Bad Decision Tuesday: My Plaid Shirt Brings All The Boys To The Yard

It's been about six months since I've done a Bad Decision Tuesday---please, if you haven't seen Sean's amazing high school hair, I implore you to go break a rib laughing at it---so I thought I'd kick things off again with a real humdinger.

I would like to warn you here that you may never recover from what you are about to see. Thirteen year olds are, historically, not the most attractive bunch---all those roiling teenage hormones and not enough Clearasil in the world---but the fact that I was thirteen in 1993 didn't exactly help. The 1990s were a serious handicap to anyone's coming-of-age, am I right? I mean, you're thirteen in 2011 and the worst fashion faux pas you can commit is carrying your iPod in a sparkly case instead of a shiny one. You're thirteen in 1993 and you end up looking like this:

Yes, I will wait while you pull yourself back together.

This is a picture of me and my friend Sally (she's on the left, obviously), right before we left our boarding school dormitory for a field trip to Chessington World of Adventures. Now, Chessington World of Adventures is a suburban theme park in southeast England, a sort of Disneyland for the Home Counties. To our thirteen-year-old minds, however, we might as well have been going to Studio 54. We stressed for weeks over our outfits. We got ready two hours in advance. We all borrowed each other's clothes (that's my friend Beth's shirt I'm wearing; Sally's green top actually belongs to me) and though there is sadly no smell-o-vision on this photograph, I would bet my entire lifetime savings account that we were both doused liberally in Ex'cla-ma'tion! perfume. Why? Because we thought we were going to meet boys.

I'm sorry, I feel like I need to repeat that. We dressed this way on purpose. TO ATTRACT BOYS.

I'm not sure what those mythical boys would have found more irresistible, really: my aggressive hair flip? My high-waisted baggy jeans? My five-sizes-too-big plaid shirt, which almost certainly belonged not to Beth, but actually to Beth's dad? Certainly they would have been impressd that I took my large plastic glasses off for the pre-departure photo shoot and yet kept them on, strangely enough, TO RIDE A ROLLERCOASTER.

Here though, Internet, is the piece de resistance. Here is the nadir of my day at Chessington World of Adventures (where we did not, if memory serves, meet one single boy.) Here is where thirteen-year-old me in her voluminous plaid shirt and her oversized brass crucifix thought it would be a hilarious photo op to climb inside a miniature dog kennel in the Wild West portion of Chessington World of Adventures, and pretend---quite convincingly for a non-dog owner, I have to say---to be a dog.

Excuse me, a dawg.

You realize that now I can never run for public office, right? You're welcome. I hope the laugh was worth it.

Jun 07, 2011

Oh wow, the laugh was SO worth it!!! Especially knowing that I looked exactly like that when I was 13 in 1996. In California, no less. It's good to know that the oversized-flannel-shirt-and-high-waisted-pants trend had no geographical boundaries and so unites us all in shame...

Hairy Farmer Family
Jun 07, 2011

Eh. I was 13 in 1988. I feel your pain!

Jun 07, 2011

Yep, that was me too (I was 13 in 93 as well, in Florida). I might have to do this some time ...

Very nice! :)

Jun 07, 2011

Ok, well those could quite simply just be pictures of me at the same age. Except I wore leggings rather than jeans for that extra special something.
But apart from that, we even smelled the same.

Jun 07, 2011

Our birthdays are just a few months apart, and I wholeheartedly agree with the unfairness of hitting the teen years in the grunge age. I had some very (VERY!) similar outfits, though I'm not sure I've retained the incredible photographic evidence. I'll have to take a look, though.

(Oh, and in my case, there might've been a perm involved. I grew up in a small, rural town. Perms were, uhhh, well, I thought they were cool. For a very, very long time.)

Jun 07, 2011

I was also 13 in '93 and at least you didn't also have bangs...which I totally did. I still remember my favorite plaid shirt vividly. Thanks for the flashback.

And also, yes, posing as a dog was worth the tea that just snorted out of my nose. Still choking, actually.

Jun 07, 2011

Oh yes, I know that look so well. I was 14 in 1993, growing up in leafy Warwickshire in England and my 'going-out' outfit also consisted of high-waisted jeans held up with a big belt, a "body" top (that snapped together like a leotard) and a huge padded plaid shirt on top. I also had a huge cross like yours on a velvet string and giant plastic pink glasses plus hair down to my waist. And my summer look was over-sized t-shirts paired with cycling shorts, slouch socks and black shoes. Oh the shame, it burns me still!

Jun 07, 2011

Oh, honey. I was 13 a decade earlier, which means my hair was huge, my collar was flipped up, and there was a liberal sprinkling of neon and shoulderpads. This is really... not so bad in comparison.

