Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Six fads frozen in time

Allow me to explain why my title is not redundant. Yes, a fad is generally defined as a short-lived craze, but consider that many trends experience a distinct spike in popularity followed by decline, but maintain a continued presence on a much smaller scale in popular culture or daily life, as applicable.  New technology in particular has a way of seeming faddish at first, but as its use becomes more prevalent, the object in question becomes commonplace.

The other day I drove by a man walking a black Scottish Terrier.  I don't see this breed around much for some reason, and the moment I saw it, my mind flashed immediately to the old sweatshirts that filled my closet (as well as those of my sister and mother) featuring two Scottie Dogs facing each other and usually some argyle or hearts to complete the look.  A vision of this dog brought me back to that distinct period of style, and was the inspiration for this post as I recalled various specific objects that enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame during my youth and then have scarce to be heard from since. Many fads come and go within a category, for example nobody wears Lee jeans anymore, but we still wear jeans.  And the really big Hollywood-style sunglasses will surely start to be uncool at some point, but I don't predict that sunglasses themselves will go out of fashion.  Some (but not all) of the items on my list are objects which have nearly ceased to exist since the end of their reign, and therefore create a very strong connection with their period of popularity. I'll tell you mine, and you tell me yours!

1) Puffy Paint Couture. If the dogs on the aforementioned sweatshirts weren't puffy-painted, then you'd better believe there were sweatshirts with ironed-on kitties and Christmas wreaths nearby that were.  Okay, I've seen puff paints used in crafts on occasion, but they aren't the fashion statement they once were.

2) Troll dolls. I had myself a hefty collection of these. I never really played with them, just owned them.

3) Slap bracelets. I remember coveting all varieties of these bracelets in precisely 5th grade. Shiny, fuzzy, tie-dyed, you name it.

4) MAGIC cards. I never actually played with these myself, I swear. I wouldn't be able to tell you the difference between the planes of Shadowmoor and Lorwyn (just looked that up on a website, ha ha).  But I do remember hordes of boys hovering around them at the cafeteria tables in junior high, followed by much smaller groups of late-blooming boys huddled around them at the cafeteria tables in high school.

5) Pogs. What were these things exactly? I just remember them being all the rage for a while. Apparently we kids were tricked into obsessing over cardboard discs with printed images. Some of them were sparkly though!


6) Scrunchies. The staple hair (and wrist) accessory of the mid-nineties. And then they simply disappeared without a trace.  Conspiracy? Perhaps.

So what nearly-forgotten objects hold the power to transport you to distinct memories of their era? 

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