My Closet Was Never Shy

In high school, I was very quiet, studious, and shy. I was content to hide behind a book and watch the world ignore me. I rarely did anything to draw attention to myself, except when it came to my wardrobe.

I always had an eye for mixing colors and patterns that most people, even in the 80s, found odd. A lot of classmates made fun of my fashion sense, or lack thereof, but I continued creating memorable outfits nonetheless.

One of my favorite outfits was a handmade set of overalls in a very bright fish print. Since I am a Pisces, I squealed ecstatically when I found the fabric at the Ben Franklin craft store. It was a fuschia background adorned with multicolored fish outlined with bold black lines. I bought the fabric and a pattern for overalls and quickly pieced it together one weekend. The following week, I paired them with a black turtleneck and accessorized with an over-sized red shirt, black boots, and a necklace made of disco-ball beads.

Another favorite high school outfit was entirely black and white, but my mom said the way I combined the pieces made the outfit “too outlandish” for school. I wore it anyway. This ensemble consisted of my ubiquitous black turtleneck paired with a billowy white skirt. I topped it off with a white vest, a thick black leather belt, black tights, and white ballerina slippers. It was quite stunning, although I didn’t wear it very often because white and I…um…really didn’t get along.

My weird fashion followed me right into college, where I continued to have fun with colors and textures. One of my favorite outfits from freshman year consisted of a bright yellow pantsuit that I topped off with red boots, a shaker sweater in red or turquoise, and a black hat adorned with red and yellow leis from a Hawaiian-themed party. One of my professors gushed about my creativity the first time I wore this combination to class. He said, “Debby, that is a wonderful outfit! You look like a tourist enjoying an exotic vacation.” An exotic vacation. Yes, a far cry from English Composition I.

Unfortunately, my fashion has calmed down somewhat over the years. However, I still have an eye for loud colors and unusual patterns, much to the dismay of my husband and children.

The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man



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