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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Your shirt is so over! (but I love you anyway)

There is a special sort of person The Bargain Queen likes to call a 'time capsule'. These are the people you see wandering the streets occasionally, wearing top-to-toe 1989 (mmmm, shoulder pads). Or 1993 (early grunge). Or 2001 (really, the Sydney boob-tube revival is finished). They get their name because they look like they just dug up a time capsule the contained a complete representative outfit from the year it was buried, and decided to don the duds. Sometimes, they even have a particular specialty: for example, mid-90s surfie gear. Unfortunately they're often also distinguishable because their outfits are wildly inappropriate for the lives they now have; their lives have moved on but their wardrobes haven't.

Now note that we're not talking about people who are wearing literally the same clothes as they were in, say 1992 - they're a different bunch altogether. Time capsules are the people who go shopping for a couple of new shirts and gravitate to the ones that look like something Dylan wore on early episodes of 90210 (hence the picture).

But if you think The Bargain Queen is about to criticise their so-over fashion sense, you'd be wrong. See, The Bargain Queen likes to read the semiotic signals people send out in a (mostly) non-judgemental way. So The Bargain Queen gave it a lot of thought, talked to some of her favourite time capsules, and then thought about it some more.

What The Bargain Queen found was that the reasons people stick to styles that no longer work can be heart-rendingly tragic. Dead parents, divorce, illness and moving house to Hicksville are some of the things that came up when The Bargain Queen talked to her favourite time capsules: these all coincided with the years in which these people are stuck, fashion-wise. It seems like they've clung to the time just before something bad happened in the only way they could: through their wardrobe.

If The Bargain Queen is completely honest here, she's done the same thing herself once or twice (our secret!), so she's not in much of a position to judge others for doing it. Five bucks says you have too, at least once in your life.

So if you see someone in a so-over shirt and a time capsule outfit, please go easy on them. There can be some pretty serious psychological stuff under-pinning their inappropriate fashion choices, so pulling them to pieces over it really isn't cool. It's fantastic on TV, but What Not To Wear-style humiliation is really 'don't try this at home'!

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