I look like I wish I looked in High School


Choker | Faux Leather Jacket ($90 hurry before it sells out again!)  | Maxi Dress 

The other day my husband got me an amazing choker. It is a stunning, hand-crafted masterpiece. All the cool girls are super into this designer, and the rainbow version has a 6-8 week waiting list. I decided I like the maritime themed "jump in" partially because I like it more and partially because I decided I am too old to look like rainbow bright, much as I might want to. Eva Chen can pull this off, but not Dena. The tagline for the brand is "uncomplicated indulgence." It is sort of simple in how shiny, colorful things bring me so much delight. Also chokers are the only necklaces that don't rub my skin in such a way that they leave smudges of irritate skin behind. This is all justification for what is a purchase grounded only in love and instant, gut wrenching obsession.

But this necklace is just everything. Hand formed acrylic blocks stacked in the perfect rows like tiny candies... OMG, these are just like my beloved raver "candy necklaces" from my youth. SHIT.



And that's what it hit me. Staring at the image waiting for mine to come in the mail.
There is no universe in which this "new trend" is in some way influenced by the raver style I remember so vividly from my high school style.

Is it more refined? Absolutely. But I think, so am I? And yet, I seemed to have come stylistically full circle. In more ways than just this one necklace. 90s me would be so into current me's style.

I wear perfect delicate wrap chokers or slick and coveted "candy" necklaces. I pair them with slinky recycled material slip dresses and even slinkier camisoles (the grown up and tailored version of the salvaged slip dresses of my youth - this is what I wished  could find...) I have vintage cutoffs that would make young Dena weep with envy. I have an assortment of espadrilles, chucks and other footwear that look surprisingly like my shoe closet circa 1999 (including a pair I would've rocked to prom, as was our custom of wearing sneakers hidden underneath long dresses.) I have flattering mini skirts, leg elongating flares and a gorgeous matte lip tint that makes my lips look chic and puffy. I can do a cat eyeliner flip - most days. I own a checked one piece that teen Dena would've murdered for, a la My Father the Hero.

I even have the hair is what a younger me didn't even know she wanted - blonde and/or multicolored but with some brown to keep things flattering. There was no ombre back then so I had bleached two strips in the front which I colored with various jello packets and manic panic to match my mood/ensembles. Oh, how things have changed. Add in the kind of tousled waves I could only dream of achieving in my naturally kinky hair...

My posture is better, as is my diet, and obviously my skin. My hair is thicker and longer. My confidence unrecognizable but alluring to my former self. I know what fits me, what flatters me, and also, probably more important, what doesn't. I know the importance of tailoring, of loyalty to brands I like. And yet, I can't help but see the echoes of my former self in the choices I make now. It's like I've taken my adult clothing budget, my more refined sense of myself and my style, and used it to get the things my 15 year old self wanted (but tried to make at home and failed.) I can't help but feel like my mom must whenever 70s things resurface again - most of those items now co-opted in my own closet.

I made a list about choker inspiration (lots of 90s with a dash of 20s art deco, which of course was the original influencer of the 90s style) and I think my internet buddy Shanaz really hit the nail on the head when she said, "I can't believe I threw away all my chokers." I am glad I did, because now I have an excuse to upgrade - but I promise future unborn children, that I will save these ones for the next time this makes a comeback, and I will maybe let you borrow them.








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