Friday, January 29, 2010

Dear Daddy Likey: Dressing for Your High School Reunion

Dear Daddy Likey,

I recently received a Save the Date for my five year high school reunion in July, and I need a little assistance. In high school I was, in short, a loser. Not the like get-beat-up-for-lunch-money-and-had-hygiene-issues type of loser, but more the girl with a very insular group of friends that may or may not have dressed up like an elf for the Lord of the Rings premier.

I've left my Frodo days behind me. However, I know that my reputation probably has not faded all that much, due to a pointed lack of interaction with most of my graduating class. In fact, my sister works with a classmate of mine that I don't remember ever speaking to, and he recently asked her if I was still as weird as I was in high school.

My college years have left me with a wardrobe full of sweatshirts, t-shirts and bar shirts. None of these seem to echo the youthful yet sophisticated, psuedo-professional (gotta love this recession) woman I have become.

Please, please, please help me figure out a reunion-worthy outfit that will help me to break free from the chains of my nerdy past, as I fear that this whole event may turn into a straight to video Romy and Michele sequel.

Signed,
Frodo, Five Years Ago

Dear Frodo,

So, how unfair is the 5-year high school reunion? I mean, five years is not nearly enough time to heal old emotional wounds or accomplish anything that will make anyone jealous:

"So, what have you been up to?"

"Working at Starbucks and going to school."

"Oh yeah? Me too."

"Cool. Remember when you poured a bucket of pig's blood on me in front of the whole school?"

"Oh yeah! That was funny."

"No it wasn't."

More importantly though, a person's undergraduate college years is not exactly the phase of life when you're focused on amassing a wardrobe of good quality, chic-yet-professional clothing. As our dear Frodo says, it's a time of jeans, sweatshirts, and free t-shirts from bars near campus.

I’ve put together three outfit possibilities that I think you’ll be able to replicate with affordable pieces from places like Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21. But take my fashion advice with these words of caution that my mom imparted to me after her own high school reunion: "Guess what? The people who were dickheads in high school are still dickheads."

So don't try too hard to win over the dickheads--they're a lost cause. Just be your awesome self and see what happens. Good luck! And here's some style inspiration:


I call this one the “I just came from my vaguely intimidating corporate job and didn’t have time to change but don’t I look fabulous anyway?” This look involves pretty minimal accessorizing, but focuses on great-fitting basics and colors. I'd be totally impressed if I saw a former Legolas-wannabe strut into the reunion wearing this outfit, wouldn't you?

Next up, we have a more formal option:


This shows that you put some effort into looking good for the night, and wow do you clean up nice. I kept my example simple, because I think an outfit like this screams for some awesome personal accessories that come with brag-worth back stories. As in, "Oh, you like my earrings? I got them while studying abroad in Spain. I'm pretty cultured."

And finally:


If I were gonna be really lame/clever I would title this outfit “Too Cool for School” or something like that. Basically, I think your third option is to just dress yourself up like a total badass and act totally nonchalant about the whole event. Then get burgers with your friends afterwards and shriek and giggle about how quickly the hot quarterback transformed into an Artie Lang lookalike.

How about you guys? Did you go to your high school reunion, or do you plan to go? What did you wear? And most importantly, were the dickheads from high school still dickheads?

39 comments:

Catie said...

First: Once a dickhead, always a dickhead. Second: I wore skinny gray Levis, a tight deep v white t-shirt, a silk Missoni scarf around my neck, and gold sandals. It was quite a casual affair.

sophia said...

I have about four more years till my first reunion (we didn't do a five year for whatever reason), and I am fucking psyched with it. I was kind of a nerd in high school, but I didn't care because it meant I got to sit in the back of the room with all my friends and make fun of the dumb pretty people. This is pretty much what is going to happen at the reunion, except I am going to be way better dressed (your third outfit is my favorite, fyi) and probably super drunk. It's gonna be great.

Kaume'alani said...

I went to my husband's 10 year reunion. Since we went to the same high school, I knew most of the people in his grade. I wore a sexy LBD and hot pink peeptoes. Everyone was like, "Dude, your wife is hot!" Many of the other people had gained a bunch of weight, lol.

