Monday, July 14, 2008

Back in the Day... Part 2

On part 1 of my "Back In the Day" blog I reminisced on some things I remembered as a child and compared them to my son and shared a few stories from my childhood. Don't forget I'm an 80's baby so my childhood years were during the 80's and 90's. Well I would like to again take a trip down memory lane. This time I've been reminiscing on the fashions and trends of the 80's and 90's. There are some that were good and remain and even more that were bad and should never again be attempted. Most of the things discussed only apply to men sorry I can only speak on what I know personally. But I'm sure whether you're male or female if you grew up in this era you'll have quite a few laughs as you continue to read. So sit back relax and take a ride with me down memory lane...

Hair Styles
Jheri Curl
The Jheri Curl actual began to surface in the late 70's and remained around throughout the 80's and early 90's. The Jheri Curl for some reason was more popular on the West Coast, which I never understood since it was usually hot. I'm sure brothers were going through plenty activator out west. LoL. I never wore a Jheri Curl but I remember wanting one after seeing rappers like Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Hi-C, and Dj Quik with them. Yep that would be Ice Cube, A.C. Slater, Stoney Jackson, and Mr. Soul Glo himself below with their versions of the Jheri Curl.

High Top Fade
Times were hard back in the day and a Haircut at the barber shop didn't come too often. I used to wear a simple bald hair cut that my father would perform himself with a pair of clippers. He was able to do that no problem. However, after watching a movie called "House Party" in 1990-91 starring rap group Kid N' Play my brother and I had to have a High Top Fade haircut along with the parts to match. However, my pops wasn't as skilled when it came to that and I had plenty of jacked up fades and parts prior to being able to finally go to the barber shop on a regular basis. I remember having one of the tallest high top fades in the 6th grade until another trend hit and I decided to braid it up. But the high top spawned all kinds of other creation including the Gumby and the stair step.
Guys have been wearing braids since the days of Afros. But in the 90's they came back in style full force. I know I wanted to get mines after the rap group Kris Kross came out. The summer of 93 my brother and I went to visit Chicago with high top fades and came back to California with Braids. Well with that my father's job of taking us to get hair cuts quickly left and my mom then became a part time hair braider.


I think I owned one pair of pumas in my life that was in the mid 80s. They were one of the first pair of name brand shoes I ever owned. And I remember being excited when I got them. Don't act like my parents were the only ones that shopped at Payless.

L.A. Gear
Introduced in 1992 L.A. Gear (L.A. Lights) was the first to use the luminescent light on the heals of their shoes. The heal would light up with each step. I never had a pair of L.A. Lights but I had more than one pair of L.A. Gear shoes. I'm still reminded of the comedian Jamario. Back in the 90's on and episode of Comic View, he told a joke about him and a friend committing a crime and the friend insisting on wearing his L.A. Lights. Well needless to say, the friend got caught because of the damn lights on the back but Jamario didn't. As he would say they don't know nothing about no damn Jamario. LoL.

Converse Allstars aka Chuck Taylors
Although Chuck Taylors had been around for many years they gained new popularity in the early 90's not only with many young blacks on the West Coast but with a lot of rockers and the grundge culture. The fact that you could get them in almost any color you wanted made them fashionable as well. Chuck Taylors are still around and will be a long time from now.

The Reebok Pump
The Reebok Pump originally came out in 1989 and were worn by basketball player Domonique Wilkins. However, the shoes were much more expensive than competitors upon release. But these shoes really gained popularity when NBA player Dee Brown wore these shoes in the 1991 slam dunk contest. I remember him pumping the shoes right before performing a no-look slam dunk which he won the contest with. I didn't have any of these shoes but my brother did and I wore them plenty of times and despite popular belief the pump didn't help you ball any better. LoL. Also the popular rap group Das Efx used the shoe in a line from their song "Mic Checka" from the album "Dead Serious" released in 1992. "I piggity pump up like Reebok Pumps."

British Knights bka BKs
I remember getting a pair of BKs in the 4th grade. And I wore them out til I got a hole near my big toe. I also remember I wasn't due for a new pair of shoes for a while so I had to make due. Well in one incident I remember my sock coming out of the hole in the shoe and a classmate of mines pulled my sock all the way out and the other kids laughed. LoL. Also, living on the west coast I remember in the 6th grade having a pair of red BKs (similar to below) and put light blue fat shoe laces in them. Yeah I was kind of naive and didn't know that I was making a statement about gang affiliation (BK=Blood Killer). Luckily the shoes were red so people could recognize I was not affiliated only quite confused. LoL.

