There’s an inherent problem with this question, what did you wear when younger that mortifies you now? A couple of problems really. The first is that I’ve been involved in theatre since I was 9. There’s very little I won’t wear if it’s in service of a good bit.
When AAron and I lived together at The Pointes, there was one night I started playing around with some make-up I had found in a box and ended up painting my entire face blue*. Of course, what do you do when you have a blue face? We went shopping. We ended up at Nordstroms or Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the high-end shops at the Fashion Show mall, with me holding up shirts and asking random people if it clashed.
Additionally, when I was hanging out with my friend Tom at Denny and Lee’s magic shop and we wanted to do an illusion for a Magic Lounge performance, I had to wear a dress as the assistant. No problem. There’s even a picture of it floating around social media. And none of that is counting the things I’ve worn on stage. But then, I guess, I live by the old Shakespeare quote, “All the world’s a stage, and the people, merely players.” I’m a player so everywhere is a stage, and if it’s all a stage then whatever I’m wearing is a costume and I become the character.
When I’m in character, it’s hard to be mortified.
This is like the clipboard rule, but for me, it’s the nametag rule – as long as I’m wearing a nametag, I can do anything.
The next problem is that “when I was younger” is a nebulous term, since anything before right now is when I was younger. So, we could be talking about last week, or last year, when I was in my 30s or when I was 6 and my parents dressed me in godawful brown polyester with an orange and tan sweater vest. For sake of argument, though, let’s cap “younger” at 20 or so, which puts my younger years smack dab into the heart of the 80s.
If you know anything at all about fashion history, the 80s were a pastel and neon hell no one wants to revisit. That said, for some reason, I went all in. I had, and wore, half shirts (I had a Phil Collins “No Jacket Required” tour shirt) and parachute pants. I had a turquoise sleeveless shirt with rivets around the arm holes. I even had the white linen suit and when I wore the jacket (over a t-shirt, of course), you can bet I pushed the sleeves up, just like Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice**.
The final problem relates to the second one… it was the 80s. The thing about the 80s which makes it different than today is there was no social media and no proliferation of cameras. What this means is that I can plausibly deny everything since no (or very little) actual proof exists. I doubt there are any pictures of me wearing any of these things since at that time, film was expensive and there was no need for everyone to document everything.
All of which brings us back to the question at hand… Did I wear anything that mortifies me now? I don’t think so. I can justify it all. There were reasons. There are always reasons.
*This was before the Blue Man Group, mind you.
**A show I did not watch, but had so permeated the national zeitgeist, I couldn’t escape it.