Sal said...

Oh, how I adore you. And you've covered the gamut of options for making a stylish impression at the 5-year reunion.

And I cannot imagine a situation in which I would EVER attend a high school reunion.

Rosie Unknown said...

Not having finished High School, I can't say what I wore to my reunion, but I plan on wearing killer heels, a form fitting dress that isn't too slutty and a super hot, amazing boyfriend/husband.

khellekson said...

Aaaaaah! I went to my 5 year and it was a big mistake. (I too was the geeky elf, except with a Doctor Who scarf.) I haven't been to a reunion since.

I had a fabulous haircut; I wore a HOT short mustard-colored dress from The Limited (because it was 1989) with a rockin' belt and some heels that showed off my legs. I felt pretty okay about how I looked.

Everyone thought I was someone's wife. Literally only one person recognized me. (I really think it was the hair more than anything, in that I had cut it off.)

The dickheads were still dickheads.

Awesome outfits, by the way! I'd go for #3 because it's easier to grind dickheads beneath your heels with big boots.

Helen said...

My plan is thus: don't go.

Marie said...

My ten year reunion was last summer, and while I didn't attend, there were plenty of pictures on Facebook for me to check out. I was disappointed by the venue/dressiness of the event, which was part of the reason I didn't go. It was at a park and they had hamburgers with chips and soda (for $35 a person!)
Most people wore jeans and a semi-dressy shirt, maybe like the one in your first outfit. I had planned to wear something more like your second outfit, and would have been WAY overdressed.

jjparks said...

Luckily I won't have to worry about reunions for a while, but I agree that 5 years out is still a little fresh. I think I would do something more like 1 or 3 with the skinny pants.

jjparks.wordpress.com

Marie said...

P.S. I LOVE the shoes in outfit number 1. I have been wanting grey pumps, and those are pretty much exactly what I want; which is of course why they are $200.

*~Dani~* said...

This is exactly why I skipped my 5 year reunion. Way too soon. I can tell you that it was better at the 10 year. People had grown up and moved into different phases of their life (although there were still some dickheads, just not as many). Now I am preparing for my 20 (damn I am old!) and I think it will be even better. Time is a great equalizer.

Michele said...

High school reunions are lame. Dickheads who peaked in high school remain dickheads for life. Word.

Anne (in Reno) said...

I missed my 5-year reunion. Well, the people putting it on missed it and then decided that a 6.5 year reunion was close enough. But I missed that too. However, my 10-year is this summer and I am kind of excited. I will definitely be coming back to this post!

Fashion Court said...

your mom has the best advice ever, cuz it's totally true.

my high school has something called alumni day. i went this year (my first year out of high school) and it was mehh. i kind of realized how much i DON'T miss high school.

i must admit though, i did look good. not that i didn't have style in high school (err..a year ago) but i had no desire to dress up. in college, i love to dress up (weird, right?) i definitely got some stares.

Miss Peregrin said...

I haven't been to a high school reunion yet. Don't know if they're that popular around here? But anyway, the advent of Facebook allows me to know that the dickheads are indeed still dickheads. Just now they're on the internet. :D

Chocoholic said...

I went to my 10 year reunion and it was like Grosse Point Blank said, "It was just as if everybody had swelled." Same basic personalities. I was a loser type, too. I wore skinny jeans tucked into funky boots and a tunic top.

amandalee said...

I haven't had a reunion yet. I really think, though, that it might not be necessary for me to "catch up" with everyone, specifically because of the advent of Facebook and web 2.0. I don't have to wait until my ten-year to know that XX, my frenemy, has a baby girl and still hasn't appeared to have grown up. I can already tell that YY has changed a lot, because I read her blog [and she reads mine!]. As for the actual event? I probably won't go. I promised myself years ago that I'd make sure to be doing something way more interesting during that weekend, and let the dickheads be dickheads on their own. :-D

Anonymous said...

I was the strange nerdy, antisocial girl with glasses that had always a book to hide behind it and no idea of make-up. Ditching 8th and 9th grade and still not be let behind didn't help the popularity level either.

