What Were You Wearing When This Song Came Out?

I went into a tiny vintage shop in the East Village yesterday, & the guy & the girl behind the counter were making pleasant banter. The guy, who was fiddling with an iPod, said, “I haven’t heard this song in years!”, & then these familiar opening notes came floating out of the speakers…

The girl standing next to him asked, “What were you wearing when this song came out?” He started to describe his wardrobe — corduroy trousers, a flannel shirt — & I thought, ‘Wow, what a great question’.

1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins was such an iconic song, & sunk into so many people’s lives, that it was the sort of song you could remember what you were listening when you listened to it.

I knew my own answer instantly. At the time, there was a brand of trackpants (yes, really), called Barkers which were… well, if you didn’t have them, you were totally uncool. Most people had them in a slate blue or charcoal, but of course, me & my incessant point of difference, insisted that I own a cranberry pair. (I’m sure it blew my mother’s mind that her excessively unathletic daughter wanted a pair of trackpants.) What else? I also had a selection of baby-doll cut t-shirts. One that stands out in my mind was white with a big silver star in the middle. (Thank god there is no photographic evidence of this ugly time.) I had a crush on a boy who liked The Smashing Pumpkins too, & I would listen to Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness & talk to my friends on the phone about him.

Thankfully, the Christmas of 1996 was the first time I got access to the internet, & that’s when my style started evolving. By mid-1997, I was the quintessential gothling! Long black drapey skirt with lots of layers of netting & lace, a corset (a real one, mind you), striped stockings, New Rock boots, a spiked dog collar… It certainly wasn’t haute couture but it was a definite step up from trackpants!

So, I turn it over to you! What were you wearing in 1996?