Six Fashion Phases You’ve No Doubt Been Through At Some Point

From the waistbelt debacle to that dark summer of nu rave: if wardrobes could talk, yours would be in counselling.


by Lucy Hancock |
Published on

If you ever feel like you’re getting a bit up yourself in the fashion stakes, it’s always a very grounding thought to remember that once upon a time you placed a pair of neon shutter shades on your face, looked in the mirror and thought ‘Yes.’ Because for every chapter in your life, there’s a fashion horror story.

Here are but a few.

The Nobody-Understands-Me Phase

You were told to Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and you did. You took off those precious Criminal Damage jeans and folded them neatly at the end of the bed ready for another long day of teen rebellion. In bed you wondered, ‘Are they getting it, my message?’ The anarchy you expressed by listening to commercial rock and buying branded skate shoes. Not to skate in, silly, because you can thread really cute beads on the laces of these ones. Oh, the hours you whiled away in the shopping centre buying Greenday merch and clipping on nose rings and cartoon thongs they just wouldn’t understand.

The only people in this phase who really did understand you were the Camden market traders laughing all the way to the bank with your pocket money.

The Blazer Phase

Once you stopped worshipping at the shrine of Avril Lavigne and started to find it peculiar rather than awesome that a grown-ass woman was loitering around high schools wearing a tiny, tiny tie, your fashion focus shifted somewhat.

All of a sudden you were doing incredibly mature things like ‘grabbing’ hot chocolates in Nero and catching up on the day’s most scintillating gossip over dough balls at Pizza Express. Your weekend wear followed suit, literally. A kind of premature dress-for-the-job-you-want phase often teamed with a pair of smart New Look heels in which you would totter up to, and be immediately rejected from, a pub.

The Waistbelt And Leggings Phase

In the few precious months when your body was the most banging it’s ever going to be, you really wa(i)sted it. Thanks to this phase, you were quite preoccupied with dividing your form into colourful chunks, a bit like a human Liquorice Allsort. Short bolero cardigan hit enormous waistbelt, hit mini skirt, hit leggings, then BAM feet! Why not shoeboots just to really break up those lines?

Thanks to Gok Wan and company, the ‘waistbelting’ phenomenon became an extremely popular past-time. If you could fit one round it, it was going on, meaning you ruined plenty of perfectly pleasant outfits sectioning yourself up like a string of sausages. Do you remember the last time you saw Gok Wan wearing an elasticated waistbelt? Well, exactly.

READ MORE: This Backpack Will Make You Nostalgic For Your Gap Year In A Good Way**


The Nu Rave Phase

It’s not our fault. We didn’t have the Hacienda or disco or Britpop, so there we were clinging desperately to the skirt tails of ‘rave’. The God awful get up belied the fact you were a teenager in a club wearing a horror show of high street neon pretending you knew what the fuck Ketamin was. ‘It’s for WHAT? HORSES? Oh yeah cool, cool, yeah, druuugs, cooool,’ you nodded, pulling nervously on your cassette tape necklace.

If you didn’t get your fake ID sorted and never made it to da club, your nu ravin’ experience will mostly have featured you stumbling around a provincial house party wearing a pair of shutter shades and spilling your flat Fosters all over Zoe’s armchair covers. In fact, popular TV show Skins can be blamed for perpetuating the myth that teenage parties weren’t just bad hand-job festivals sponsored by WKD. Those guys kept the whole ‘lots of necklaces’ vibe running for far too long. Jesus.

The Pyjama Phase

If you spent any time at a campus university you will be unfortunately aware of the period everybody sacked off the whole clothes thing. At a time in your life when it was never easier to get laid, did you even need to bother with clothes? Well, no, which is why a queue in any Student Union shop could easily be mistaken for a fire drill at a hospital.

Nobody ever wore the matching flannelette set, oh no, that would be MADNESS and even in the nightwear department there was tribalism. The trendies kept their jimmies ironic on the top, boyfriend on the bottom, while the sports twats were easily identified by the statement team hoodie and flip-flop combination. None of them had, or ever will row in their lives and yet everyone seemed to be a fully fledged member of the Jack Wills rowing club. That must be one big rowing boat.

READ MORE: The Complications That Inevitably Arise When Vintage Shopping

The Vintage Phase

For a short spell a few years ago everyone briefly lost their minds and started going about like they’d just looted a nursing home. Nan could hardly believe her ears when you started complimenting her on her jerkins and marauding around in her knitting patterns.

Attics were turned upside down for rash-inducing knits from the 80s. Charity shops were ransacked for glittery tops and achingly ironic lolcats. Someone else’s gran’s tea cosy was suddenly a viable hat option. Actually, it’s weird come think of it, that your knitted vest phase coincided perfectly with your dry spell.

May you #neverforget that you and your cursory hipstering were the original inspiration for this song.

**Like this? Then you might also be interested in: **

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Why Do I Needlessly Pick Fights With My Flatmate By Borrowing Her Clothes

Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyannhancock

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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