Our School found an easy way out of reunion arrangements. There is a reunion for all former students every year, so you can choose when you feel ready to face your past. I went last year,4 years reunion for me, the first time.

I wore straight jeans, heeled boots and a comfy-sporty-casual very well fitting shirt. I also learned a thing or two about meke-up in the past years. It was kind of an "I'm looking fab? Thank you, I just put on my usual clothes." outfit.

Aaaaaand the dickheads were still dickheads. The dumb pretty people were the not so pretty drunk people.

But still, it wasn't that nice b/c as soon as I entered the room my guards from old times went up and I had to work to be me and not what they expected me to be. Anyway, the "wow, thaht's you?!" was a nice ego-booster.

Go there and kick some but. Former nerds make some of the best adults, we learn to live our life early and we do it the hard way. Just imagining the shock some of the in-crowd had, when confronted with reality of world not revovling around them, is pure malicious joy.

Deja Pseu said...

I went to my 20-year and was shocked at how old all of the guys looked. That hot motocross dude I used to crush on was bald and in a double-breasted navy blazer!

My 35-year is coming up this year...can hardly wait!

WendyB said...

So was Frodo sleeping with Sam or WHAT? Someone please tell me!

Whit said...

LOVE the outfits. I NEED those boots in #3.

Anonymous said...

i love the third outfit. you know you would love walking in and having everyone who came in like, blowdried hair and profesh make up and you're just standing there all nonchalent like 'oh, you guys dressed up? for a high school reunion? huh. wow.' and it would feel awesome.
lovelovelove your blog!
www.dirtyperfection.blogspot.com

Sophia said...

I'd planned all along to go to my ten-year (we didn't do one at five), and about a month before realized I just didn't feel like it. I'd already caught up with pretty much anyone I wanted to on Facebook, and I didn't want to spend an evening either bragging about my achievements (law school and a cute husband!) or downplaying my failures (haven't passed the bar and don't have kids or a house!), and that seems like the whole point. I saw pictures later, and people were actually way more dressed up than I'd have planned to be (somewhere between #1 and #2), and I was glad I didn't go. I think people who do go tend to be the ones who really cared about high school at the time and all bonded with each other, so it wasn't very interesting to someone who was mostly an outsider and hung out with people in different grades than my own.

ninaribena said...

I wore something like outfit 3 but with killer heels to my ten year re-union... hottt but not overdressed. Looking - quite the polar opposite to me in school (they called me ugly back then - gahh). I took enourmous pleasure in kicking that rep in the ass.

The dickheads were still dickheads (turned daggy), the venomous pretty ones still thought they were better than everyone and ended up spacked out on drugs and vomiting in the toilet, and the dorkiest of nerds turned out HOT!!!

Good show, but I don't need to go back for another one - ever. My work there is done. xxx

Best of luck Frodo - knock em dead!

jeny said...

Nice shops.. and I love to have a pair of coach shoes

aprilstarchild said...

I'd like to point out that you have nothing to be ashamed of, re: your former nerdiness.

I was a huge LOTR nerd that long ago too--I dressed as a hobbit for the third movie, and went to the midnight show and everything. I read fanfiction too. And I'm about seven years older than you!

Just last month, for someone's birthday, we watched all the extended editions one after the other. I dug out an old Merry and Pippin tshirt (purchased from Hot Topic five or six years ago) and wore that.

Everyone loved my shirt, we all made joking/sarcastic comments through the movies, and we had a blast! And we're not an insular group of nerds, either.

Emalise said...

I don't have an official reunion coming up but I'll be visiting my high school friends later this year. We are all graduating from college this spring and I haven't seen them since our freshman year. My high school was in Kansas so I want to go back to my hometown looking like I've really gone places. India. Italy. Paris. London. Ireland. Even though its only been a few years.

~Jolene'sMemoryKeeping said...

I didn't go! maybe my twenty year reunion but I could not bare to have most of the people i grew up with judge me all over again for how i look, no thank you!

Ann said...

