In non-BSC related news, I got linked to by a comment in Oh No They Didn't. I am silly amounts of happy about it. Haaay ONTD!
Also, Lindsay, perhaps Claudia can help you. You look horrible.*
Claudia, on the other hand, looks fantastic. At least according to Jessi she does. But Jessi considers ballet leotards haute couture, so we shouldn't take anything she says too seriously.
First off, this paragraph starts with the usual girlcrushing 'she looks like a model even though she consumes 5 pounds of chocolate on a daily basis' drivel, so we're skipping straight to the outfit. But I thought I'd let you know it was there.
"she always puts together the coolest outfits, mostly from stuff she finds in flea markets. For example, at that meeting she was wearing '50's-style cat's-eye glasses frames, a plastic barrette in the shape of an alligator, a tie-dyed T-shirt, and bell-bottoms. "
Does anyone get the feeling that Claudia dresses crazier than usual for BSC meetings, just to freak out the more sedate members of the club?
p.s. if you have not seen Kristy's Serious Case of Bitchface in the previous entry, the time is now.
* I would also be glad to help, for a meager six-figure consultation fee. Let me know.
#74: Kristy and the Copycat
Can you even deal with this cover? I sure can't.
And, to a: the q: in the tagline: only if crimes of fashion don't count.
For a Kristy-narrated book, this is surprisingly loaded with outfit descriptions.
"Claudia settled back on one of the benches with Alicia on her lap and began rooting around in her backpack. I was guessing that she had some junk food stashed inside (Claudia is a junk food gourmet) but I was wrong. [Something tells me Kristy is gonna have some trouble sleeping tonight.] She pulled out a pair of sunglasses: the frames were plain round wire rims, but the green plastic lenses were square, stuck into the frames by their four corners. I had to smile. Claudia definitely has style, and it's definitely, uniquely hers."
Of course Claudia is coming to Krushers practice, now that it's plot-convenient. I see right through you, ghostwriters. A+ on the sunglasses, though.
Okay guys, New York Style coming up!
"Stacey had pulled back her permed [gotta mention that every book] blonde hair back with a leopard-print scarf tied under one ear. [?] She was wearing one of her favorite pairs of earrings, gold leaf-shaped ones. She was also wearing a black wrap long-sleeve top, a short low-slung skirt with a big belt, black tights, and leopard print flats. She looked extremely cool. Which of course she is."
Wow. If the ghostwriters were trying to describe a ballet wrap cardigan, I'm actually kind of on board with that. The rest of it I could take or leave.
"What can I say about Claudia? She's as cool as Stacey. But if Stacey's style is New York [it is?!], Claudia's is - planetary. Out of this world. Planet Claudia."
. . . .
"Today she was into big [that's what she said. what? I miss The Office.]: a big yellow shirt with red x-shaped buttons, enormously baggy white pants, and big red Doc Martens double-laced with black and yellow shoelaces. Her long straight black hair was pulled upon top of her head with more black and yellow shoelaces braided together. Her earrings said 'stop' and 'go' - 'stop' in her left ear and 'go' in her right."
I'd forgotten about those earrings! Excellent work, Claud. Good show, good show.
"On the theory that the clothes make the coach (or at least help), Claudia and Stacey had conferred the night before and had dressed up for the occasion. Claudia was wearing a red satin baseball cap, purple sweatpants that were cut off just below the knees, purple high-tops with neon pink laces, red-and-white-striped socks, and a red and pink tie-dyed crop top shirt. Stacey was in black bicycle shorts with neon yellow racing stripes down the sides, a pair of Nikes with matching neon yellow swooshes on the side, (but ordinary white laces [Claudia: 1 Stacey: 0]), an enormous white v-neck t-shirt, a black jog bra, and a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap, turned around backwards. They were both using old gloves of mine. Stacey was wearing my whistle. Claudia had this funky clay whistle shaped like a bird on a leather thong around her neck that she'd made in art class. It didn't really blast like Stacey's, but the Krushers all liked it anyway."
I'm glad for them.
Bringing out the big guns today - this is one of my all-time favorites. I was ready to claim it was my number one, but then realized that I should NOT be rash about this. However, this outfit makes a strong case for itself.
"You never knew what kind of outfit or hairdo you'll see on Claud. For instance, on the day of this meeting, she was wearing a red shirt with Mexican hats and cactus plants printed on it, and blue-and-white-striped pants held up by polka-dotted suspenders. On her head was what looked like an engineer's cap (it matched her pants), and dangling from her ears were miniature cowboy boots, which she'd made herself."
Take that, Cory Kennedy!
At the airport in LA, Jessi notes that Mr. Schafer is really patient, a trait she is able to observe because they had to wait for "about forty-five minutes" to claim their luggage. " (This is partially because Stacy and Claudia had packed so much.)" That joke's gettin' tired, army of ghostwriters. Just so you know.
And, Claudia's demure date outfit, which sounds too painfully ugly to imagine:
"Ordinarily I would have worn some wild combination of pants and high-topped sneakers and large jewelry. But for this evening I had borrowed a very tame dress from Dawn. I think it might have been a Laura Ashley dress. It was simple - a small-flowered print with half sleeves, a regular old waistline, and a nice lace collar. Then I had borrowed a pair of flat pink shoes from Mary Anne.
I looked like a nine-year-old. Or maybe a grandmother."
Yikes. Yeah ya did.
#44: Dawn and the Big Sleepover
WHY ISN'T SHE WEARING A SHIRT? I am alarmed.
And now, the outfit you've all been waiting for. Seriously, if I remember my blog comments correctly, multiple folks have reminisced about Claud appropriating some Flintstones-themed style. For those of you that have hazy half-memories of some ludicrous shit, let me bring this gem of an outfit to the forefront of your minds again. You may never be able to forget it. And if you're lacking a Halloween costume, may I suggest going as Claudia's Tribute to a Time When Dinosaurs and Humans Coexisted in Cartoon Harmony?