Although Adidas had been out long before, when Run DMC made a song called "My Adidas" in 1987 that appeared on their "Raising Hell" album they became even more popular. Not to mention Run DMC had a unique way of rocking their Adidas with no shoe laces. Although I wanted Adidas I probably didn't get my first pair until the early 90's equipped with some fat shoe laces as depicted below.

Vans had actually been around for a while, but I don't know what made this shoe become very popular in the early 90's and even more than that I'm not sure how they are still around. But I personally never liked the shoes, but my dad for some reason loved them. There was an outlet near us and they were cheap in price so that's says it's no wonder he would buy them.

Air Jordans
Nike Air Jordans or Jordans (J's) as they are commonly referred to first came out in 1984. Since then Nike and Michael Jordan continued to drop at least one new pair of Air Jordans every year. Although, I and everyone else of course wanted a pair and wanted to "be like Mike" it never happened for me. I remember people were actually robbing and sticking up kids for their Jordans. So, that coupled with the fact they were so expensive and my parents could probably get me and my brother a pair of shoes for the cost of one pair of Jordans is why I never got a pair as a kid. However, so desperate to have a pair I remember one of my spoiled white friends that was an only child would get a new pair whenever they came out. So in 91-92 when the new Jordan's dropped I remember being over this friends house and he had his old pair of Jordans sitting around similar to the ones below. And basically I asked him for them and he gave them to me. They weren't in bad shape, however; they were a size too small so I had to squeeze my big foot in them. Needless to say, I was only able to wear them about a week before the pain was unbearable. But that is the only pair of Jordan's I have ever owned or wore. For some reason even though I could finally afford them myself, they have not had the same appeal to me as when I was younger.


Kangol Hat
No one was cooler than LL was rocking the Kangol hat in the mid 80's. And with my "Radio" cassette tape in hand who didn't want to be like LL? I know I did but sadly I was never able to get me a Kangol hat. I don't think I've ever worn or owned one to this day.

Malcolm X Hat
After Spike Lee made the Movie "X" in 1992 everyone was wearing X any and everything. I think I had an X hat myself at one point. I'm curious who had the merchandising rights though, and especially who had the trademark to the letter X? Maybe the Count from Sesame Street. LoL.

Rhinestone Hats
Who can forget the Rhinestone hats? In the early 90's everyone had one. I know I couldn't afford the ones in the store and I wasn't quite skilled or patient enough to put all those damn little rhinestones on the letters of my hat. So what did I do? I asked my grandmother to hook it up for me and she did just that. Thanks Granny for keeping your boy in style. LoL

The Fisherman Hat
The fisherman's hat was similar to a kangol but you could get your favorite team on them. In the early to mid 90's many rappers made the fisherman's hat popular. I remember having one of these.
The Beenie
Although it was mandatory in the cold Chicago winters, I never understood why in the early 90's the beenie was so popular in warm climates like California. But you could get a beanie with your favorite team on it. And there were a million and one ways to wear it.

Clothing Lines/Brands

Cross Colours
In the early 90's Cross Colours came out of no where with all sorts of bright colored pants, shirts and shorts. Most of the colors were similar to those in the African Flag. I know I was destined to get me an outfit. And eventually my parents gave in and spent the money to buy us some. I'm sure it was for a birthday or something like that.

Karl Kani
When Kani came out in the early 90's the clothing game was a fierce competition and he had to compete with big names like Cross Colours and Guess. But I don't recall owning a pair of Kani jeans until close to mid 90's and those were a hand me down pair from my brother.

Guess Jeans/Overalls
Guess Jeans had been out since the early 80's. However, I think they gained a lot more popularity when people began wearing overalls. Yes the look of the farmer became urban wear. So, I had to have a pair of Guess overalls. I remember my parents got me and my brother a pair he had black I had blue jean. Then later we both got the overall shorts in the same colors. The overall trend was big. However, you had to make sure you wore them the cool way. So both straps couldn't be up like the farmers wore them. You could wear them one of a few ways including: One strap up and the other down, or both straps down hanging to the ground, or my personal favorite both straps down but still hooked on.

Clothing Trends

Thriller Jacket
Michael Jackson released his "Thriller" Album in 1982. However, when the Thriller jackets were fashionable I was a little too young but of course when I was a little older Michael Jackson was still just as popular and I wanted me a thriller jacket too. Who didn't?

Hammer Pants
Don't ask me why or how these pants became a trend but for some reason in the early 90's they did. And in true kid fashion after seeing M.C. Hammer dance his ass of in them of course we wanted some. Thankfully we never got any I could only imagine how rediculous they would have looked. Holey Jeans
In the Mid to late 80's people began to wear jeans with holes in the knees. I'm not sure who started this trend but I'm sure that for the first person it was an accident but some how it caught on and people purposely put holes in their jeans.

