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Were You a Child Fashion Victim? 11 Things I Thought Were Stylish in the '80s and '90s

A couple of weeks ago I put together a collection of photographs of children with a snappy sense of fashion. Scouring the web for pictures of pint-sized trendsetters got me thinking about my own childhood wardrobe and I eventually found myself standing on tippy-toe in our closet stretching to reach the dusty boxes on the very top shelf filled with snapshots from decades past.

I brought the boxes to our kitchen and spread the contents on the table where I spent the afternoon pointing out relatives and telling the story behind each picture to Anders.

“Your hair looks funny in this one, Mom!” he said, holding up a photograph of me with the signature ’80s hair-do.

“Hey! You keep laughing, buddy. There are going to be 1,000 times more photos of you as a child than there are of me. Just think of what your kids will have to say about your fashion sense!”

I couldn’t even feign offense with a straight face. He was right. My hair was ridiculous along with most of my clothing. Here are a few of my favorite fashion statements:

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  • The Christmas sweater 1 of 11
    The Christmas sweater
    My grandma helped me make this Santa sweatshirt with glitter puffy paint and an iron on kit. Breathtaking, isn't it? I considered it a signature piece in my wardrobe and wore it for the entire month of December.
  • Faux fur 2 of 11
    Faux fur
    Here I am in my fake fur jacket (left). I also had a very classy matching muff. I was the only little girl in my pre-school class to own faux fur outerwear which, as you can imagine, was quite an achievement at the age of three.
  • Big bangs 3 of 11
    Big bangs
    My mom kept our home stocked with Aquanet hairspray and used it freely. Not only did my sister and I have the tallest bangs in elementary school, but they were also the strongest. Those things wouldn't budge in hurricane strength winds. It was sort of like wearing a permanent helmet.
  • Giant hair bows 4 of 11
    Giant hair bows
    To make up for the fact that giant hair fell out of fashion around the time my perm relaxed, I began wearing enormous bows. The bigger the hair bow the better. I wanted them to be visible from the front or, even better, outer space.
  • Jean shorts AKA jorts 5 of 11
    Jean shorts AKA jorts
    The great thing about a growth spurt was the opportunity to turn all those high-water jeans into cut-off shorts without the risk of angering my mother by ruining a perfectly good pair of pants. I never could pass up an opportunity,especially one involving acid wash.
  • Lace gloves 6 of 11
    Lace gloves
    I wore them before you, Madonna, but I had the good sense to match them with my socks.
  • Making it match 7 of 11
    Making it match
    Ever have to stop yourself from going ensemble match crazy? (I'm looking at you, guy in the jean jacket paired with jeans.) As a kid, my siblings and I pulled this look off effortlessly. Just check out the way my sister matches her pants to her shirt and ties it all together with a matching headband. It was a thing of beauty.
  • Neon 8 of 11
    Neon
    I've noticed these eye-assaulting colors are making a fashion comeback. While there is no chance they will find their way into my adult wardrobe, I had an entire dresser drawer dedicated to them as a kid. Side note, check out the miniature fanny pack I'm wearing on my ankle (center). I love when fashion meets function. Brilliant.
  • Romper 9 of 11
    Romper
    Rompers are a pet peeve of mine. Dress, shirt, pants -- we've got our wardrobe basics. No one asked for a hybrid, Romper! If you don't agree that they are ridiculous wear one to work, drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day and see how practical they are when you have to completely disrobe to use the public restroom. You can imagine my disappointment when I learned I wore one to my second birthday. I blame my mother.
  • T-shirts with animals 10 of 11
    T-shirts with animals
    If I could carry forward only one aspect of my childhood fashion sense to my "grown up" wardrobe it would most definitely be the ability to pull off t-shirts with animals on them. Pink and purple bear? Horse running with a windblown mane? That would pair perfectly with leggings as pants. Suddenly I'm having second thoughts.
  • Skirts with built-in leggings 11 of 11
    Skirts with built-in leggings
    Speaking of leggings, I really miss owning outfits where the skirt was sewn onto them. There's an idea I could get behind. I'm looking at you, people in charge of trendsetting. Let's make this easy on everyone.

What item from your wardrobe do you laugh about when you look through photographs from childhood?

More from Amber:

No Batteries Required! 11 Toys from My Childhood That Stand the Test of Time

Do You Have Swagger? 20 Children with More Style Than Their Parents

15 Summer Memories Every Child Should Make

10 Classic Outdoor Games Your Child Will Love

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