Making a Style Murderer: My Long History of Crimes Against Fashion

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Lock me up and throw away the Colours of Benetton tee.

I’m an #everydaystylemurderer.

Last week one of my favourite bloggers wrote about the trends that time forgot. It was almost like a laundry list of every faux pas I’ve ever made, and it inspired me to revisit my long rap sheet of crimes against fashion.

Here – for your viewing pleasure – are some of my most enduring disasters:

(Apologies for the dodgy pictures: this was pre-camera phones and social media. We didn’t spend all day every day taking photos of ourselves at flattering angles and running them through digital filters)

Dressing like an old lady

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I went through an “indie” stage in my late teens and early 20’s. I somehow convinced myself that it was cool to dress like an old lady, so I dressed in vintage clothing. I don’t mean “boutique” vintage. I mean “ugly-old-mothball-smelling-deceased-estate” vintage from op shops.

I always dreamed of stumbling upon a pair of old Homy Ped granny sandals, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t. Are bunions contagious? With a manky name like that I’m sure they must be… But hey, who wouldn’t risk a cross-contamination of bacterial foot fungus in order to achieve this level of cool? 

Dressing like a 1970s pimp

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My “dress like an old lady” days were also my “dress like a 1970s pimp” days. I collected ugly old faux fur coats that made me look beyond awesome ridiculous. They also made me a walking fire hazard, thanks to a dangerously high concentration of polyester per square inch. Throw in toxic amounts of napthalene from the old-lady mothballs and I was literally SMOKIN’ (particularly if I dropped cigarette ash on myself).

Note: I can’t find photo evidence of me wearing this coat, but please admire my husband wearing it ironically instead. That dude has no idea when it comes to fashion. 

Bum bags

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Reasonably well-known fact about me: I am an unashamed fan of the bum bag. I’ve written about it several times on the blog before, yet for some reason people still think I am joking.

I never joke about fashion.

Here is a sample of a conversation I have with wearying regularity:

Them: Do you REALLY wear that thing?

Me: Yes.

Them: OMG I thought you were JOKING!

Me: No.

Them: Oh.

**awkward silence**

As I was going through photos for this post I almost wet my old lady panties when I came across this one from an anti-war protest I attended back in the 90s. I don’t even know what war. We had wars every other fucking day under the Bush administrations.

Anyway, I love this because it’s testament to my lifelong love for the bum bag – an affection that endures to this day. #sorrynotsorry

(That fucking cap needs to go though. This is what happens when impressionable young minds read too much Noam Chomsky).

Head-to-toe vinyl

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Further evidence of my penchant for dangerously-flammable synthetic materials comes in the form of this delightful combination of 100% pure vinyl. I can say one thing – go for a night out in these babies and you will deadset perspire like a motherfucker.

Ironically you will slide off walls, tables, bar stools and the laps of random male strangers – but just TRY and slide OUT of those fuckers at the end of the night. It’s impossible. There’s seven litres of hot sweat forming an adhesive layer between you and those suckers. On the plus side, you could go out clubbing and easily lose 40% of your body weight in one night.

Red hair, red checked men’s shirt and red corduroy flares

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One thing you need to know about me… When I commit to something – which is very rare – I COMMIT ALL THE WAY. I don’t actually remember a lot about the era which produced this fiery combination of clashing red ugliness, which tells me that I was probably drinking heavily at the time. In fact, I do look hungover-as-fuck in this photo.

Bottle green overall shorts

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Four words I never want to see in the same sentence ever again.

Bottle. Green. Overall. Shorts. 

Beer and cigarettes

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Another sophisticated fashion statement from my 20’s. I literally accessorised with cans of VB and cigarettes for years – as in, I was never seen without them. I’m so old that I used to be able to smoke in pubs, clubs, cafes, concert halls and restaurants. Even in the office. I thought it made me cool, but in hindsight it probably just made me smell really gross delicious.

**sigh** Beer, cigarettes and my pert 20 year old ass. How I miss thee…

BONUS PIC: Me looking LOVELY in my year 10 formal dress

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So, being the resident archivist of all things embarrassing I asked my mum to email some photos of me wearing ugly clothes.

She sent me this picture from my Year 10 formal.


That’s fucking vintage Lisa Ho right there. How dare you.


 So there we have it… A tiny glimpse into my recidivist history of crimes again fashion. All I can say is thank fuck we didn’t have smart phones and social media back in my day. Every scrap of evidence of every time I ever fucked up is buried deep in my memory and/or in cardboard boxes – WHICH I WILL BURN!!


Then I’m gonna light a cigarette off those flames. Beer me.


81 thoughts on “Making a Style Murderer: My Long History of Crimes Against Fashion

  1. Brilliance. Sheer brilliance. (Where’s the sheer? Sheer was big in the 90s!)
    My 90s uniforms included a Nirvana t-shirt/short skirt/Docs ensemble, a cropped fluffy thing with TENCEL(C) jeans, surf label t-shirts (I saved for months to buy a 26 Red one and lived in it because I couldn’t afford another one!) and flannelette shirts. And, unfortunately, lots of floral patterns for formal occasions. Why the floral? Why?

  2. I wore Anthea Crawford to my year 12 formal… and won Belle of the Ball. Pretty amusing for me as the dress quite literally covered me from neck to toes and was long sleeved too, made all the girls in baby doll dresses (yes it was mid / late 90s) pretty ticked off.

