You Thought You Was Cute: Styles We Thought We Looked Good In When We Really Looked A Mess

September 24, 2013  |  
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Achieving personal style you can be proud of takes time. Many of us have worn a thing or two that we’ve later wanted to burn, or found a picture where we were rocking an ensemble that we should have known was dead wrong. We thought we were killing the game when we really looked crazy. But like I said, to get fly and fabulous takes time. Just ask newly minted fashion icon Solange Knowles, who once said, “Look at my fashion choices back in the day. You know how people say ‘Who let her walk out the house that way?’ or ‘She needs more people?!” Sometimes you need to strike out before you can hit a home run sartorially. Here are a few looks that many of us rocked back in the day and once thought we looked good in, only to realize years later we looked a mess.

Jumpsuits and Jersey Dresses

Raise your hand if you had a terry cloth or velour jumpsuit.

*Raises hand* Damn you J.Lo! I spent good money back in the day when I was trying to be seen in expensive Rocawear and Baby Phat jumpsuits. One in cream cotton, the other in pink velour. While I was trying to look fly in those materials, my classmates were also rocking denim and terry cloth jumpsuits. And don’t get me started on the Boston Celtics jersey dress I was thirsting to covet. While I thought I looked like a stunner or would look like one in a jersey dress, about a year later I was throwing such attire in the back of my closet and watching such looks quickly go out of style.


What were we thinking? It’s like hammer pants meet culottes. While they looked pretty good long, this short gaucho look? We now know better. But don’t feel bad if you were out here rocking brown and black bottoms trying to let your lady business breathe. We all were. They were the go-to church look and were often paired with a blazer or bell-sleeved top. The polyester/rayon pants definitely lost their luster quick.

Net Shirts

How many women did you peep rocking a hot pink, blue, purple–whatever mesh top with a white or black tube top/tank underneath? For a time there, folks would rock such shirts with their flared denim jeans and crisp white K-Swiss Classics thinking they looked fresh out the magazine. After these shirts got tore up one too many times in the washer, someone finally figured out that it was time to let the net look go.

French Rolls

Every special event at someone’s school, wedding, party or ball (Cotillion that is) required a french roll. I was never that good at doing them so I used to beg my sister and mom to show me how to tuck and roll my unruly locks. All these years later I wouldn’t be bothered with the style (though some naturalistas look fabulous with an improved take on the look), but for a good decade or two there, special occasion/school pictures = french roll.

All Knockoff Everything

Remember that time when everybody was out here with the fake rainbow colored Dooney & Burke? What about the small Louis Vuitton bookbags? Can’t forget the fake Gucci belts and bags. Even though folks could barely pay their phone bill in college, they wanted everyone to think they were Gucci Fendi Prada’d out. But when the strap started peeling, everyone could tell we were living a lie…

Love Spell and Glitter

It was the worst-kept secret in beauty. Folks were coming out the house glowing in the sun with their glitter rollerball-induced looks. You had glitter on the eye, glitter on the neck, and inadvertently that mess ended up on your face and clothes. And if that wasn’t enough, everybody had a bottle of Victoria’s Secret Love Spell on deck, trying to smell like a mix of candy and fruit. We were bathing in that mess, spraying it on us and putting it on our hands when we were ashy. It was all an overkill and I’m glad we left the glitter and splashes behind for actual perfumes.


I know many folks still love their Uggs (including my niece, hey boo!), but I was just about done with these joints when they started being worn outside of cool and cold weather seasons. Not to mention that when they were worn in actual snow they were damn near liable to make you slip and bust your head open if you actually picked up a stride over some slush. They were cute for fashion purposes, but you and I both know they weren’t all that functional. Warm? Yes. Had actual grip? Nope.

Brown and Black Lip Liner

Oh lip liner and lip gloss. The combination was a must back in the day, but in retrospect, it was actually a mess. We were smiling in school pictures and hitting up parties with our black and brown lip liner and gloss thinking it was the cutest thing ever. Too bad we didn’t realize that putting some actual lipstick in the middle of it all would look a whole lot better. But hey, you live and you learn.

The Struggle Ponytail With Bang or Baby Hair

I was just sharing the tale of my struggle to get to school on time because I was so pressed to try and make sure my baby hair was together under my rhinestoned bandanna. Ponytails weren’t just ponytails back in the day. They included bangs that were glued to your hair with gel, thin bangs that fell like waterfalls, bangs bumped to the gods, and other colorful things we can do with ProStyl and a rat-tail comb. And don’t get me started on using gym socks for buns.