-Love- all of these choices! It takes a longggg time for the dickheads to change. You wont see it at the 5th year reunion but there will be a few rays of hope when you reach the 20th. I speak from experience.

MizzJ said...

Boy we never do escape HS do we? I sincerely hope all the people who were mean to you have turned fat and poor. Wearing any of these outfits will ensure you sucess so good luck!

RoughTrademark said...

Option 3 works especially well if you know that everyone else is uglier and you are hotter. Otherwise, it doesn't work as well, unless you have THIS much confidence.

I did #3 as well, wearing a tennis outfit, like I'd just stepped off the court, but with a slight punky edge. Sporty, but cute, but very casual, but showing off some serious leg, but you know, in a classy way. :)

Shannon said...

Like someone said above, THERE IS NO SHAME IN LOVING LORD OF THE RINGS AND/OR DRESSING UP TO GO TO MOVIE PREMIERES. I'm just one year out of high school so I can't relate as much to the whole reunion thing, but I hope you knock 'em dead!
(And, no, Frodo wasn't sleeping with Sam, it's a platonic relationship, but as for Legolas and Gimli...who knows?)

mbbored said...

I totally blew off my 5 year reunion on the premise that it hadn't been nearly enough time prove how awesome I was, figuring it was just an excuse for the cool kids to party together legally. Instead I posted my regrets on Facebook saying I already had plans that weekend for exciting trip (which was the truth.) If had gone, I would've gone with outfit 3.

Tara said...

Thank you thank you thank you! When I show up looking fabulous, I promise I will name drop!

tyellas said...

Another LOTR fan who dressed up for the premieres. I live in New Zealand, so dressing up like an elf meant that I met lots of other cool people at the premiere, and was interviewed on TV, and there was a clip on CNN that was seen by my mom back in the States, and it also helped me get stars' autographs.

The point of all that is that you should go where people appreciate you. Find the spaces and the people that make you comfortable. It's OK to blow off the 5-year reunion if you don't want to go. If you do go, those 3 outfit recs will blow their socks off.

I am still an LOTR nerd. I'm also very happy with my personal style when I'm not in elf garb - I got a grip on it at around age 30.

Winona, maybe we could have a "nerds and style" post?

Anonymous said...

dude, 5 years? skip it. some of your former classmates are probably still hanging out in the school parking lot on a regular basis. Five years isn't even long enough for some people to lose touch. there will be cliques (i.e. groups who attended and dropped out of the same state college together) and whatever outfit you wear (I dig #1) will be tainted by the desperate sense that you couldn't wait [the traditional amount of time] to see everybody again. If you do go, show up late, leave early.

Mabel and Zora said...

We didn't have a 5 year thank goodness...my 10 year is coming up and I am undecided about if I will be attending! The whole idea makes me unahappy! Wear what you feel the best in! If that is a dress or jeans go with it! Plus get your make-up done by a professional! That way you will know that you look super hot! Good luck!

Sara Darling said...

I was definitely quiet'n'quirky in high school. Oddly enough, I went to both 5 and 10 year reunions and actually thought the 5 year was much better. It was close enough to high school that I still remembered people and there wasn't that same pressure to be super-accomplished, etc. Sure the dickheads are always going to be dickheads but the people that were nice but you didn't get to know well can be fun to talk to. I was a bit goth in my early 20s but still had some fun chats with more "mainstream" former classmates.

If I had it to do over again I'd skip my 10 year reunion; it felt like a waste of time (plus I slipped and fell in a puddle of someone's sick and had to throw out those pants). By then I'd forgotten a lot of those people I didn't know and the people I cared about talking to, I was still in touch with anyway.

I've been told by older friends that the 20 year reunion is actually very pleasant; again because everyone (barring dickheads) have mellowed about where they are in life.

Amanda M. said...

Suddenly I'm glad my high school doesn't do a 5 year reunion. If it did, I think I'd probably skip.

Sadly, Facebook makes all of this kind of pointless. I KNOW the people from high school are all still dickheads. I see photos from their drunken adventures every monday morning. Woooo! I really need to prune my friends list....

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