The "Tre Shirt"
I have no clue what the name brand on this shirt is. However, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. wore it in 1991 when he played the role of "Tre" in John Singleton's first movie "Boyz N the Hood." I remember my brother having a very similar shirt to this. And not to put him on blast but just like Tre he thought he was "Mr. GQ Smooth."

Baggy Jeans
In the early 90's kids began to wear jeans that were looser fitting than ever before. They would do all kinds of things to their old jeans such as cut the bottoms so the ankles weren't as tight. Finally the fashion makers got with the trend and began making baggy jeans. But that wasn't enough for some reason the goal was to have the baggiest jeans in school. So you would see people that wore a size 30/30 buying jeans that were 48/48 or even bigger so much that 2-3 people could probably fit in the jeans. I know I owned plenty of baggy jeans in those days and would wear my brothers for an even baggier fit.

Looney Toons Shirts
In the early 90's Warner Bros. was introduced to the hood. That's the only way to describe these shirts. You were able to find any one of your favorite characters dressed head to toe in urban/hood gear. I think I had so many of these it wasn't even funny. But you couldn't tell me I wasn't the shit in them that was until I moved back to Chicag and got to highschool and realized they were no longer in style. LoL.

Hoodie Sweatshirt
Before hoodies came with all kind of fancy skulls and writing on them, back in the early 90's a simple solid color hoodie would suffice. I know I had at least a few of them in a few different colors.

Starter Coat
During the winter months in California it's not Chicago cold, however; it's cold enough to put on a jacket or coat. Well back in the early 90's while in the 6th grade the coat I had to have was a starter coat equipped with my favorite sports team on the back. Well when Christmas came I got just what I wanted well sort of. I wanted a starter coat like below but I got the trench coat version bright red in color with the UNLV Running Rebels logo on the back. Knowing I was dissatisfied my father took the coat back and got me the version I wanted. The only problem was that the one I wanted had a flaw to it. The San Jose Sharks emblem was upside down. Well it was my choice whether I wanted to get it or not. So I went for it even though it was flawed. But now that I think of it, I'm sure my father got a cheaper price for this flawed coat. So, I had the most unique starter coat out of anyone I knew. LoL.
Pull over Starter Jacket
This was mid to late 90's it was the 2nd coming of the Starter Jacket. These were more like wind breaker material and you simply pulled them over. Not so popular in Cali but by the time I move back to Chicago everyone in school had them. I don't think we could afford them.
Army Fatigues
In the mid 90's once again rappers made the army fatigues a popular fashion trend. Could have been a conspiracy by the Government to recruit more brothers in the army but who knows. I know I had a pair of pants myself and my brother had a bubble goose coat. Funny thing is most of the people that wore them including myself would probably go AWOL if we were ever drafted in the army. LoL.

Coveralls/Khaki Suit
The coveralls were made popular in the early 90's by rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Kris Kross. Although I wanted a pair, I never got the chance to get any. Also, the Khaki suit was really popular on the west coast. I wanted one as well. I finally got one but it wasn't brand new. During a visit to Chicago I noticed my grandfather John had plenty of them that he would wear all the time. So, let's just say I borrowed one of them. LoL.
Short Set
When Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had their song "Summer Time" in the early 90's the video played on The Box (aka Juke Box) all the time. In one of the lines on the song he said "it's late in the day and I ain't been on the court yet hustle to the mall to get me a short set." Needless to say that summer of 1991-92 I had to have one. Eventually my brother and I convinced our grandmother to buy us one. We had the Chicago Bulls Logo on ours.

Air Brushed Clothing
So what's better than just having a pair of overalls? Well nothing except having your name or face airbrushed on them. In 1991 groups like ABC (Another Bad Creation), and Jodeci would airbrush their clothes and even their boots. Of course I wanted my clothing air brushed as well but for some reason I never did.

Inside-Out Jeans
When the group ABC (Another Bad Creation), which was formed by New Edition and BBD member Michael Bivins, came out in 1991 they had a unique style of dress. They would wear their jeans inside out for some reason. Well it didn't take too long before other kids were dressing the same. Unfortunately for ABC this trend was short lived because the next year another kid group was created. That group was Kris Kross and on their first single "Jump" they dissed ABC with the lines like "Don't try to compare us to another bad little fad," and "And everything is the back with a little slack And inside-out is wiggida wiggida wack." Well needless to say, ABC's next album was a flop and the group fell off.

Backwards Clothes
In 1992 when Jermaine Dupri introduced the world to his new found group Kris Kross they had a unique style of dress. In the video for their single "Jump" they wore their clothes backwards. Well the trend didn't really catch on until the group performed their single "Jump" on the popular show "In Living Color." After that performance I remember the very next day at school seeing people with their clothes on backwards. I know I was one of them even if it wasn't that very next day, I eventually adopted the style.


