(Flower Child Power)
An outfit consisting of pink tulle, Crocs 'n socks and a fringe-happy poncho would usually require an "I Dressed Myself" button before leaving the house. But after someone -- in taking note of Carrie's clothing choices -- mentioned that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" (I believe the terms "dirty hippy" and "loony liberal" were used), I beamed with pride and chucked aside the disclaimer.
It may seem absurd to label a five-year-old as a "liberal" but having experienced this lunacy firsthand, I can attest to the reality and the madness. It brought me back to high school in the 80s where being labeled a "liberal" had nothing to do with your idealogy and everything to do with what you wore. For instance, if you wore open-toed shoes, you were a liberal. If you made any fashion choices that didn't involve a Champion sweatshirt (tucked firmly into zee pants --hooyeah), you were a liberal.
My friend N duly noted this bizarre fundamentalist attitude toward fashion was likely a trickle down effect. Most high school students couldn't yet vote so many compensated by regurgitating the political adjectives and labels of one's raving parents, the majority of whom probably spent their weekends beating up organic farmers.
My dear friend JS once looked at my feet and scoffed: "What's up with ya liberal shoes" (translation: non-controversial Sam & Libby slingback sandals circa 1987). It bears mentioning that while he was offering up this style critique, he was wearing an acid-washed denim jacket with the phrase "Too Fast 2 Live, Too Young 2 Die" embroidered on the back. There is too much multi-pronged irony here to even get into. For one, the catchphrase on the back of the jacket came from a biography on Sid Vicious. It doesn't get much more anti-establishment than that.
Then again, I once tucked my tapered jeans into some neon socks. There was my seafoam green shaker knit sweater worn like a dirty slipcover over some footless tights (liberal leggins -- no Gs please) and the pairing of Converse All Stars (more liberal footwear) with prairie skirts ala Maria McKee.
Still, I was more prone to label others with Breakfast Club-style stereotypes than attach an idealogical tag to a pair of sneakers, which still seems way out there in non-sequitur land. I don't think wearing the same sweatshirt every day -- as a fashion statement -- made someone a "conservative," just unimaginative. At least all of the fashion choices of the past were united in their hideousness. As far as the future, if my daughter wants to dress from head to toe ponchos and tulle, more power to her.