Monday, September 28, 2015

Personal Work: Outfits I Have Worn in my Life

Age 5
Five-year-old Kelley had three great loves in her life: ballet, The Little Mermaid, and drawing pictures of ballerinas and mermaids. My grandfather called me "The Pink Princess" and you can probably guess why. I wore barrettes in my hair that said the days of the week, and my mom made sure I had the correct barrette on the correct day of the week. I was adorable, and often compared to Shirley Temple.
Age 10
Aaaaand cease adorableness. I hit a pretty early growth spurt and had long legs that were accentuated by my strange tendency to wear short shorts. I often wore t-shirts that were hand-me-downs from my Dad. 

For years I had long hair, but my parents wanted me to cut it short, probably hoping that it would bring back that adorable daughter they once knew. We compromised by cutting it short in the front, long in the back. That's right: I had a mullet.
Age 16
These were dark days. Not only did I have severe acne and a full set of braces, but I also had absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever. This is partially because I lived in a suburb where the most high-end clothing store was a JC Penny. I considered myself too much of an intellectual to read fashion magazines, so I was blissfully unaware of how uncool I was, with my acid-wash mom jeans, oversized sneakers, a ridiculously tiny purse and plastic butterflies in my hair that I bought in bulk on eBay.

I did not have a boyfriend in high school.
Age 20
In college I finally started noticing what other people wore and imitating them. This was my reliable college uniform: boot-cut jeans, Converse sneakers, an overpriced but very cozy collegiate sweatshirt, a backpack laden with heavy textbooks and a very long scarf I knit myself. I loved that scarf because it perfectly matched the pink letters on my sweatshirt. One time a drunken sorority girl leaned out of a window and hollered at me, "heyyyy is your scarf long enough????"

I got around campus on a sweet skateboard that was custom-made for me with purple wheels and a sticker that said in Japanese: "This is an illegally modified car".

Age 29
I consider myself a recovering dorkaholic. I have to make a daily intentional effort to avoid dorkiness. Over the past decade I've been observing fashionable people and making mental notes. I've learned the sophistication-enhancing power of blazers, dark-wash jeans, leather jackets, scarves and boots. 

But on some days, if I'm not planning on going outside, the inner dork wins out.

One day at a time, you guys.

One day at a time.


  1. Blame it on your mom's dork genes. But you're adorableness never faded!

  2. Fun post! I just watched some family videos and ten-year-old mid-90s me usually appeared with Highly Regrettable Sweatpants and a book. Sometimes I pretend I'm grown up now. ;)

  3. Fantastic! I love looking back at weird outfits I wore when I was younger, you've inspired me to have a go at drawing some of them.

  4. Your story gives me hope that one day I will figure out how this fashion stuff works!

  5. That's so fun to look at! Sometimes we don't even notice how much we change! Crazy :D


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