The Gold Rope
These gold chains were popularized in the mid to late 80's by rappers such as Erick B. & Rakim, Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Slick Rick. I know I wanted to be "Paid in Full" just like Erick B & Rakim were on their album cover. Needless to say I never got me a Gold rope. But funny thing is that these chains have now become popular again and the next generation of rappers are wearing them.

The Herringbone Gold Chain
I'm not sure which came first but I believe the Herringbone came after the thick (dookie) rope gold chain. I remember wanting just a small one not like the rappers had, but just a small one. Well my mom told my brother and I she would start us with silver herringbones until she saw how we could take care of them and then maybe get us the gold. Well we got them for Christmas that year. However, no one ever told us not to wear them to sleep or in the shower. Man that chain kinked up so bad I was ashamed to even wear it. Needless to say we never graduated to the gold version. LoL.

4 Finger Rings:
When Spike Lee's movie "Do the Right Thing" came out in 1989 the style was just to have a ring on each finger. However, the style was to have 1 ring that covered all 4 fingers. And no one rocked the 4-finger ringer better than the character Radio Raheem portrayed by actor Bill Nunn in Do the Right Thing.

African Medallions
In the early 90's with the Cross Colour clothing line out and the Malcolm X movie out a lot of blacks became afrocentric and wanted to represent the mother land. So we wore clothing with the colors in the african flag and medallions with black fists and mother Africa on them. I never had a medallion but I had some clothing with African Colors on them.

Pager aka Beeper
The pager had been around for a while but for some reason gained popularity in the 90's as a method of communication. However, the draw back was that all you could do was return the person's page from a land line or pay phone. But sometimes people would try to send messages through the pager by spelling words using the numeric keys. For instance, 17 31707 1 turned upside down in the pager would spell "I Love U." Maybe this trend is why cell phone companies came up with the text message. But the reason I call this an accessory is because you could change the color of your case to match your outfit. Also you could have the chain to keep your page safely secured to your belt loop. Trust me it was not good security at all. LoL.

The Back Pack
If you've ever heard the term "back pack era" to describe a version of Hip Hop well this is what they meant. In the early 90's young kids were obsessed with wearing back packs. And they weren't just for carrying school books. A lot of kids were into "tagging" and "graffiti" so they kept their spray cans in them. Most had their name or crew names tagged all over them to identify who they represented. Also, for some reason the goal was to loosen the straps to the very bottom so the back pack hung way below your waist. I'm not sure why maybe it was to match how low your pants were as well. Rapper Rampage of the Flip Mode Squad's first ever single had a chorus that went "With my knapsack raps and my funky fly tracks Beware of the rampsack." Of course I had to have one but not just any one it had to be a Jansport back pack like the one on the right below. I eventually convinced my parents to get me one and I felt like I was cool.

Fat Shoe Laces
Fat laces had been around for a while and still were during the early and mid 80's people rocked them in their Adidas or Chuck Taylors. In the early 90's they kind of came back in style and I had to have some. As mentioned in the story about the BKs I had a pair of light blue fat laces.

Dwayne Wayne Glasses
When the show "A Different World" came out in 1987 there were many characters that appealed to viewers. One of them was Dwayne Wayne who was played by Kadeem Hardison. One of the unique things about his attire were the type of glasses that he wore. I never wanted a pair of these glasses but they were popular because of him.
Well by taking this little trip down memory lane I was able to conclude a couple of things. One I realized that Music (Rappers), TV and Movies had a big influence on the way we dressed back then. Also, I noticed that a lot of these styles of dress and trends were absolutely ridiculous by today's standards at least. I know that every era and generation has their own distinct fashion trends and that sometimes they tend to come back in style. But I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that I hope to God that some of this stuff never makes a return. Thanks for taking a trip back with me.



theicequeen said... i've been reading right from the newest post, and i'm generally impressed with this blog, it's funny and informative and real and so an and so forth..

but this post has me a little confused..i'm wondering if i'm misunderstanding?

"Most of the colors were similar to those in the African Flag."

African Flag? and i saw it twice too...There is an African Flag??! Africa is not one huge country, there are lotsd of countries in Africa, each with it's own flag..

So please correct me if i have misunderstood..

Brothers Blog said...

Hi thanks for taking the time to read we really appreciate it.

I wasn't trying to be offensive with saying the african flag. I know there are many countries in Africa. But the 3 colors are what I was mostly referring to. Red, Green and black.

This link I found online will explain more of what I meant.

theicequeen said...

Ah..i see..thanks for the info then!