"Claudia greeted us at the door to her room with her hair in a ponytail on top of her head, held up by a huge barrette in the shape of a bone, like Pebbles in The Flintstones. It made her hair bounce when she moved. She was even wearing a Pebbles-type outfit - a pink, off-the-shoulder blouse with huge polka dots and a ragged bottom over black tights. On anyone else it would have looked dumb or babyish, but on Claudia it looked cool."
Dawn may want to have her eyes checked; I'm not sure even our fictional fashion idol could pull off this one. At least it's not a side ponytail, I guess. The illustrators for this series relied far too much on that particular hairstyle.
I'm skipping Super Specials #2 and #3 because I don't really remember any outfit stuff going on. In #2 they were at summer camp and wore uniforms (whatever on that one, by the way) and in #3 Claudia was really busy having a crush on that skiing instructor. I'll come back to them at a later date, maybe. I know you're cool with it.
Especially since this is the Super Special in which Claudia loses a race because of fashion.
"The race started off well (for me) since I was ahead. I had dressed properly for sailing - loose, comfortable clothing that I could move around in [California Casual], and that wouldn't get caught in anything. Claudia, on the other hand, couldn't help dressing up just a little. She is a real clotheshorse, and I guess she wanted to look good, since she knew we'd have an audience. So she'd put on a tank top and baggy drawstring pants. Over the top, she was wearing a button-down shirt of her father's. [Mr Kishi: "Dammit Claudia!"] The sleeves were rolled up, but none of the buttons were buttoned. She was also wearing big earrings that she had made herself. Claudia is quite artistic. [News to me!] So the thing is, she looked good but, as it turned out, she was not dressed for sailing.
As soon as we were on the water and had picked up some speed, her shirt started blowing around. She was busier peeling the shirt off her face than she was steering the boat or doing anything else. Then one of her huge earrings got caught on a sail and had to struggle to set it free. With the wind blowing around me, I couldn't hear anything from her boat, but I could see her lips moving and I bet she was saying some things she isn't supposed to say."
Claud is a badass. Also - suck it, Dawn. Kidding! Mostly.
"That morning I dressed sensibly for our rematch. No jewelry at all (I was not about to lose on account of earrings), and a long-sleeved jersey that I could tuck into my jeans. I even pulled my hair back and braided it so it wouldn't blow in my face.
At about ten o'clock my phone rang. I was just finishing putting on my makeup. (I didn't see how I could possibly lose a race on account of makeup.)"
"Luckily, Dawn didn't seem to need a response. She went on talking. "What, um, what are you wearing?" she asked. I could tell she was trying not to laugh.
'Jeans, a polo shirt, sneakers, and a visor. And my hair is braided, and I do not have any jewelry on,' I answered indignantly."
Actually, that part makes me laugh. Dawn, you're off the hook this time.
I have been lax in my duties. I would make some sort of semi-witty comparison between myself failing at updating and Claudia failing at writing above a second grade level, but by this point you can probably fill in your own joke for that one.
Claudia, Mallory would like us to know, "is so dibbly sophisticated and chic. She wears wild clothes like big hats; flowered vests over long shirts that belong to her father [I wonder how super-conservative Mr. Kishi feels about Claudia appropriating his business-casual wear into her bizarre fashion concoctions] and which she leaves untucked [GASP!]; short black pants; and then, something just a little offbeat like penny loafers from the 1950s with white bobby socks. And her jewelry. It's the height of dibble-dom. [These are the words on the page. I swear to God.] She makes most of it herself - ceramic-bead necklaces and big dangly earrings, but in shapes you wouldn't expect. For example, in my ears I am allowed to wear studs or very tiny gold hoops. Period. [oh, okay.] Claudia might wear a monkey in one ear and a banana in the other."
And then she might wear a condom in one ear and a dildo in the other. Because she's Claudia. You can't tie her down. You can't tell her what to do. And god knows you can't teach her how to spell.
Hey! Looks like I had it in me after all. Ahhh, nothing like taking stabs at borderline mentally-challenged fictional teenagers. Claud, I love ya baby. You know it's true.
"My friends and I were dressed in typical outfits. Typical, but not necessarily traditional. For instance, Stacey was wearing tight black pants that reached just above her ankles, and sported a column of four silvery buttons at the bottoms. (The buttons were just for show, I think.) Over the pants she was wearing a long (past her knees) blue jacket made of soft material. [How does Jessi know? Is La Martin trying to imply that Jessi is rubbing up on Stacey? I know the junior members idolize the thirteen year olds, but that's just creepy.] Under that she was wearing a sleeveless blouse. Now that was unusual. [And by unusual, she means stupid. Keep trying, McGill.]
Claud was wearing a fake leopard-skin vest, a fairly tame blouse, and blue leggings. She had made her jewelry herself - five papier-mache [always with the papier-mache] bracelets that were painted in soft desert colors.
Mary Anne and Dawn had traded outfits, which they do pretty often. That's one nice thing about having a stepsister who's your best friend and also about your size. They were both dressed colorfully, and trendily, but not as wildly as Claud and Stace. [I love how Jessi kind of glosses over M.A. and Dawn . . . La Martin must have run out of steam after dreaming up the soft jacket and blue leggings. "They're colorful and trendy, okay? California Casual! Moving on!"]
Then there was Kristy in her jeans and turtleneck [dammit Kristy]. And finally Mal and me, also in jeans, but wearing (if I do say so myself) pretty fresh [fresh = cool, for those of you who've forgotten that the baby-sitters have not discovered drugs and alcohol yet and thus have to entertain themselves by making up annoying slang] sweat shirts. And Mal had been allowed to buy high-top sneakers with beaded designs on the sides!"
Goody for Mal. I think we'll all sleep better tonight knowing that her high-tops are beaded. One small victory for fashion-challenged eleven year olds everywhere.
"'. . . I must say, though, that it's hard to believe you are sisters.'
