Do you remember the 80s Pantene commercial “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful?” Well unfortunately I do. I remember being teased in the stairwell by a group of boys when I was in the 4th grade and I made it worse by turning around and saying “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” It flew out of my mouth before I even realized what I was saying. What in God’s name was I thinking? Maybe I was thinking I was Kelly LeBrock? (I wanted the lips but instead I looked like Jamie Lee Curtis). They laughed in my face and of course I heard that line repeated over and over as it was thrown back at me for that entire year. I learned quickly that you should never quote bad commercials or movie lines when you’re trying to take a stance and fight back (like “dry that one out and you could fertilize the lawn” from Ferris Bueller). It’s a bad idea and it makes you look like an idiot. Well, it did for me in 4th grade.
My next bad move in grammar school was taking a photo of Chynna Phillips’ (You know, of Wilson Phillips fame? The “Hold On” video was one of my favorites) to my hair salon. I thought it would be cute to get a bob and be a cross between Chynna and Watts from “Some Kind of Wonderful.” WRONG! Not a good idea for someone who had a square jaw, acne and thick, wavy dark hair. Needless to say, the same boys teased me and 8th grade sucked (picture the 8th grade dinner dance and me, with my bad asymmetrical bob wearing a homemade pink silk taffeta dress that had a lace collar. I borrowed my mother’s pearls and the dress came down to my knees. White tights and dyed shoes to match. I looked like “Little House on the Prairie” knocked up Molly Ringwald’s dress from “Pretty in Pink.” The ironic thing about it is I thought I looked awesome).
Yep. There are no words.
In high school I purchased that oh-so-awesome black dress with the white bow across the chest that Kelly and Brenda wore in “90210”. It was 1992, and I wore it for a Christmas formal. Again, borrowed the pearls from mom, pumped the bangs with hairspray and threw on a pair of control top black pantyhose. Picture that fashion disaster getting down to Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” like only a white girl can.
Yes, that’s me. Dressed for junior prom. Mom’s borrowed pearls? Check. Dress 3 sizes too big with a sweetheart neckline and poufy sleeves WITH BOWS that were the size of wings? Check. Teenage sneer? Check. Luckily no boy dared to touch me then. Maybe it was the dress or the sneer but thank God. I would’ve freaked out.
In college my look was that denim cropped vest that everyone owned from GAP, a white t-shirt, black swishy pants and pristine white tennis shoes like Jack Purcells. Remember that? It was that look like, I’m trying to look older, but want to do it in a trendy /cute/sorta preppy/still Brenda 90210 but kinda Courtney Cox from “Friends” look. Or what about the oversized blazer with shorts and tortoise shell sunglasses? I was the girl who graduated from an all girls high school and who had worn a uniform from the time I was in kindergarten all throughout high school so college was a new territory for me, fashion wise. One afternoon, I strolled into Criminology wearing black opaque thigh highs with a black mini skirt and flats to try to impress Jeff H. who had no idea I was alive. I actually slipped him a valentine that year. A valentine? In college? Jesus. So now picture me looking like a slutty Catholic school girl with frizzy hair and occasional acne. Jeff was the guy who looked like Jake Gyllenhaal but, you know, short and fat, listened to Pearl Jam and wore plaid flannels and a baseball hat and told me he “didn’t date.” Opaque thigh highs are a bad idea for someone who didn’t want anyone looking at her. My mom of course thought I looked adorable.
When I was doing my internship in college and working for Sports Channel Pacific, I brought “the Rachel” haircut to my hairdresser. Again, you need the right shaped face, hair and well, only be Jennifer Aniston to pull this look off. It looked great with a professional blow out, but the moment those layers started growing out, I was in trouble. It came out recently that Chris McMillian, Jennifer Aniston’s hairstylist, gave her “the Rachel” when he was high. Go figure. When I had it, I looked like the one who was high. I think every Oprah audience member sported this haircut at one point or another.
When I was in my late 20s, I bought a tight pair of black leather pants that I’d wear with a black turtleneck and sling backs (no pearls). I was working full time (and not the corner, even though I might’ve looked like I was) and thought leather pants was the ultimate-I’ve-made-it-and-don’t-I-look-cool-while-sipping-an-expensive-cocktail-at-the-Balboa Cafe with all the other 20something Marina chicks (and dammit, where’s the photo?!). I had to lie down to get them on and trust me, they looked great from the front, but when your ass is flat and square, mis pantelones es no bueno. There’s a reason only people like Jennifer Lopez can pull this look off. It’s called a booty. When I tried to pawn these off on one of my brother’s girlfriends after the pants had been hanging in my closet for 5 years after getting married (give ’em up, sister), she looked at me like I was trying to offer her crack. Picture a speechless deer in headlights. Then I could hear myself trying to justify them: “You have the legs for these. You’d look great at work!” “They’re so chic!” She politely declined and looked like she wanted to run for the hills (I wish I had a picture of these. And my hair was still kinda short. So I probably looked more like I should be climbing on a Harley versus climbing on a man).
So yeah, I’ve made a lot bad fashion choices in my life (thank God no cell phones existed then). Originally this post was going to be a list of my favorite beauty products, but after all these fashion/beauty disasters, who am I to recommend anything?