Sunday, 10 August 2014

One owner since new - a couple of 1990s dresses

I was doing a bit of mothbusting today - I'd noticed a couple of the blighters in our bedroom and decided to refresh all the clothes moth killers, even though the ones I'd seen looked too large to be clothes moths - and one of the places I tidied up / checked contents for damage was my bedlinen trunk. As well as duvet covers and pillowcases, it's home to the few items of 1990s clothing I've kept.  I thought it would be fun to share a couple of favourites.



We were pretty hard up when I was a kid, so when I was in my late teens and earning money as a waitress during the holidays and getting a student grant in term time, I was still pretty careful what I bought, and I really looked after my clothes. On the one hand, this did mean I wore some of my absolute favourites to destruction, but others have survived in rather good nick. It's funny, even though I never felt part of mainstream culture, looking at these does show how much mainstream culture can impact on the style of a subculture.

First up: the tie-dye dress. Yup, this dates from the very early 90s - 1990, in fact, the era of Madchester, the Second Summer of Love and all that guff. So, it predates grunge! And while Iwas a goth, in its tie-dye you can see influences from the whole Madchester thing. I bought it at Snetterton Market, a procession of tatty stalls selling counterfeit band T-shirts, cheap homewares, leather jackets... I'd never bought anything quite so me, quite so little like the things everyone around me liked. It could be worn with the narrow bits tied up (first photo) or hanging loose (second photo) - it's really rather short when they're tied, but when did that ever stop a teenager? I know it must have been in 1990 because I wore it to a Fields of the Nephilim gig at UEA that Autumn, and I still have the T-shirt from the gig, complete with the date. The T-shirt is in rather sorrier condition than this dress.

The Neph still tour, and because it's large and stretchy this dress is the one item from my tiny-torsoed youth that I can still get into. I've debated going to see the band perform and wearing this dress, but I dunno - I'm not the same, they won't be the same, and perhaps the experience would kill the memory.

Then there's the crushed velvet babydoll. Ay caramba, can you get much more 1990s than that? I got this from Miss Selfridge in Norwich, the winter of 1993. It's testament to the indestuctibility of synthetic velour, that's for sure, as I'm pretty sure I was still wearing it regularly in 2000, and while there's a bit of wear at the elbows, it's not really noticeable amid the rose pattern. I love this dress. I'd be wearing it still, if I could get into it! In my student days I wore it with a drapy, fishtailed green velvet (velvet on MOAR velvet!) thing that wasn't quite a jacket or a cardigan and came from the hippyish shop in my tiny university town. That didn't survive the years.

I've got a few other odds and ends, but as several pieces are black velvet, there didn't seem to be any point in photographing them. As any photographer will tell you, you use black velvet as a background because it absorbs the light and no details show - and so photographing black velvet items is a bit pointless! There's a handkerchief-hem velvet and lace skirt and top from Etam that's quite something, though, I wish it photographed better as you'd get a good laugh out of that!

Have you kept any treasures from the 1990s or even the noughties? Are you surprised to look back at them and see how on trend - or not - you were?

9 comments :

  1. Aw, these are some great pieces that obviously hold so many memories for you! Super to see them. I remember those velvet babydolls were all the rage, I never had one myself as I dressed like a boy for most of the '90s! All checked shirts and jeans, as rebellion against my mother who liked me in pretty white embroidered blouses and culottes.

    I don't think I have anything left from that era now, I was a bit ruthless in throwing things out when I was older.

    x

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    1. I'm more ruthless with my newer stuff, it's the 1990s bits that I seem to have the most attachment to.

      Ah, culottes! I had a paisley pair...

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  2. I had one of those velvet babydolls too, no idea what happened to mine though! I have accessories (boots, bags, belts) and a couple of jackets from the 80's I do have some random bits of 90's clothing, none of which would get anywhere near me now, waistbands that are the size of one thigh for example! but I can't bear to throw them out because they all have good memories. There are also some things I did throw out or sell that I still regret hugely.

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    1. Heh, I know what you mean about things seeming impossibly tiny. I still have my size 8 Daisy dukes kicking around somewhere, and my husband picked them up not long ago and said mournfully, "You never wear these any more." Bless him! 20 years and four extra stone make it highly unlikely I'll be wearing them ever again...

      I always imagine you looking like the uber-rock-chick through the 1990s. Girl most likely to wear a finged suede jacket and/or zebra print!

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    2. There was a certain amount of fringing (though not on suede) and most definitely zebra print! I still have a zebra print 3/4 length furry coat and bag :-D

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  3. I've still got some things from the 1980s!

    My first gig t-shirt: Metallica's Master of Puppets tour from '86, black cowboy boots, my 'Phaze' black lycra jeans (no point trying these on!!), various secondhand things like my 1950s swimming cossie and 1930s silk nightie, and last but not least.....my collection of thigh high boots. I'm keeping all these as part of the 'heritage wardrobe' for Monkeychild!

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    1. Excellent! I still have a couple of pairs of thigh-high boots too. I hope Monkeychild has fun with her inheritance.

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  4. I have a couple of things from way back that I still wear, but the rest is long gone, wouldn't fit anymore, anyway.
    Ahhhh, velvet...nothing like a bit of velvet ; ) I spent the 80s/90s looking like a cross between Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks.
    We didn't have much when I was young, we used to share our "good clothes" for going out, and one friend had a trunk of her mother's 50s dresses & cardies which we wore to dances. She gave them all to charity later, and now bitterly regrets it!

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    1. Ooooh, I'd regret that too! At least they went to charity and not to landfill.

      We had to get a lot of our clothes from jumble sales when I was a kid and I hated it - now I wish I had a time machine and could go back and ask Mum to stick some stuff to one side for me now!

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