Well, thanks a lot. I've heard that plenty of times, but it never gets any easier. Most people say it when they find out what a dud I am in school. (I can barely spell. [sigh]) I think this teacher meant, though, that Janine and I don't look alike. We certainly don't dress alike. For instance, that day, Janine was wearing one of her usual plain outfits - a long pleated plaid skirt, a white shirt with a round collar, stockings, and blue heels. Her hair is short and cut in a pageboy, so she can't do much with it. I, on the other hand, was dressed in one of my usual wild outfits - a very short black skirt, an oversized white shirt with bright pink and turquoise poodles on it, flat turquoise shoes with ankle straps, and a ton of jewelry, including dangly poodle earrings. My long hair was swept to one side in a high ponytail held in place with a huge pink barrette." I'm pretty surprised that the barrette didn't have a poodle on it.
You gotta love when La Martin uses the crutch of comparing wardrobes to illustrate how different they are.
"If I were handed a check for $250, I'd run to Bellair's Department Store and buy this really neat Day-Glo green sweater with charms knitted into it that I'd seen on sale. [Classic Claudia. I love it.] Then I'd go to the art store and buy some new oil paints, a good supply of brushes, and this great silk-screening set I've had my eye on. After that, if any money was left over, I'd hit the candy store in a bad way. Mmm - Baby Ruth bars, Three Musketeers bars, M & Ms (plain and peanut), Reese's Peanut Butter Cups . . . Oh, the possibilities were mind-boggling." And delicious.
And, to cap it all off, some bsc style for you all to enjoy - particularly Stacey's 'funky New York sweatshirt'.
"I glanced around my bedroom. Every single one of us had leaned forward. On the floor, Jessi in her jeans and ballet leotard, and Mal in a new sweater dress, were leaning forward. On the bed, Stacey in a funky New York sweat shirt, Mary Anne in one of Dawn's baggy t-shirts, and I in a Day-Glo-striped top and skintight knit pants, were leaning forward. And on the desk chair, Dawn, wearing an outfit of Mary Anne's, had cocked her head toward Kristy."
(In the previous entry, so@24 asked when Logan Bruno is going to get some love. The sad truth is: not until he starts wearing oversized sweatshirts and sandals that lace up to his knees.)
"And her clothes! Nobody dresses like Claudia. She is totally cool. She wears funky stuff like pink sparkly high-topped sneakers, or short flared skirts over skintight leggings, or wild jewelry she's made herself. She's good at pottery and is always creating earrings (she has one hole in one ear and two in the other) or beaded necklaces or bracelets."
Leggings. No comment. But seriously, if she (or Ghostwriter) had strung those items together, it'd kinda be an outfit. A ridiculous one, but I think we've established that's pretty much par for the course at this point.
Later, at a meeting, they start talking about what they're going to wear to some dance. These girls LOVE going to dances.
"'I'm wearing my pink dress,' said Claudia. 'The short one. And my earrings look like globes. Oh, and a necklace I made from candy.'
'You had candy in your room and you didn't eat it?' I said."
In this book, Mallory spends most of her time complaining about how dorky she is (not without good reason, I'm sure you all remember) . . . which, naturally, includes much discussion of how bomb Claud is. This entry features some serious BSC style, so be prepared!
"Now, let me get back to Claudia Kishi. She's the one who already has pierced ears, remember? Claud is the vice-president of the Babysitters Club and probably the trendiest, coolest kid in all of Stoneybrook Middle School. She's into art and makes some of her own clothes and jewelry - wild things, like socks on which she paints palm trees and coconuts; or gigantic, bright papier-mache pins and bracelets. Whether she makes her clothes or buys them, they are totally cool, and you can count on Claudia to add her own personal touches. "
Mallory is also dying to have her ears pierced, so part of her hero-worshipping includes checking out Claud's ears. "Hanging from them were little pairs of red sneakers. Cool!" She mentions that Dawn is also wearing earrings - clip-on turquoise triangles. "They were cool, too, I guess," she adds doubtfully.
"Claudia was lying on her bed with one leg propped up on a pillow. She'd broken that leg a few months earlier and every now and then, especially if rain was on the way, her leg would give her some trouble. [Betsy's legacy.] She looked absolutely great, though, pillow or no pillow. Her long hair was fixed in about a million braids which were pulled back and held in place behind her head with a column of puffy ponytail holders. She was wearing a t-shirt she'd painted herself, tight blue pants that ended just past her knees, push-down socks, and no shoes. From her ears dangled small baskets of fruit. She'd made those, I knew. She'd found the baskets and the fruits at a store that sells miniatures and dollhouse furniture. Claudia amazes me."
For whatever reason, in this book Dawn and Mary Anne are little fashion plates as well. But they are salad fashion plates - inferior to Claudia, who is both our dinner plate AND desert bowl of fashion. Mary Anne "was wearing a short plum-colored skirt over a plum-and-white-striped body suit. The legs of the body suit stopped just above her ankles, and she'd tucked the bottoms into her socks. I don't know where her shoes were. She'd taken them off. The neat thing about her outfit was that she was wearing white suspenders with her skirt. I immediately decided to use some of my hard-earned Arnold money to buy suspenders. And maybe a pair of push-down socks like Claud's. Or, if I became rich, to copy Dawn Schafer's entire outfit.
Dawn was wearing this cool oversized (really oversized) blue shirt. One of the coolest things about it was that it was green inside, so that when she turned the collar down and rolled the sleeves up, you could see these nice touches of green at her neck and wrists. She was wearing a green skirt - and clogs. I'd never seen a person actually wearing clogs, just photos of people in Sweden. Dawn was the only kid in school who could get away with wearing them. She is so self-possessed."
Deere Dairy: Why is Don so self-posessed? And why wo'nt she shut up about my twinkies? Luv, Claudia.
"Claud, Dawn, Jessi, and I began opening our presents. We opened the ones from Kristy and Mary Anne first.
'These are the things we kept buying at the mall that day,' Kristy informed us. Her eyes were shining. [Creepy!]
Well, you've never heard such squealing. The earring had been chosen very carefully, and we were all thrilled. Dawn has been given two pairs, studs in the shape of California (her home state [O RLY?]) and others that were gold loops with oranges hanging from them. California oranges, I guess. Claud's earrings looked like artists' palettes, Jessi's were ballet shoes, and mine were horses, since I like to read about them.
