The Nineties and Fashion

Being in high school and college in the nineties taught me that clothes should feel good and be at least a little practical. In high school, I wore ripped jeans with brightly colored or black opaque tights underneath, baggy flannels, and boots. These are comfortable clothes. In college I had a flowy sunflower print dress that I loved to wear with my sturdy-toed work boots. I remember wearing that outfit to watch the boys at crew regattas and feeling like a million bucks, and once, a young man, older than me but not so much that it felt creepy, stopped me on the street and said, "I just have to tell you that dress looks amazing on you." Both me and my feet were happy.

In college, my flannels and sweatshirts went from my back to my male friends' backs and back to mine. So many of our clothes were interchangeable. I don't want to wear my male friends' clothes now, but a couple decades ago, there was a lot of comfort in the universality of our closets.

Nowadays, I wear some clothes that aren't comfy, for sure. Tight jeans, a pair of tall black platform wedges with sexy ankle straps that are comfortable as far as heels got but not as far as my Solomons go, and so on, but some current trends I can't get into. Hiking in yoga pants? It seems like the height of impracticality. Hiking requires pockets. I need pockets for keys, a knife, dog poop bags, and really cool stones or seed pods or interestingly shaped nuggets of wood. I need pants that will survive sliding down steep surfaces on my butt and occasional branches that bite at me on in the trail. Yoga pants may show off curves or taught thighs, but yoga pants don't allow for adventure. And, if someone doesn't think the fact I can smile, tell stories, and occasionally crack very fine jokes all the way to the summit is damn sexy, his loss.

The clothes of the nineties aren't the only thing I miss. A Soul Coughing, Pixies, or Jane's Addiction song can still get me sweetly nostalgic; I can't help but to sing along at the top of my lungs to "Coming Down the Mountain." And, Oasis's "Wonderwall" can still piss me off for reasons way too complicated to ever explain to most people. The music still moves me.

And so does, believe it or not, the food. When I started college in the mid nineties, TGI Friday's, which strangely held an outpost on my campus, served cheesy baked spinach artichoke dip. I loved it then. I still love it, but, as we all know, with age comes wisdom, and I have learned how to make something better than what I ate back then.

Perhaps this version of the recipe straddles the thick-soled work boots of the nineties and the ankle-strapped platform wedges of the teens; I made it for a recent party at a friend's house, recipe doubled and amped up with a little more hot sauce and a lot more Parmesan, and folks who came of age in the eighties, nineties, and naughts all scarfed it down with audible pleasure. Some fashions, thank goodness, outlast decades. 


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