The challenge combined some very Impish elements - I had to be creative on a budget, I had to delve into fashion history (I secretly still aspire to be an archaeologist and work for National Geographic...), and ultimately I got to indulge my theater side and parade around in a purposefully outrageous get-up.
I had two sources of information, "text books" if you will, on '80s fashion in mind when I set out to assemble my ensemble: VH1's "I Love the '80s" and PeopleofWalMart.com. You laugh, and I would have too if I wasn't afraid of the arms on the mothers who were doing serious shopping for their daughters right next to me.....but I'm getting ahead of myself.
As I strolled into Wal Mart and headed for the clothing section, I began to mentally assemble my ideal '80s throwback look: some stirrup pants or black leggings, leg warmers if they were to be found, a neon colored tank with an over-sized and possibly cut-to-pieces sweatshirt, some neon jelly bracelets and other, bulky, geometric jewelry. I was prepared to think of creative compromises in the event that I was unable to acquire any of these pieces. However, although Wal Mart regularly doesn't carry the basic spices, herbs and vegetables I need for my cooking recipes, the '80s are alive and well, thriving even, in their clothing department.
My fashion archaeological dig turned out to be a walk in the park. It was as if Tutankhamen's treasures were lying atop the local sandbox. No digging required.
As I picked out my leggings, shirts, and obnoxious jewelry, I was repeatedly overcome with the desire to turn to my fellow Wal Mart shopper and explain that I wasn't buying these things as a part of my usual wardrobe....they were for a party, really. But, I quickly noticed that most of the other girls in the young women's clothing section were selecting similar tops and bottoms but with the clear intent of wearing the items in all seriousness to school.
It was probably a good thing I kept back all of the cracks I wanted to make at Wal Marts "current line of fashion." I might have made someone cry. And it probably would have been me, after one of the girl's mothers decked me for insulting her daughter's wardrobe choice.
After making my selections, I quickly scuttled to the produce section of the store. Here again I felt prompted to explain what was in my shopping cart to every mother I passed in the isle....but these impulses, I think, were more justified. These were the mothers with the Prada purses, Lucky Brand jeans and Gucci sunglasses.
Only at my Wal Mart could I mingle with the fashion elite and the fashion backward at the same time.
I'll have you know that my ensemble was a success. I had a hair stylist friend tease my hair into rat's nest of a side pony tail and cake on the purple eye shadow.
The party was a success as well. Vicar's wife is a great hostess and a great party-thrower. There was '80s music, '80s trivia, '80s decorations and even '80s candy!
The appetizer that won us all over was....wait for it....bacon wrapped bread sticks rolled in parmesan. Drool.
The challenge now will be to incorporate the separate elements of my '80s attire into my everyday style. Challenge accepted.