'Thank you, thank you!' we kept saying.
Then we opened Claud's earrings. 'I made them myself,' she announced.
Even if she hadn't said so, we all would have known. And we began laughing nonstop. Claud had collected little charms and strung together these wild bunches of minature Coke cans, eyeglasses, forks, animals, you name it, and added feathers and beads."
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Valuable Lesson was about being yourself. Or standing up to your parents. Or getting your ears pierced, maybe. To be perfectly honest, I was more than a little distracted by all the mall visits in this one, so I'm not sure I even have a Valuable Lesson to share with you. For all the Valuable Lessons Ann M. Martin was so keen on cramming in, I'm surprised there wasn't a book in which Claudia has to go the dentist and it turns out that her teeth are rotting right out of her head.
Boy, Betsy Sobak sure was a brat, wasn't she.
"She always wears the same kind of outfit - blue jeans, running shoes, a turtleneck, and a sweater. There's nothing wrong with that, but there are other things to wear. I mean, she could try a floppy bow in her hair or some interesting ponytail holders, or some big earrings. That's what I would do. But then, I'm not Kristy."
And thank the lord for that, Claud. Maybe my hatred of sneakers originates with Kristy Thomas. I sure wasn't put off by the turtleneck-sweater combo, because there is some horrific photographic evidence of me rocking that particular fashion statement. 'Nuff said.
"Also, I love to mess around with clothes and jewelry. I might as well just come out and say it [yes, please do] - I'm one of the coolest-looking kids in Stoneybrook Middle School. I know that sounds conceited, but everyone agrees it's true. [We never doubted you, Claud.] I wear wild clothes, such as baggy pants and sweaters, high top sneakers, and jewelry I make myself. For instance, at the film festival, I was wearing earrings made of wooden beads that I'd painted. My hair is long and jet-black, and I'm always experimenting with different ways to fix it or decorate it."
And onward to the plot, in which the aforementioned brat plays a lot of stupid tricks on her baby-sitters but is taught a Valuable Lesson by Kristy when the tables are turned and Betsy is embarrassed in front of school chums. Turns out nobody likes her, most likely because she's constantly giving them trick gum or something.
"When she got control of herself, she managed to gasp out, 'Gotcha! The fly is fake. It's in a fake ice cube! And I gave you a dribble glass!'
'Well, that's just great, Betsy,' I said. I knew that, as a baby-sitter, I wasn't supposed to get sarcastic, but sheesh. 'Now I've got apple juice all over my white shirt.'
Betsy couldn't have known it, but the shirt was one I'd made myself. I'd taken a shirt of my dad's, painted it, and sewn sequins all over it. It had taken ages to do, and the shirt was very special to me."
This is the kind of thing I marveled at. The painted sequined shirt. Oh, Claudia! So innovative. So cutting edge.
The original . . . and still the best. (Notable runners-up include Babysitters' Island Adventure, Snowbound!, and Starring the Babysitters Club! I just won a bunch of Super Specials off of ebay and I am really looking forward to spending some serious time with them.)
"'It's - it's just like a hotel, isn't it?' I said brightly.
'A sort of minuscule hotel,' added Kristy.
'Yeah, I hope there's room for all my stuff,' said Claudia. Claudia had brought along more suitcases than anyone else on the trip. She dumped them on a bed, opened them, and began hanging things up in the closet.
'Leave some room for us!', I exclaimed."
. . . and so begins a longstanding tradition of Ann M. Martin gleefully describing just how much luggage Claudia brings on the BSC's crazy travel adventures. For a bunch of middle-class girls in Connecticut, they sure do get around a lot.
"Then the three of us got dressed quickly, but silently. Well, I got dressed quickly. This was because while I'd been lying in my bunk the night before I'd planned exactly what I was going to wear. I put on my new blue-and-white bikini and over that, a pink sundress with spaghetti straps at the shoulders and big blue buttons down the front. Then I accessorized. I tied a pink-and-blue scarf around my waist, knotting it in the middle, added my snake bracelet [YES!] and feather earrings, wound my hair up on top of my head, and finally put on these white sandals with long laces that you crisscross up your legs and tie in a bow. [DOUBLE YES!]"
I don't think I could possibly explain to you how enthusiastic I was about this outfit when I was younger. Oh, Claudia.
"'Never mind!' said Dawn. 'I'm awake.' She sat up quickly and hit her head on the springs of the top bunk. A pair of Claudia's shoes fell to the floor. Dawn frowned. 'This room is a dump,' she said.
'I don't think so,' I retorted. And just to make her madder than she already was, I got up (without hitting my head) and swept two more pairs of Claudia's shoes off the bunk."
So it turns out that Claudia has SO MUCH STUFF that they ended up devoting an entire bed to the overflow. And, as you can see, her poor shoe collection is forced to become ammunition in the continuing war of Neat (Dawn) versus Messy and Generally Antagonistic (Kristy).
"Claudia had helped me get dressed. [Apparently, California Casual is not good enough for a Magic Kingdom date.] She was in a great mood because her Secret Admirer had left her a stuffed animal at the door to our room during the night. Since she had brought along nearly every article of clothing that she owns, and I'd only brought along about one thirty-second of my wardrobe, I borrowed a few of her things. In fact, I borrowed the entire outfit. (We're just about the same size.) Parker would never know. I mean, he'd never know the outfit was borrowed, not that Claudia and I are the same size.
This is the outfit Claudia helped me to choose: a white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high-top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt, which we looped droopily twice around my middle. In my hair we put lavender-and-white clips that looked like birds. I thought they were just any kind of bird, but Claudia swore up and down that they were birds of paradise. Who knows? (I think she was making that up.)"
Don't doubt the master, Dawn.
#104: Abby's Twin
"She's very artistic and very original. The wild outfits she wears are her own creations. That day she had on multicolored, tie-dyed painter's overalls she'd dyed herself over a blue, hand-beaded, long-sleeved shirt. Five colorful, bead-studded papier-mache bracelets clattered softly on her wrist whenever she moved her arm."