  3. My Granny’s twin sister is a shopaholic and regularly buys bags and bags of clothes then never wears them. She then sends them in boxes to Granny for her to go through and take what she wants. One time there was 8 tea chests of clothes, but they were full of clothes from the 60’s and 70’s. I had a ball going through them, and laughing at some of the ridiculous clothes. My granny couldn’t believe that I even took some of them home. There was one dress I wore all of the time that was a white strapless dress with massive red flowers on it. Like big as my head massive. I’m so glad there is no pictures of me in…then again I’ve been known to hang out in my garage drinking vodka while wearing a fairy costume so maybe I have no fashion shame lol.

  4. Who are you kidding? Lisa Ho was big time cool!! I have actually burned all my formal photos, except for year 12, which was a cream skirt suit with chiffon sleeves & due to my B52s obsession, a 1991 take on a beehive……. It’s quite hilarious!

  5. I think Captain Feathersword wants his belt buckle back… I still shudder at the thought of wearing a bodysuit in the early 90s. As a teen it was flared jeans and my crusty Chuck Taylors – comfort all the way. For clubs it was black leather pants and a electric blue satin shirt – both of which now live in the dress up box at my folks house. This is gold Zilla. Beer has a lot to answer for but I love every bit of it xx

  6. Hahaha some of these are awesome and all too familiar. We really are so fortunate that smart phones and selfies were not yet a thing back then. Oh and how I miss beer and cigarettes too. Fun times!

  7. Ha, what a great collection! I cringe at some of the stuff that I used to wear, Tencel Jeans and Doc Martens were my standard outfit in high school and I also had to make do with a knock off Sportsgirl and Country Road Tea from the markets as 1. I couldn’t afford them and 2. you couldn’t even buy them in the town I grew up in.

  8. OK, so my overall shorts were red, my bumbag stayed in the 90s, and I didn’t smoke with my VB cans, but apart from that we could be twins!

  9. Ha ha ha ha!!!! I especially love the photo in your indie granny dress which is PERFECTLY matched to the couch: I’m pretty sure every uni student in Australia has had one of those couches, but you’ve stepped it up a notch with that matchie matchie dress. I love it! New heights Hugzilla, new heights. PS apart from the ciggies and bumbag these errors mine too.

  10. Oh there’s some absolute fashion gold right there! Perhaps you should have left your face visible and covered up the clothes crimes instead? Having said that, your year 10 formal photo is one of the best I’ve seen – not a scrap of water-wave taffeta in sight! Might be giving away my own vintage there! Picture it…year 10 taffeta meringue…hairstyle somewhere between Jon Bon Jovi and Shakira…dance moves somewhere between Jon Bon Jovi and Shakira. THANK GOD there were no digital phones when I was a lass.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! No way I was putting my face to any of that! LOLing at your blue taffeta because a previous comment mentioned this too. I hope you at least teamed it with some nifty blue eyeshadow.

  11. Amazed at how many trends you adopted over the years. I actually like the hat in the protest picture the best. My daughter rocks that style and I used to before I chopped off all my hair.

  12. Love it. I was far too influenced by Lad Di as a child – right down to the haircut. Cue lots of drop-waisted dresses with sailor collars. I also had a thing for corduroy. As in Purple. Corduroy. Jodphurs. Oh the shame.

  13. Many photos from my teens and childhood were lost in a garage flood… of which I’m rather grateful… a lot of bad perms and fluoro lost forever! But there’s defo still some 90s bodysuits with high waisted jeans evidence lurking around somewhere. The beer and cigs shot is my fave – particularly the fact that the beer is in a can. If only you’d tucked the ciggie pack into your bra strap, my life would have been complete.

  14. I LOVE this! But ya know – it’s like I already sensed you had this amazing fashion history because BUM BAG! This was quite the year book! I have some tragic photos myself buuuuuuut they will remain in a storage box to laugh at the next time I have a spring clean. Think Doc Martins, bad haircuts, Ken Done style glasses, braces, Fido dido top…..its a red hot mess those 90’s!! But please don’t burn them – your kids will LOOOOOVE them way too much! lol!!

  15. Gosh my pictorial style history is as shocking, if not worse…. and you know as for bum bags, I think I made a similar comment, thoughtlessly of course. But damn you are probably the only person I know that rocks them! Thanks for the giggle and laugh at your expense! xxx

  16. Absolute gold. I think you and I are of the same vintage. Those photos look way too familiar to me. I wore a Nicole Kidman knock off to my formal. She’d worn it to an awards ceremony and I HAD TO HAVE IT. I had my hair curled, long black gloves up to my elbows and braces, oh the braces. Sexy, sexy, sexy.

  17. Golden oldies. My formal dress was far worse than yours. I think I’m a few years older and sadly it was pastel with lace! I will forever feel ripped off that I was in my sexy twenties (well as sexy as I was going to be) during the 90’s when fashion surely was at it’s worst.

  18. This made me laugh so much. Awesome writing, wit and verve. Sadly, or maybe not so sadly, I have many fashion faux pas in common with you. The bum bag for instance is still a firm contender in my travel wardrobe 😉 and once upon a time I was all bouffant hair, blue dungarees and yes, Dunlop cigarettes.

  19. I love this, bum bag and all! The eighties were greaties but jeez, the fashion police were very busy that decade. You really shouldn’t burn anything because you know all this stuff is going to come back in fashion, right? And when it does, you will be the coolest kid on the block. All. Over. Again.

  20. Hahahahaha, I need to get on to my mother to send me my fashion history. All I can say is thank god I will have to scan to email the photos because the quality will hopefully be so bad that no one will notice the shocking fashion faux pas!! I reckon I could give you a run for your money honey 🙂

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