Platforms and Melissas

There’s no shame in your game, girl. You weren’t the only one in platform sneakers (not today’s wedges, but full-on platform) and see-through kicks. Melissas were like the grown-up version of jelly sandals we wore as kids, and platform sneakers were just fun and funky. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it last for more than a hot second and are now sitting in the bottom of a trash bag. Good times though…

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  • LiiSH

    I still have and wear those red melissas! Lol and we will NOT diss the gym sock bun. Oh and Uggs are perfect for southern states where it can be below freezing (or close to) and still not snow. #justification lmao

  • Shamika.

    I’m 23, I’m still a little guilty of some of these things!!

  • kimmie lucinia

    I STILL WANT A PAIR OF MELISSA’S lol!!! lol me and my girlfriend were just talking about this. Melissa’s had gotten popular when I was in 4th grade in 2002 and my mom never bought me a pair but I think I would still rock them if I could a hold of them lol

  • Dee

    I used to be so envious of my mom’s french rolls with the pearls going down it! I’m def rocking a french roll for my wedding lol

  • Ce1999

    I remember for a minute girls were wearing chopsticks in their hair and looking like a cowgirl was popular. Just watch some Destiny’s Child videos for that last one.

  • JohnSStagner

    my stepmom recently purchased an awesome 9 month old Lincoln MKC SUV by working parttime online. you could try this out


  • jontel

    Females kill me on how they hate on Chilli’s hair texture. HATERRRRRR!

  • enlightenment

    Gauchos are so ugly. Idk why people wear them…

  • liliana

    does anyone remember parasuco jeans??

  • Veeee!

    I HATED Victoria’s Secret Love Spell! It smelled horrible to me, like dead flowers! I’m so glad women don’t OD on that scent anymore! And where is Chinese slippers???? The slip on ones and the ones with the strap were the must haves yet looking back, they were a complete and utter mess!! lmaooo

  • Buggiiprincess

    i have a net shirt….in this same colour…….-____________-

  • Emdot

    Jeans with designs (especially rhinestones on the butt)
    All club shirts had the back out or one sleeve.
    Coogi Dresses
    Sergio Valente Jeans
    Shrugs w/ matching tube tops
    Aaliyah swoops, waterfalls, fingerwaves w/ a frenchroll
    Sunglasses with colored lenses (blue, purple, pink,

    You couldn’t tell me nothing!

  • Ajavee

    I never cared for the jersey dresses, black/brown eyeliner, Melissa clear tennis shoes, Uggs (which I think stands for Ugly LOL) .

    However I liked “Love Spell” by Victoria’s Secret, french roll, gauchos (depending on style and body type). I liked the velour suits.

  • IAJS

    did everything on this list and you couldn’t tell me squat!!

  • Cleveland Cutie

    Wow…right down memory lane!! LOL

  • Nope

    Jersey dresses are always hot. F what ya heard. The problem was that women with the wrong body types were trying to wear them. Matter of fact I’m going to pull up that Mya video right now and reminisce.

    • Cleveland Cutie

      I loved jersey dresses too! I remember I had one with all of the NBA team patches on it, I think that thing cost like $100!

  • guest

    I think I did it all….LMAO…loved my gauchos I can’t lie!!!!!!

    • IAJS

      I did too! they were comfortable and I though they were cute idc

  • CKT76

    Ugh my cousin still does the black lip liner!

    • Ajavee

      I never liked the black lip liner look.

  • Drey

    Lol I agree except for the French roll and ponytail … Can look cute if styled right.

  • swtchocolatykizz

    *laughing w/ tears rolling* @ my gauchos( a pair of dress boots and printed leotards)… you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t cute:). Aww sheesh @ the eyeliner on top of the lipstick…I had forgotten that I use to do that. And I loved, loved the French roll ( with the pearl balls on the bobby- pins) and the pony tail with the pump on the top! Thanks for the laughs & tears!

    • Ms.Brilly

      OMG! Yes, the french roll with the “pearls” on the bobby-pins!!! That was my go to “dressy” hairstyle, lol.

