Maybe it's because I was a kid in the sixties, or maybe being a straight-laced always-follow-the-rules German it was my form of rebellion, but ever since I was allowed to dress myself, I gave my mother headaches, saw lots of people shake their heads at me, and even got a braying sound from a boy in high school. Now my poor husband just sighs. The other day he even said, "The fashion police might have something to say about that" when I wore white tights with black shoes and my sort-of red and white dress.
It began early, this desire to push the limits of wearable fun:
My mother, of course, made sure I was put together, at least in public:
Once I started Kindergarten the next year, I wanted to "dress myself," and almost every day my mother sent me back to my room to wear something more appropriate. I didn't see the problem with wearing a red and white polka-dotted blouse with a green and yellow plaid skirt.
Living in Hawaii we often wore muumuus, which in my imagination were "princess dresses". That and my mother's full slips, which I'd take from her drawer and wear outside when my friends and I were playing dress up.
Even in uniform I had to dork it up with over-the-knee socks so my knees wouldn't get cold.
And thus continued a long tradition of dorky socks.
It didn't help that I was a totally awkward pre-teen.
Even when I was dressing up for something, I managed to wear my own thing (my sisters both had white dresses that day). At least I didn't wear my lime green fishnet hose with this dress. Probably my mother had something to say about it....
Once I got to high school I purposefully wore mismatched socks. I must have been desperate for attention. I remember one day in the cafeteria a boy dared me to stand on the table, roll up my pants, and show off my socks. Of course, I did....
My senior year I made several long dresses and wore them all the time, even in my first year of college. The colors matched better (except for the socks underneath), but maybe I was missing my princess dresses.
I can definitely relate to "Ugly Betty" both with her mismatched outfits and awkwardness. I wish I could report that I have totally grown out of my insecurities, but I guess that'll be a lifelong struggle. Meanwhile I have a whole closet full of costumes, including--yes!--princess dresses. So if you like to play dress-up or want to come with me to a Renaissance festival, I probably have something you can wear....