Happy Thursday! Thanks for another edition of “What on God’s green Earth … ?,” otherwise known as “Throwback Thursday.”
In the past few weeks we have addressed the horrors of make-up past, 90s denim nightmares that have since been syndicated, and purses that required their own theme songs. And yet none of these fashion woes have left me as horrifying speechless as this week’s #tbt pick.
For the sake of being as kind as possible, I have cropped out this poor woman’s face.
No, this is not an ad for what can go wrong when you incorrectly use the dryer.
No, this is not a castoff photo from American Girl magazine.
No, this is not an ad for matching shirts for the whole family.
This is a shirt that was exceedingly popular in the late nineties. The appeal was … wait for it … when it wasn’t on your body, it was the size of a large social studies textbook.
Let’s all take a moment to stare blankly at one another whilst we gently shake our heads from side to side.
For those of you under the age of 16, this is absolutely true.
Members of the human people species found this novelty shirt so delightful that it made its way into the mainstream fashion canon. People went to the store, laid down human money that could literally be used to purchase anything, gave that money to a gum-smacking teen working the cash register at the mall’s 5-7-9 store, and left (smiling, no doubt) in possession of a small demon shirt that was able to stretch over their entire torso.
Honest to goodness, this shirt was roughly the size of what you could reasonably expect to dress a nine-month-old infant in. I have no idea what kind of witchcraft was used to make these shirts stretch in such a fascinating (yet disturbing) way and I don’t want to know. The point is, 1990s’ consumers bought it right up.
What was wrong with it?
If it can fit on your two-year-old niece, it is not for you! Better yet, if you and your two-year-old niece can share the same article of clothing, I guarantee that you do not want to wear it.
Nothing against your niece. I’m sure she’s adorable and clean and lovely. But no.
I don’t know if that was some aspect of the creation of this fashion atrocity.
“Mark, we are getting a lot of concerns from financially cognizant consumers. They wish there was a way to stretch their budgets so clothes weren’t such an expense.”
“Excellent point, Laurent. Stretch budgets … stretch budgets … stretch … Oh dear lord. I have an idea.”
“Does it involve a stretchy piece of clothing?
“Does it involve a single piece of clothing that due to aforementioned stretching can magically fit every member of the family?”
“I want one in the closet of every Nickelodeon fan.”
Why did we love it?
Because it was fascinating.
Why do we love Silly Putty? Or Slinkies? Or those squishy balls near the cash register at the grocery store?
Things that are tangibly fun to play with are amazing. A joy for the senses!
Stretching this shirt out was a miracle every time we did it. No wonder they sucked us in. It was a fun thing to have in your closet.
But, from here on out, our main closet objective is NOT fun. Rather, let’s make it … classy? Romantic? Comfortable? Durable?
Anything but “fun.”
How can we ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself?
“One size fits all” should make us all nervous. We are not “one size fits all” people. We weren’t made from cookie cutters. Even if something is stretchy, we are all delightful snowflakes, all different.
So while we should always be kind enjoy to clothe our bodies in things that fit it well, let us all make a pact together, right now, that we will never, ever again find a delightfully hilarious piece of clothing that stretches to 1000 times its normal size and then wear that thing.
I think we’ve made our point.