Twice Five Miles
Jun 07, 2011

I looked exactly like this too... except in 1993 I was 19. In college. And really should have known better...!

Jun 07, 2011

I was 18 at the time and wearing the same clothes. At 13, I had a perm and poofy bangs, gah!

Jun 07, 2011

oh, how the Ringspun-shirts-that-would-have-fitted-my-dad memories flooded back. also worn on outings where we thought we might meet boys.
All teenagers in the early 90's were destined for fashion failure. At least you don't have a sweater shop logo in there too!

Jun 07, 2011

Aggressive hair flip, for the win! I was 13 in 1994. I'm pretty sure I had your entire outfit. Certainly your killer glasses. <3

Chris C.
Jun 07, 2011

Oh dear. I was 17 in 1993, and trust me, there are MANY pictures of me in similar outfits (although without the large plastic glasses, thankfully -- I'd gotten contacts by then). I do have to say, though, that I think today's 13-year-olds have far greater potential for horrible fashion faux pas. At least mid-90s grunge fashion did not involve any inappropriate body parts being exposed, unlike an awful lot of the kids I see out there today. Or jeggings! (Oh God, I sound like such an old fuddy duddy! Is this what being 35 does to you?)

Jun 07, 2011

But. But... you are so attractive now!

Jun 07, 2011

The things we women do to attract boys!

Jun 07, 2011

It was 1980 when I was 13. Nineteen Eighty.

Neon, feathered bangs, shoulder pads...I WISH we had 'grunge' then. Oy.

Jun 07, 2011

I was 13 in 1997 and STILL wearing my dad's flannel shirts. Hopelessly behind the times or just vintage? Either way, completely unfortunate looking. I also had braces, which only made things worse.

Jun 07, 2011

um, hi, i cant remember the last time i laughed out loud reading a blog post!!!!!!

"we might as well have been going to Studio 54"
"Ex'cla-ma'tion! perfume"
"I'm sorry, I feel like I need tol repeat that. We dressed this way on purpose. TO ATTRACT BOYS. "

Im rolling!!!!! hilarious.

Kate in Ohio
Jun 07, 2011

It was 1983 for me and it was Guess jeans with pegged legs, long dress shirts that had to cover your behind and have the collars flipped up. Multiple long beaded necklaces and your collar had to be buttoned to the top. I can no longer wear anything tight around my neck. Add in similar glasses, a bad perm and braces and the look was complete. I think there should be a law against taking pictures of kids in the gawky early teens. Who is with me?

Jun 07, 2011

I'm just a couple of years older than you, and man, I am SO THANKFUL that I was a teenager during the grunge years. I honestly think it was probably the best time in recent history to be a teenage girl. Grunge fashion was totally equalizing -- anyone could throw on docs and a giant flannel shirt and baggy jeans, not just the skinny girls. We wore big clunky shoes that encouraged coordination and groundedness, instead of destabilizing heels. And to be a teenager in all of that? I feel like it helped a lot of women in our generation develop a sense of themselves and their sexuality independently of their appearance. So yeah, we looked crazy ridiculous, but at least we were physically comfortable, and looking back, I think that's so much better.

Jun 07, 2011

thank you. ohsomuch.
i too wore plaid and baggy jeans and so forth, so you know, been there, done that, and all.
but today, I'm 31 weeks pregnant and feeling particularly large and not-in-fashion. but you know what? these pictures kind of made that a little more tolerable.
i think, for that reason alone, you will be in heaven.

Anna K
Jun 07, 2011

Oh Holly I am pretty sure that I would have looked exactly the same way, en route to Thorpe Park, except I would have been wearing Charlie White.

The 1990s were a cruel, cruel decade.

abbie dahl
Jun 07, 2011

Oh I was rocking this look in 1993, too! Along with combat boots, overalls and peasant skirts. I was 18 however, and like Twice Five Miles, should have known better!

Jun 07, 2011

well worth it!

Jun 07, 2011

I was 14 in 1993 and I had pretty much that exact outfit (sans crucifix) and definitely those exact glasses. It's funny, because I remember looking perfectly normal, perhaps even cute and stylish, and now I see those pictures and think, 'No. No, I did not. None of those things.'

(My dad HATED the 90s because I was always stealing his shirts. Man, that used to piss him off! He still gets a little wild-eyed when you bring it up.)

Jun 07, 2011

Ex'cla-ma'tion! How I've missed you. I don't think I've smelled it in 15 years. sigh

Jun 07, 2011

I had those glasses! And that shirt. And that hair. I probably also imitated a dog at some point during my middle school career. IT'S LIKE FATE.

Jun 07, 2011

The glasses? Had them. Only mine were tinted dark brown at the tops. Made me look like I had huge, permanently droopy eyelids. Tres chic.