A+, Claud. A+.
* didn't you think Sunny was going to end up a heroin addict turning tricks on the streets of Palo City? I sure did. And did Ducky ever figure out what exactly his sexual orientation was?
"Between Abby and Claudia, our BSC meetings sometimes become half-hour-long laff riots. Their senses of humor are different, though. Claudia's not really a comedian, like Abby. She just has the world's oddest way of looking at life. To her, the most ordinary thing is an object of art. For instance, at that Labor Day meeting she was wearing a bracelet of dyed, braided shoelaces, along with a blousy ruffled shirt that looked as if it once belonged to Captain Hook; mismatched high-top Converse sneakers; and baggy, pinstriped men's suit pants, gathered at the waist with a bungee cord. On me, something like that would look like a Halloween costume. On Claudia it looked way cool."
I know you think I might be making this one up, like maybe I felt I owed you something after some of the more recent lackluster fashion statements. (Too many vests, for one thing.) But I assure you that isn't so. These are the actual words on the page, right down to the spelling of the word laugh. Ann M. Martin apparently told the ghostwriters to kick it up a notch (. . perhaps she had been watching a lot of Emeril). "It's book 100!" she may have said. "Claudia Kishi! Bam!"
. . . On further thought, I actually think that may be the only possible explanation for this outfit.
"You'd be amazed by the colors that go together. Take pink and gold. You might not think to wear pink socks with gold stretch pants, and then add a gold turtleneck under a pink sweater. But that's what I did yesterday, and then I added blue jewelry. It was great! I looked like a human sunset. The outfit made me very happy."
Gold stretch pants, you say? Once again, 2007 hipsters have nothing on Claud. By the way, that outfit makes me very happy, too, despite the lack of shoe description. Perhaps when you're a 'human sunset' you don't even need shoes. I don't know.
"What good was it that I'd spent hours putting together an outfit if my mother was going to make me look like an infant before the lunch even started. (I'd settled on a long white shirt under a green tapestry vest, green corduroy pants, and low boots.)"
Okay, first of all, in sixth grade I HAD a green tapestry vest. It had cute little children in all sorts of charmingly ethnic ensembles (little Dutch girls in wooden shoes, Japanese girls in kimonos, etc.) on it. Thinking back, I kind of wish I still had that vest. Damn. Second of all - HOURS? Claudia spent hours on her outfit and wound up with that? Later she mentions 'dangly Native American beaded earrings,' which I suppose makes the ensemble a little more exciting. But still. Where are the lobster earrings and fedoras of the Claudia of yore, the Claudia who was receiving Phantom Phone Calls?
"You're not going to wear those, are you?" Kristy asked as I slipped into my new brown suede cloth pants.
"Why not?" I asked. I thought they were the best thing I owned.
"I don't know," said Kristy. "They just don't seem right for a first date."
I was not about to take fashion advice from Kristy, of all people. (Good point.) "I like them," I insisted, zipping them up.
"I don't believe you're telling her what to wear, Kristy," Mary Anne giggled.
"I know what you should wear. Those bead earrings," said Stacey.
"They didn't make a big impression on Brian," I reminded her.
"Well, this guy sounds different. And wear lots of silver jewelry. Your bangles would be perfect. And put your good silver hairclip in."
I trust Stacey's fashion sense, so I took her advice. I finished the outfit with a simple yellow button down shirt and a brown and yellow brocade vest. "Perfect!" Stacey announced. "All you need is a little lipstick and mascara."
By the time I was done, even Kristy admitted I looked nice.
God, looking to Kristy for fashion consultation is like hiring Claudia to tutor your child . . . which, I might add, the Brewers actually did when little adopted Emily Michelle wasn't developing at a normal rate. Fools. That child is never going to be able to spell.
#61: Jessi and the Awful Secret
Moving on, I do have some bad news: whoever wrote this particular tome was really phoning it in on Claud's outfit. Get this:
Claud finished the outfit with dangly ceramic-bead earrings she'd made herself in pottery class."
Not. even. trying. Where are the produce-shaped barrettes? The telephone cord bracelets? Plus, what was she wearing on her FEET, for god's sake? Yet another pair of ankle boots? Perhaps some sandals that criss-cross up her calves? Neon pink sneakers from her vast sneaker collection? I NEED TO KNOW! I can't believe Ann M. Martin signed off on this pathetic excuse for an outfit. I may have to delve into some Super Specials to make this up to you.
"And the way she dresses makes her look even more stunning.
At that meeting, for example, she was wearing these sharply creased, pastel-green, cuffed shorts; a wild Hawaiian shirt tied at her waist, with vibrant colors that perfectly picked up the green; and sandals with crisscrossing ankle straps to her knees. Her hair was swept to one side and held in place with a long, fake-flowered barrette that looked like a Hawaiian lei."
and, how to dress for success at the SMS Sports Festival:
"Sure enough, the kids who lined up were . . . well, definitely not jocks.
Take Claudia. She was wearing electric-pink track shorts with a turquoise racing stripe, a matching top with cut-off sleeves, brand-new high top track shoes with no socks, and floral-print suspenders! Her hair was pulled up on top of her head and held in place with a silver barrette in the shape of the Olympic symbol. If it had been an athletic-wear fashion show, she would have won."
(in which our Valuable Lesson is about not overextending yourself. I feel like I should have paid more attention to this book as a youngster.)
"Today, for instance, Claudia was wearing lime green bicycle pants, a long, long bright pink shirt, and a cropped lime green striped shirt over that. She was also wearing black hightop leather sneakers with pink butterfly barrettes clipped to the laces. She has two feather earrings in one ear (lime green, of course), and a tiny pink heart in the other. Claudia's gorgeous - she has perfect skin and she's Japanese-American, with dark eyes and shining black hair (today it was pulled up on top of her head and fell down on one side). But even so, not many gorgeous people could get away with some of the outfits Claudia pulls together. But that's how she always looks. Pulled together and gorgeous."