      • swtchocolatykizz

        Yessss…. Very cutesy and dressy! How about you could buy different sizes in the pearls(oh yeah and they had gold ones too). I use to have a fit when I would drop them in the sink and down the drain they went:)

  • hollyw

    OOH, quit telling my liiife! Lmbo I came into high school straight out of uniform-wearing Catholic school and was always exactly one year behind every trend! My only solace was my dad was the “bootleg purse/dvd/mixed cd” man, so that helped until the year he gave me a velour Apple Bottoms track suit. The apple was shaped like an actual apple (as opposed to a butt)…

    Needless to say it took an entire day of me trying to stunt and having my spot blown up b/f I learned the ugly truth. Lesson learned, hot trends not for everybody!!

  • yella blk and blu junkanoo

    We…rocked the he11 out of them melissas here in miami. My crazy mom even brought her a pair in every color and had the audacity to wear sock with them smh. I rocked everything on this list from 1995 to 2003

  • December86

    Gauchos with a blazer “Girl Yaaaa ssssss!” But one you can add that me and all my girls used to do is the “White eyeliner” and those damn big butterfly clips that would bounce when you walk! THEY WERE HIDEOUS!

    • all day every day

      Too funny lol I was just looking at a picture of me and my girls and we had the butterfly clips. Idc what nobody says. Those clips were hot!!

    • Trisha_B

      Not the butterfly clips LMAOOOOOOO I loved them things.

      Another thing I was stuck on was Chinese slippers (they were slip ons w/ the front being mess). Idk if it was just a dmv thing, but every single girl had them, in ever color to match their outfits

      • sabrina

        CHINESE SLIPPERS!!! YES GIRL!! Me and my friends all had one in a different color and would wear them with matching outfits thinking we were so cute! Haha! Definitely was a trend up in NYC too.

        • Ajavee

          I remember those Chinese slippers LOL.

    • swtchocolatykizz

      Did you say butterfly clips…! Aww gosh I remember them….and had forgotten about them until you mentioned them….wow @ those trends:)

    • Leigh

      *Hiding my butterfly clip in my desk drawer* O_o

  • Kaho’olawe

    The only thing that applies to me on this list is wearing ‘Love Spell’. Even then, I dropped ‘Love Spell’ around the time it really became popular and began wearing real perfume.

  • lovely

    The only thing from this list i’m guilty of is the knock off bags *lol*… never even heard of melissas.

    • Ajavee

      I still have a few of the knock off bags LOL.

  • IllyPhilly

    Damn, y’all keep coming at me MN! 😉

  • TC

    My first time ever seeing Melissa’s (dont think those were hot here on the west coast). However, I sho nuff had me a few pair of them god awful Spice Girl-esque SODA shoes. I thought they were the hotness back in the day. Looking back????? Girl BYE!!!
    Oh and yes I am super guilty of the dark lip liner and lip gloss combo. SMH

    • Smarty86

      Melissa’s were def hot on the west coast.. In la at least. Velour sweats were really cute and so were jersey dresses

  • Gworl!

    Lol I didn’t get into most of these, but I admit to having a pair of uggs. The only reason I ever wore them was because they were free and my other boots had seen better days. Never liked gauchos, I thought the jersey dresses were wack, I don’t even remember Melissa’s. lol

    • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

      I never heard of Melissa’s either, it sure wasn’t big here in Chicago.

      • FamuRattler85

        I live in Chicago too but I remember Melissa’s being a big thing when I was in my late grammar school/early high school years. One of them.

        • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

          Shoot I prolly was in college back then when they came out, my friends or family never wore them, it was K-Swiss, Sketchers and Nike Air Max for us.

  • JDubb

    Couldn’t tell me anything when I was wearing my Melissa’s!!! Lol. I had too many pairs of those nonfunctional shoes that made my feet slip & slide!


    • kimmie lucinia

      How much were Melissa’s back in the day. I wanted some soooo bad lol

  • MsCeCe757

    You took me back down memory lane!!! All I could do was SMH!!! We live and we learn. Oh the memories!!

  • NatashaDecemberBabyThomas

    Guilty of French Rolls, black lip liner, velour jumpsuits back in high school and college, and the still is guilty of Uggs, even brought my daughter a pair last week, she loves those boots because they’re comfy and warm.

    • Ajavee

      I don’t care for Uggs….never did like them then again I live in SC so it does
      not get that cold here.
      i remember the Melissa shoes…I never cared for them LOL.

  • YeahISaidIt

    I love my Gauchos!!!

  • L-Boogie

    Guilty of the gauchos!

    • L-Boogie

      I am rocking the bootleg French roll now.

      • Ajavee

        I think the French roll is still a classic hairstyle.

    • Ladybug94

      I still wear gauchos. lol

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