Camels & Chocolate
Jun 07, 2011


I'm sorry...


I just can't even think of anything witty to say about this. Thank you. Thank you is all.

Jun 07, 2011

I'm actually wiping tears out of my eyes.

I turned 13 in 1982. And I think that was better than being 13 in 1993.

And THAT is saying something. Because my 1982 class photo--fall of 1982, fall of my eighth grade year--had me in a ruffly, asymetrically buttoned blouse, hair that was trying, hard, for "Princess Diana" and failing miserably, and no boys in sight. For about another three years.

Thirteen sucks. No matter what the year.

Jun 07, 2011

Can't run for office? Anyone who was a girl between 1980 and 1999 would definitely vote for you.

I totally would, if only so that my inner baggy-plaid-clothes-wearing-thirteen-year-old could feel vindicated!

Jun 07, 2011

I love everything about this. Also having been 13 in 1993, I can swear that I and most of my friends looked the exact same (minus the cross, seeing as how I'm Jewish- instead I wore a heart shaped medicine ball). In fact, if given the opportunity, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat. My partner is currently wearing one of my old flannels from 1995. They were good years. I see nothing to be ashamed of. Thanks for the re-visit down memory lane.

I'm going to go listen to some Blind Melon and Soul Asylum now.

Jun 07, 2011

Well, I turned 18 in 1993, so now I feel old. Sigh. I would argue, though, that the 80s were an equally awful time to be a 13-year-old. Oh lord, there was not enough hairspray in the world for all the curled bangs!!

Wow, memory lane, you scare me. :)

Jun 07, 2011

I was 13 in 1985. Two words: Stirrup. Pants. I'll add a third word: Neon. 'nuff said. Sigh.

Jun 08, 2011

I was more an Impulse girl myself but I remember buying Ex'cla'mat'ion for my best friend. I also had a padded lumberjack shirt (at least three sizes too big) that I wore as a coat. Thank god there is no longer photographic evidence.
I recall 1993 being the year of the craze for those hats with the floppy brims that you turned back and pinned with a brooch, did you have one of those?

Pretzel Thief
Jun 08, 2011

OMG...bahahahah. Dude, that is GOLD!

And "Ex'cla-ma'tion!" perfume, oh man...totally forgot that even existed. I was a proud owner of one until it spilled in my adorable polka dot cosmetic bag on a flight to Europe in Jan 1998.

Damn you, Ex'cla-ma'tion!

Jun 08, 2011

AWESOME. awesome, awesome. You are a brave woman -- and DEFINITELY should run for office (I mean, this pics are nothing compared to the ones a certain New York politician sent around). I was 13 in the -- believe it or not -- even WORSE fashion-wise year of 1989 and still cringe when I see photos of myself then. Last time I was home, I leafed through some old family albums and found a real standout: a GLAMOUR SHOT from a MALL in KANSAS (this was one of those places where you'd go and pay the fine folks at GlamourShot to do your make-up and hair and clothes and you'd "model" in front of cheesy backdrops.) Let's just say: red lipstick, green eyeshadow, Big Hair and a too-large black leather jacket.

Jun 08, 2011

Love it! Oh, now I want to find MY favorite over-sized flannel shirt and curl up in it. Also, find the Berry Kool-Aid I was using to dye my hair and give that a try again.


(Oh, being 13 in 1993.)

Stephanie S.
Jun 08, 2011

Oh so many pictures of me exist looking exacly like that. Tragic.

And Ex'cla'mat'ion! How could I forget!

Jun 08, 2011

And here I thought I was the only one who sported the huge glasses/plaid shirt look!! Somehow, it makes me feel infinitely better that girls in English boarding schools were doing it too :)

Jun 08, 2011

Um, I think I wore the EXACT same outfit around that same time. Yeah. I'd like to blame the fact that I wore a uniform from age 6 to 14 as the reason why I had ZERO sense of style. Yes! That's it!

Also, I wore Tresor by Lancome because OBVIOUSLY I was a very sophisticated, fancy young lady in my huge plaid shirt and baggy jeans, MOM. (I think my mom indulged the fancy-perfume thing in an attempt to get me to dress nicer. It didn't work.)

Kate Schaafsma
Jun 08, 2011

Holly, this is hilarious - I'm loving everyone's comments!

I recently dated a guy whose parents are from Chessington - gah, it's still a pretty grotty place, don't ever go back!!

I left (single sex boarding) school in 93 at 17 and went to Chessington that summer with a smattering of friends and some BOYS we'd somehow got to know (Tonbridge dances are my guess, from memory) and I'm sure we probably looked about the same, even with some illicit cider in our bellies and navy eyeliner strewn across our cheeks post water-flume ride!

I think that was also the summer of white god I thought I was the height of cool..