Well, I guess after Dawn's Big Date, Claud had to find a way to out-80's New Dawn. Notice that she ripped off Dawn's feather-earrings-in-the-same-ear style? Claudia is out for revenge. I can only picture her journal entries: 'deer diare: its bad enouf that Stacey steels my thunder. now that damm hippy Dawn is doing it two!'
"Claudia was dressed fairly conservatively: white jeans, red shoes with big bows, a tropical jungle shirt with each button shaped like a piece of fruit, and her hair pulled to one side with a banana barrette."
Totally Tropical Claud. Awesome.
"Claud's hair was down, but she was wearing a hat. On the green hat ribbon was pinned a 'Kristy+' button. Her tights were orange and her dress was tie-dyed every color you could think of. She was wearing her feather earrings, and she'd drawn a star on her face next to her right eye."
Sorry Dawn, it looks like Claudia's back on top. I guess your only solution is to just give up on this East Coast thing and move back to California.
Whew! Never in my life (and by life I mean 'since I started this blog') have I been so drenched in BSC fashion. The majority of it is pretty Dawn-centric, and this is supposed to be what Claudia wore, but I think Dawn's ventures away from "California Casual" will bring - quote-unquote - the lols. So sit back. Unearth a Twinkie from the secret stash under your bed. Enjoy the identity crisis of a fictional thirteen year old girl.
"Claudia wears super-trendy clothes, and she puts them together in ways that are uniquely Claudia. Today, for example, she was wearing maroon leggings and ballet slippers under an oversized yellow shirt. Around her waist she wore this great belt that she made herself from three thin strips of leather tied together and decorated with ceramic beads. For the final touch, Claudia had swept her hair over to one side and tied it up with another thin leather strip that had the same kind of beads on it. She looked great - and she was just hanging around her own house!"
"In the next few minutes, Stacey and Claudia arrived. Naturally, they both looked gorgeous. Claudia had tied her hair up in a high ponytail with this silver netting around it. She was wearing wide black pants and a top with a silver moon appliqued on the front.
Stacey wore a form-fitting purple dress and pink tights with black stripes. [Seriously, Stacey?] 'Wow! You guys really got decked out!' I said as they walked in. (I was dressed for comfort, in black leggings and a big blue top lined with fleece.)
'You have to get dressed up on New Year's Eve,' said Claudia. 'That's part of the fun.'
I shrugged. I guess everyone has their own idea of fun."
Yeah. For some of us, fun includes lecturing the readers on the virtues of healthy living every time we happen to be narrating. You're such a killjoy, Dawn.
"'Have you gone nuts?' Mary Anne gasped, when she saw what I was doing to my wardrobe. A bunch of clothes were laid out on my bed. I was completely revamping everything with the help of Mom's sewing kit and a pair of sharp scissors.
All my jeans needed to be taken in. (I ripped one more pair above the knee and left one pair unripped.) I made several off-the-shoulder tops. I even created a miniskirt out of a pair of gray sweat pants. I cut off the legs, opened the inside seams, and then patched up the gaps with some flowered material. (It was left over from a flowered t-shirt I'd cut up.)
'That's pretty cute,' said Mary Anne, holding up the sweat skirt. 'You should get Claudia to help you.'
'Nah,' I disagreed. 'Claud has her unique style. I want to create my own style.'"
WARNING: FASHION-RELATED BSC DRAMA AHEAD.
"Claudia's reaction took me by surprise. 'The look is all wrong for you,' she said. 'It's not who you are.' Can you imagine Claud - of all people - saying that? I just shrugged. (Cool kids shrug a lot.) But inside I was steaming. I guess Claudia thought it was okay for her and Stacey to be stylish and cute, but not me. No. I was just plain, wholesome Dawn, and I was supposed to stay that way.
I decided she might even be jealous. She might not want anyone looking more 'unique' than she herself did.
So, by the time of our Wednesday afternoon BSC meeting, I was pretty angry at Claudia. I slumped on her bed, chewing hard on a wad of pink bubble gum. (It was sugarless.)
'I've never seen you chew gum before,' Stacey observed.
'There's a first time for everything,' I replied."
Let's review what we've learned so far. 1. If it isn't oversized, it isn't fashion. 2. sweat skirts = height of fashion. 3. Cool kids shrug a lot. 4. Claudia can drive a person to gum-chewing with a few fashion critiques. GUM CHEWING, people.
"On Thursday afternoon I took all my baby-sitting money and went to Zingy's. It's this great store that sells very trendy clothes. I didn't even take Mary Anne with me. I wanted to go by myself.
The salesperson at Zingy's had short maroon hair and four holes pierced in each ear. [5. the more holes in your ear, the cooler you are.] At first I was very intimidated by her hair, but she turned out to be very nice. She helped me put together a great outfit, which was what I was wearing as we waited for Lewis.
Here's the outfit: black ballet slippers; black lace capri leggings; a short metallic silver skirt with all this crinoliny stuff underneath that made it poof out; a stretchy, tight, black-and-white-striped top with long sleeves. I'd bought six rubber bangle bracelets, and a new pair of feather earrings that reached down to my shoulder. (I wore both earrings in the two holes in my right ear. I put a pair of small black hoops in the two holes on the left.) This time I didn't set my hair; I piled it on top of my head, then made six braids."
. . . oh, okay. This outfit is beyond mockery.
and, finally, the pinnacle of New Dawn glory:
"Everyone looked at me. I'd spent Sunday tie-dying a pair of white tights and some of Richard's old t-shirts. Today I was wearing the dyed tights, my new sweat skirt, and one of the t-shirts belted over a leotard.
I'd spent the rest of the afternoon putting my hair in tiny braids all over my head. The I gelled the braids. This morning I'd unbraided my hair up to about chin-length. I left in the braids along my head. It looked cool. The top was in braids and the bottom was all crinkled and frizzy."
