Back in the 1980s, when I was a student at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago (which sits mere blocks from President Obama’s home in Hyde Park), there was a certain de rigueur dress code of the day.
It involved the “preppy” look, and meant that you needed to beg, borrow, buy or steal an Izod polo shirt and layer a Ralph Lauren Polo oxford atop it, preferably one in a complementary color.
As for pants, Levi’s would work, but better were Guess jeans or even ones styled by Girbaud, with their signature horizontal tag across the zipper. When Giorgio Armani came on the scene with those telltale wings etched on a dark brown circular leather-like patch, forget about it – that was all she wrote and all you needed to look uber-cool.
Capping it all off would be a pair of penny loafers, ones with either no pennies in them or two per shoe. Even a nickel, dime or quarter would be better than wearing them the “normal” way, with only a singular penny in each.
I bring these memories up after having spied another view of my 1985 yearbook, wherein my senior photo pegs me as the goofy-looking big hair girl that I was. I wasn’t so much the nerd back then that I could’ve been – my transcript with dozens of absences due to afternoons spent cutting classes and hanging out at “The Point” bears witness to that fact.
If only I’d been a little more Sue Heck-like, and adopted the nerdy behavior of the character on the sitcom “The Middle,” perhaps I would’ve learned of my gift for writing a lot earlier, and spent more time seeking college scholarships and a journalist’s career instead of the detour I took into boy-crazy land.
Either way, my circuitous route has brought me here, to this article, whereby I happily pontificate about the various styles that younger people sport these days, and how similarly as silly or telling they can be as those styles that permeated my youthful era.
I love it when I see preteen and teenaged girls adopting the things that proudly label them a geek instead of a hyper-sexualized wrecking ball. These days, computer science topics aren’t merely relegated to the “Weird Science” type of guys, but girls are also embracing technology topics and entrepreneurship instead of digging for gold and focusing on their “Mrs.” degrees.
Heck, look at 17-year-old Bella Weems, who started her multi-million dollar Origami Owl company when she was only 14. I love success stories like that – and the fact that some girls will poke out the lenses of 3D glasses and wear them as nerd glasses, or even revel in wearing beautifully dorky shades (see the sunglasses made of skateboard wood at GlobalEyeglasses.com to know what I mean) instead of booty shorts. Here’s hoping that nerd style is in lieu of too much sexy stuff, which makes the nerd trend even better.
My point is, there are benefits to self-expression and style that focuses on showing off our brains instead of any boudoir skills, or cool creativity and smarts instead of too many physical attributes. For this reason, I applaud the geek girls of the world.