Monday, November 12, 2007

The kids are alright. At least at dressing themselves.

My new style icon

Remember in all those ‘80s movies like Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club how kids used to dress in crazy styles and it seemed like the more original you were the cooler you were? I’m sure this wasn’t entirely true in real life, and even if it was, this culture eventually lead to really unfortunate experiments with spandex, puffy paint and hairspray, but still, in theory it was kind of awesome.

Well, apparently this custom has found a new life … in the fans of Sri Lankan hip-hop.

OK, in addition to being a nerd and a grandma, I am hopelessly white and don’t listen to much of the rap music, so maybe this is the way people dress at all hip hop shows, but last night I saw dance-rapper M.I.A. and while the show was a total blast, the thing that probably struck me the most was the way everyone was dressed. I’m used to the indie rock uniform of tight jeans, beat up Chuck Taylors and distressed t-shirts emblazoned with either an obscure band name or ironic saying. That look had a presence at M.I.A., but so did hats with 18-inch feathers sticking out, bright red boots with fishnet stockings and mini-skirts, oversized t-shirts with huge letters on them, what appeared to be French military jackets, and more fedoras than The Maltese Falcon.

A few years ago I remember seeing big earrings and leg warmers in some stores and freaking out because the ‘80s were coming back and we all know ‘80s fashions were awful and I just didn’t want to see this plague befall us. It never did come back full scale, but I don’t know, after last night I’m thinking it wouldn’t be so bad after all. I’m not saying I’m going to run out and buy as many lace gloves and slap bracelets as I can find, but it was kind of cool to go to a show and have the audience treat it as an event worth getting bedazzled for, rather than a mandatory requisite for keeping up your cool points that’s taking you away from your true love of listening to music alone in your bedroom.

M.I.A. herself (who has a fascinating back story, BTW) was in on the act too. She changed outfits a few times, at one point sporting a pink and purple leopard-print leotard, blue high-tops and some kind of army officer’s hat she’d lined with pink feathers. So maybe the crowd costumes were an homage to her. I kind of hope not though. I kind of hope that it’ll be the hip thing again to get all crazy looking when you go to a show. Of course I’ll still be in the back with my arms folded and my t-shirt that says, “Detroit: Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten,” but you know, cool people will be all dolled up.

1 comment:

Red said...

I hear feathers are the next huge thing...