Of course, I think we all know that Dawn learns a valuable lesson about Being Herself and returns to her own style. But just think of it: wouldn't it be fantastic if the rest of the series featured Bad-Ass Totally 80s Dawn and her ever-expanding sweat skirt wardrobe? I hope you have enjoyed the first (and most likely last) installment of What Dawn Wore, which could be subtitled Or: What Was Dawn Smoking?
#49: Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street
"That afternoon, for instance, I was wearing a man's paisley vest I'd found at a yard sale, over a striped button-down shirt with tuxedo-stripe black Spandex stirrup pants, held up with pink-flecked black suspenders. My hair was pulled straight back with a paisley comb, and I was wearing electric-pink ankle boots. The boots really set off the formality of the rest of the outfit, sort of like the punchline of a joke. I think you can tell a lot about people from the way they dress. If you saw me, you might think: artistic, fun-loving, good sense of humor. At least I hope you'd think that."
Claudia considers black Spandex stirrup pants formal wear. Also, Claudia and Stacey both really, really, really love ankle boots. I'd just like to establish that here and now.
#47: Mallory on Strike
(Mallory - by the way - follows up this Paragraph of Praise with "Claudia may be cool, but she's a pretty lousy student.' Burn, Mallory Pike. Burn.)
Later on, while Jessi is baby-sitting for Claire and Margo Pike (you remember them, don't you, silly-billy-goo-goo?), the girls are playing with some vintage dresses from their dress-up trunk, and Margo finds a blue chiffon dress that "looked like a prom dress from the nineteen fifties. Jessi [thinks] for half a second that Claud might really like it, too. Claudia is very into fifties styles." Rad!
#45: Kristy and the Baby Parade
Claud, as usual, was wearing some pretty wild earrings that day. And, of course, they were coordinated with her outfit. Here's what she was wearing (I saw her later that day at our meeting): an oversized redblouse with black buttons, green leggings with white, tie-dyed streaks, and black high-top sneakers with all kinds of buckles and straps on them. (The laces were untied, which I guess is the cool way to wear them. I'd be tripping over them all day, but Claud can pull it off.)
Can you guess what her earrings were? Dangling watermelon slices. Get it? She was dressed like a watermelon, head to toe. And, of course, Jamie loves the effect."
Mystery #6: The Mystery at Claudia's House
"Janine sometimes teases me and tells me I'm 'shallow' because I'm interested in hairstyles and cool clothes. I'll admit that I love to wear trendy stuff - in fact, sometimes I'm the one to invent trends in my school. And I do love to try all kinds of wild things with my hair, which is long and black and straight. I even love to experiment with makeup. I like to try accentuating certain features. But I don't think that makes me shallow. These things are part of my artistic nature. I see my body as a blank canvas, and I can put anything I want onto that canvas, depending on my mood. Does that make any sense?
I was thinking this over, and checking that day's outfit (lace leggings, purple tie-dyed T-shirt dress, and purple high-tops) in the mirror, when I was snapped back to reality by Charlotte who was tugging on my sleeve."
I like that Claudia is so distracted by her own fashion greatness that she's ignoring the kid she's sitting for.
"Sometimes I wish I were the kind of person who thinks ahead about what I'm going to wear to school each day. Like Mary Anne. I happen to know that she lays out a whole outfit - from headband to shoes - each before she goes to sleep. She is so organized.
But sometimes I'm glad I'm a disorganized slob at heart. I think the outfits I put together spontaneously are much more creative and fun than they would be if I planned each detail ahead of time. For instance, as soon as I looked in my closet that morning, I knew I wanted to wear this pair of black-and-white-checked stretch pants I just bought. I grabbed them and pulled them on. Next I started to look around for my red belt, since it would look perfect with the black and white. 'I know it's here somewhere,' I muttered as I poked around in my closet. Then I remembered: I'd been using the belt to hold my portfolio shut. The portfolio clasp was broken, but the belt held it together just fine. I found the portfolio under the bed and unbuckled the belt. I reminded myself to ask Mom for something to take the belt's place.
Next I needed a blouse. I figured a black one or a white one would look fine, so I knew I'd have no problem finding something. But I was wrong. Believe it or not, every one of my black blouse and every one of my white blouses was in the dirty laundry. Or crumpled at the bottom of my closet, which was basically the same thing.
I shrugged. Okay, I thought, no problem. I remembered that fashion magazines always say to be bold and mix your patterns. That's what I'd do! I checked the closet again and found a black shirt with white polka dots. I held it up and looked in the mirror. The dots next to the checks made me a little dizzy, but I decided that the total effect was just what I had been looking for. I pulled on my red ankle boots, put my hair into a ponytail on the side of my head (fastened with a black-and-white barrette), stuck on my favorite red heart-shaped earrings, and I was ready to go. All in under a half an hour. That's how I get dressed almost every morning. I'm sure watching me do that would drive someone like Mary Anne nuts, but personally I think it's a lot of fun. It's always a challenge to come up with a super-cool outfit on the spur of the moment."
Notice the extraneous belt (since she's wearing stretch pants) . . . once again, Claudia knows about 2007 hip-kid fashion. She just feels it in her 'creative' spelling, candy eating, disorganized slob heart. I want candy.
#40: Claudia and the Middle School Mystery
"Anyway, I love to dress in a way that some people here in Stoneybrook might call outrageous. For example, here's what I was thinking of wearing the next day: Since I had the big test, I thought I'd start with my lucky earrings - the ones that look like Princess Di's. They're huge (pretend) emeralds, surrounded by thousands of tiny (phony) diamonds. Then I thought I'd work downward from there, wearing my new green-and-blue-tie-dyed T-shirt dress (the casualness of the dress would be an interesting contrast to those fancy earrings) over green leggings.
The only thing I hadn't figured out was the shoes should I go with my old ballet flats, or the black leather high-tops I'd just gotten? I was having a hard time deciding."
"'Think back,' said Janine. 'Try to remember the day of the test. Can you picture her looking at your paper?'
I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remember a thing about that day. (Except for what I wore. I can always remember what I was wearing on a given day. I had decided on the ballet flats, in case you were wondering.)"