Also...thank god for contact lenses, eh?

jive turkey
Jun 08, 2011

Oh dear god. I love this so hard. I also owned a bottle of Ex'cla-ma'tion! (god, that's laborious to type out) that I loved so much I refused to wear it for anything but THE most special of occasions, i.e., occasions involving boys. Suffice it to say, I never wore it, and it eventually went all manky-smelling (even more than usual, if you can imagine).

Jun 08, 2011

If it makes you feel any better, I was still rocking the oh-so-attractive oversized plaid shirt over a t-shirt & boy jeans look in '95-'96 when I was 11 or 12. It was around the same time, I believe, that I decided it would be a totally rad idea to cut myself some bangs. SIDE FLIP bangs. I KNOW. I think I forced my mother to destroy any photographic evidence but the images are forever burned into my memory.

Jun 08, 2011

In 1993, I was 15. I had that exact outfit. I'm not even kidding.

Jun 08, 2011

If I'm remembering correctly, when we went on our class trip to an amusement park when I was 13 (95ish), I wore a huge grateful dead tie dyed shirt and some baggy knee length khaki shorts. My hair hadn't been cut in years, and I looked like I wanted to crawl back to the seventies. The worst part was that I didn't even listen to the grateful dead.

Jun 08, 2011

People ask how I can stand working in junior high since the kids are well, obnoxious. But I so clearly remember 11-13 as the most horrible years of my life, so I give them a lot of grace.

I had large wire-rims (which I thought were very cool, even though they slid down my nose every three seconds) and I believe my dad was forced to buy an entirely new wardrobe of work flannel shirts because my sister and I stole each and every one of his. I wore Taboo. Hot.

Sensibly Sassy
Jun 09, 2011

Thank you for bringing Bad Decision Tuesday back. THANK YOU

Jun 10, 2011

Baaa-hahaha! Oh, dear. To meet boys, she says. I was 13 in 1980. Can you say "wrap-shorts"? They were like a short-short version of a wrap skirt, which provided dubious cover and also required an advanced degree in physics to figure out how to put them on. They're as bad as they sound, I assure you. The wardrobe malfunction possibilities inherent in their (flawed) design might have been more attractive to boys, but I was way too oblivious to notice...

Alicia C.
Jun 11, 2011

Oh WOW! The laugh was soo worth it. I had the many layered plaid shirts that I took from my dad's closet and the horrible glasses as well. At least yours were a nice clear sort. Mine were pink and red speckled! Enormously large and plastic as well. What was it with the hair flip anyway. I have an 8 grade yearbook photo and it looks as though it is threatening to fall into my face at any second. I just about spewed my coffee all over the computer when I saw that. What a great way to begin a day!

Jun 11, 2011

Ex'cla-ma'tion! perfume!


I can (unfortunately) totally relate.

Jun 12, 2011

Tears rolling down my face

Jun 13, 2011

Ah, the 90s. How did we think those baggy clothes were attractive??

Loving the Kirkland yoga shirts. Thanks for the recommend!

Jun 20, 2011



It seems that Christmas time is here once again, and it is time again to bring in the New Year. We wish the merriest of Christmas to you and your loved ones, and we wish you happiness and prosperity in the year ahead.

Robert G.
Oct 08, 2011

I had those glasses, too! And that shirt. And that hair. I probably also imitated a dog at some point during my middle school career... Robert from silver sandals guide.

Gregory Patteron
Oct 08, 2011

AWESOME. awesome, awesome. You are a brave woman -- and DEFINITELY should run for office (I mean, this pics are nothing compared to the ones a certain New York politician sent around). I have the same opinion.

Gregory A. from bunk beds with stairs.

pam gray
Jan 30, 2012

Oh,Honey! You made my evening! I remember so well the outfits and the glasses. Thank you for posting. You were such a sweet little thing...

Jenn W
Mar 14, 2012

I was 13 in 1995 and it didn't get much better (or worse?) than these pictures. Mine will only surface on the net over my dead body (or from friends that have the doubles to use for black mail).

May 10, 2012

Oh my, it's like looking in a time-travelling mirror!
I was 13 in 1994 (in south east England too) so completely empathise with those plaid shirt days. I also wore random crosses, later slipped into a mini-goth phase which involved a lot of crushed velvet, and wonder if your green top was a "body" ?! (why would I want to have to un-popper myself like a baby just for a wee!!).

I know many people feel they wore dreadful things when they were young, but I insist that the 1990s were especially bad, and will never be looked at with fond nostalgia, or make a come-back! I couldn't believe it when leggings started making a return in the last couple of years!!

Very funny posts - love it!

Laura M George
Jun 30, 2014

Your glasses are by far my most favourite thing!!!! xx

Oct 29, 2014

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Apr 09, 2015


Mar 26, 2018 -

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