Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Request #4 - Leigh-Anna - How Did I Transition from Being a Metal-Chick?

Question from Leigh-Anna: How did you transition from a metalhead of yore to the stylish fashionista you are today? What was the catalyst for your change? Do you ever regret changing or wish you could go back?

Short answer: I didn't.

Grade 8 (1980-81).

Nice perm! Big glasses, non-pierced ears, no make-up and dig that plaid shirt. Dude!

Long answer: Firstly, I'll apologize for not having pictures of my metal bad-ass self from way back in the day, but my photo albums are in storage. My lovely annual pictures will have to slake your thirst for old pictures of me.

A bit of background. In the 90s, I lived with a dude who was in a thrash metal band (think Metallica before the black album, very fast, loud metal), so as most people do when they live together, I picked up a lot of his tastes in music. However, as much of a metal chick as I was in my musical tastes, I did not dress like a metal chick.

Grade 9 (1981-82).

Got that nice sausage curl going down either side of my face, and the groovy new aviator glasses. Strange obsession with boucle turtlenecks begins.

You see, I have the smartest mom ever.

When I was about 16 (way back in 1983, oy), I started to experiment with my look. I'd rummage through Mom's (and Dad's) closets for whatever I could wear. This is the period when I snagged a bunch of Mom's jewelry (Hi, Mom!). My mom, seeing that I was about to go all crazy with my clothing, gave me 2 rules:

1. No black nail polish.

2. Never, ever get stuck in a rut. Wear whatever you want, but change it up every day.

Grade 10 (1982-83).

The obsession with boucle turtlenecks continues. Make-up is discovered. Feathered hair is in! Discovering I wanted to be crazy was a breaking point. Schrader was the algebra teacher. Yes, I was into rainbows. And unicorns.

And now that I think of it, I never did wear black nail polish. I dunno, it just doesn't rock my world. I'd rather wear midnight blue or a deep burgundy.

But it was Rule #2 that really hit home for me.

Did I want to be labeled like so many of the other kids? Did I want to be a prep? A stoner? A jock? Hell, which one of "The Breakfast Club" was I?? [Okay, I wanted to be Molly Ringwald, duh, dumb question].

Once I started really playing with my look (oh, how I wish I had some pictures of some of my high school outfits to show you), I realized I could play with how people perceived me. Did I want them to think I was smart? Wear a preppy outfit! Did I want them to think I was a rich eccentric? Wear Mom's fur-trimmed coat with elbow-length gloves and a long skirt (yes, I wore this to high school)!

Grade 11 (high school, 1983-84).

Return of the perm. Contacts are acquired. Rockin' the green ruffled-front cotton blouse (man, that was a pain to iron).

When I figured that out - the whole perceptions thing - then I started to see how I could really have fun messing with people. Do you know how fun it is to be dressed very English Lady in tweed and pumps, and then reveal that you had various fake bodily fluids sprayed on you at a Gwar concert? Oh, the looks you get!

I still like to bring out bits of the headbanger in my clothes: I have a chainmail necklace, a black and silver grommet belt, and a couple of other accessories, but I never did the full-on metal chick in my clothing. It was way more fun to go to gigs and NOT look like everyone else there.
Grade 12 (1984-85).

I discover mousse, and am sporting a double "tail". If I weren't covered up by the stupid grad gown, you'd see some wacky 80s clothes "fer shur!"

I've never dressed to follow fashion - I firmly believe that fashion is there for picking and choosing what looks good on you, to help you develop your own style.

And remember Mom's Rule: Change what you wear every day! Don't get stuck in a rut!



PS - Back to the regular daily wear posts tomorrow! It's been a slice - thanks for all the great questions!


  1. You have an AWESOME mom. What a fantastically supportive and creativity-encouraging phrase to lay on you.

  2. Great blog. I especially enjoyed your weight loss journey and the post you did for Katie about accessories was excellent. I would totally hire you to do that for me.

  3. I love what your Mom taught you. I was kinda like that in high school too. Ripped acid wash jeans one day, skirt and button-down shirt the next. Also, learned that if I didn't roll my jeans and wore my hair without the big mall hair bangs I could get into bars... Oops.

  4. Sal: I told her what you said - we went shopping together today. Hi, Mom!

    Sherre: welcome, and thanks very much. I love helping people pick out outfits - you should see how I dress my husband! He is a very dapper man.

    Alison: Ah! Yes, that was totally another great aspect that I'd conveniently forgotten about, ha!

  5. Thanks for taking us on a trip through the past. Such a fun post. I agree, your mom gave you some good advice.

  6. Best. Mom. Ever.
    That's some of the best advice I've ever read and I'm taking it to heart now.
    I've gone through lots of phases myself (white face with black lipstick, then green liberty spikes and a lip ring, then hippy-dippy dresses and no makeup, etc.) and I think it's a good way to find out who you want to be. But not getting stuck in a rut, no matter your style or "scene", is some of the best advice.
    Thanks for answering my question and I love the pics! ^_^

  7. Thanks, Hilary!

    Leigh-Anna: I felt kind of bad that I couldn't answer your question the way I would have wanted to (advice on how to gradually change, or something like that), but I thought passing along Mom's advice would be the best.

    Glad this was helpful for you, hon. Looking forward to watching you transform!

  8. I love those pictures! I really enjoyed this post. :)
    I wore nothing but T-shirts and jeans in high school, because I generally felt like an awkward mess, so I admire that had so much confidence and were already branching out with your own individual style!

  9. Thanks, Erica! I had a very hellish time of elementary school (major geek, here), so I really wanted to turn myself around...and did it through my clothes.


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