The other day I drew on creepy puppet lashes with eyeliner and wore a doilie thing on my head…
12 year old fashion blogger Tavi of Style Rookie

When I was young, I was very aware of being taller, broader, frizzier and later on, chubbier than most people my age. I was quite self-conscious but dealt with this in a rather back-to-front way. Rather than not wanting to be looked at – I decided that if people were going to look at me it wasn’t to be because I was giant freak child but instead it would be something of my own hand.

I developed a curious fashion sense. If I saw something that I knew no-one else would ever wear – I wanted it and wore it. I never really allied myself with any one particular youth culture because that would have been too limiting. But I flirted with and borrowed from them all and high-fashion too. My outfits were more like costumes and to support this habit I became the first thrift-shopper of anyone I knew. After all if each item of clothing cost 10 to 50 cents each, I could afford a monster wardrobe and not one item would be likely to resemble anything that anyone else wore. I devoured high fashion magazines wherever I could find them and would nick them from the donated collage pile in school art departments.

For me the idea of getting dressed was to be costumed. I remember going for a fancy lunch with my friend Kevin and his glamorous mother when I was fifteen. Mum suggested I wear this sky blue dress with a white sailor collar because we were going somewhere rather swish. I accessorised it’s school girlish look with a white straw boater hat, 1950’s white gloves that buttoned on a pearl at each wrist and… a hockey stick.

Somewhere I have a photo from where I was 11 or maybe 12. A small group of friends and I had a Halloween party in my backyard to say goodbye to our friend Emily whose family was moving away. Emily is dressed as a black cat, Megan a witch and I… well… I am wearing a black satiny petticoat, with a voluminous powder blue brunch coat with an enormous lace collar, sleeves pulled inside out and buttoned around my neck like a cape. My feet are bare, my face is painted green and I seem to be smiling with great pride in the originality of my outfit.

I’ve occasionally met other kindred spirits on the same mission, if for different reasons. An undergrad art school chum Sara told me proudly that she had gone to a party with a plastic dinosaur sticky-taped to her forehead. At age 13, Jessie and I put on her dads painting-the-house clothes with the rags tied around our heads and a poultice of neon eye makeup and photographed ourselves rocking some kind of post-Dexy’s Midnight Runners thang on a couple of sawhorses in the backyard.

I imagine that some people might think it’s a little unsavoury that a 12 year old girl has a fashion blog but I find Tavi completely natural and charming. While she is obsessed with high fashion, she’s not some spoilt pouter, stamping her foot and demanding her parents update her D&G. She thrifts, she swaps, she steals from her older sister, she slaps doilies on her head and people who love her blog occasionally send her something and get a kick out of her working it into a ‘look’. As she said yesterday in her 100th post …I’m twelve! I have no one to impress and I’m not concerned about wearing something flattering to my body. I will dress as ugly and crazy as I want as long as I’m still young enough to get away with it. Suckerssss.

I’m a little tamer (and duller!) these days – although I do keep vowing to find more ways to wear my orange snake-print Paul Stanley pants to Matt’s horror – but Tavi is in a perfect, fun place of dress-ups and identity formation entirely appropriate for her age in my opinion. I’m not sure if I covet or mourn the absence of digital cameras and blogs in 1982 with which to record all those ‘looks’.

So I guess this all comes hurtling out of my brainbox because I wanted to say, congratulations on your 100th post Tavi. I’ve lurked 100 times and I hope to lurk at least 100 more.

Go, pre-teen, go!


3 thoughts on “Style

  1. My friend Jo and I went to a school social wearing (matching) cut off jeans, fish nets, flannies (tied at the waist, open), walking boots (due to a lack of doc martens I think), green hair spray and…KISS make up.

    I fail to recall whether it was fancy dress or not.

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