"I woke up early and lay in bed thinking about what to wear to school. What outfit could I wear to best express my new attitude? I decided that somebody who felt the way I did (or at least the way I wanted to feel) would dress pretty wildly.
I decided to do a Ms. Frizzle.
Do you know who Ms. Frizzle is? She's a character in this great kids' series - the Magic School Bus books. Ms. Frizzle is a wacky teacher who takes her class on amazing class trips - like, would you believe, inside the human body!
Anyway, you must be wondering what this has to do with what I was going to wear. Well, here's the thing. Ms. Frizzle is the wildest dresser I have ever seen! She always wears these coordinated outfits. In Inside the Human Body, she wears a dress with eyes and ears and noses all over it. And her shoes have - you guess it - tongues! In another book, she wears a dress with a caterpillar design - and on her shoes are butterflies instead of bows.
I love the way Ms. Frizzle dresses.
I decided that my theme for the day would be The Sea. I put on a blue skirt with brightly colored tropical fish printed all over it. Then I put on a green blouse. I figured that could represent seaweed or something. I pulled my hair into a ponytail, over to one side, and I pined it with a sand-dollar barrette I made last summer.
'Claudia!' my mom called up the stairs. 'You're going to be late!'
I ran to my closet and pulled out a pair of shoes. They're the plastic kind called 'jellies' that I had decorated with stickers of seahorses and shells. I looked at myself in the mirror as I slid the shoes on. Was it too much? I shook my head. I looked great. I looked like someone who didn't care about what grade she got on a dumb old math test."
#30: Mary Anne and the Great Romance
Then there's her hair. Claud's hair is something else. Her family is Japanese-American, and Claud has this shiny, black hair. But her hair isn't just shiny and dark, it's long. And Claud can find a million ways to wear it. At that last meeting, she had divided it into five braids and had woven pink and yellow ribbons into the braids."
#28: Welcome Back, Stacey!
#26: Claudia and the Sad Goodbye
#25: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger
"It's her clothes that amaze me, though. (I think they amaze everyone.) Claud mixes and matches the weirdest stuff and comes up with the coolest outfits. Like a loose blouse with a fake coat of arms on it worn over a very short black skirt. Around her waist, a scarf. On her feet, short black boots. Dangling from her ears, dinosaurs. And her hair might be piled on top of her head and held in place with hairpins that look like seahorses. She combines all this stuff - and she looks fantastic."
#22: Jessi Ramsey, Pet Sitter
"Claudia was wearing another of her great outfits. This one consisted of an oversized, short-sleeved cotton shirt with gigantic leaves printed all over it, green leggings - the same green as the leaves on her shirt - bright yellow push-down socks, her purple high-tops, and in her hair a headband with a gigantic purple bow attached to one side.
Claud is so, so cool . . . especially compared to me. I was also wearing an oversized shirt - a white sweat shirt with ballet shoes on the front - but with it I was just wearing jeans and regular socks and regular sneakers."
"Nobody, but nobody, dresses like Claudia. At least, nobody in our grade. (We used to have a friend, another member of the Baby-sitters Club, named Stacey McGill, who dressed kind of like Claudia. But Stacey moved back to New York, where she used to live. And anyway, trust me, Claudia is unique.) The best way to get this point across is to describe to you what Claudia was wearing at lunch that day. It was her vegetable blouse: an oversized white shirt with a green vegetable print all over it - cabbages and squashes and turnips and stuff. Under the blouse was a very short jean skirt, white stockings, green anklets over the stockings, and lavender sneakers, the kind boys usually wear, with a lot of rubber and big laces and the name of the manufacturer in huge letters on the sides. Wait, I'm not done. Claudia had pulled the hair on one side of her head back with a yellow clip that looked like a poodle. The hair on the other side of her head was hanging in her face. Attached to the one ear you could see was a plastic earring about the size of a jar lid.
#10: Logan Likes Mary Anne!
Claudia as personal shopper:
"In the junior department I tried on a green sweater dress that made me look like a mermaid, and a yellow sweater dress that made me look as big as a house. Then Claudia handed me a full white skirt with the words Paris, Rome, and London, and sketchy pink and blue pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge, and other stuff scrawled all over it. She matched it up with a pink shirt and a baggy pink sweater. I would never, ever have tried on that skirt, but with the shirt and sweater it looked really cool.
In the shoe department we found white slip-ons with pink and blue edging that matched the pink and blue in the skirt. I'd never have looked twice at those shoes, either, but with the rest of the outfit they were perfect."
BSC style at the Remember September dance:
"I joined my friends and we walked to the gym in a noisy bunch. We were all smoothing our hair and picking lint from our clothes and fussing with our jewelry. I thought we made a pretty good-looking group. Claudia was wearing short, tight-fitting black pants and a big white shirt that said BE-BOP all over it in between pictures of rock and roll dancers. She had fixed a floppy blue bow in her hair. Stacey was wearing a white t-shirt under a hot pink jumpsuit. Dawn and Kristy looked more casual. Dawn was wearing a green and white oversized sweater and stretchy green pants. Kristy was wearing a white turtleneck shirt under a pink sweater with jeans. We just couldn't seem to get her out of blue jeans."
Jesus, Mary Anne, a good pair of jeans can be the starting point for many a fabulous outfit. Who died and made you queen of BSC fashion?
The exotification of Asian femininity,
The complicity of white allies in the racism of their peers,
Stereotypes of butch lesbians,
The emasculization of Southern boys in the North,
The internalization of images of disability,
& the disgusting way Alan Gray eats a sandwich!
That’s right, Dog-eared Books on Valencia & 20th, the haven of hip, is having a Baby-Sitter’s Club reading group (for grown-ups) to celebrate the recently released graphic novels and to appease their dorky kids’ book specialist!
Did your adolescent love of the adventures of Claudia, Mallory, Kristy, Logan, Stacey, et al, fill you with embarrassment? Well, as you can see from the list above, they shouldn’t have. There are plenty of sophisticated topics deceptively hidden in these slim volumes. (Why do you think they were published by a company called “Scholastic?”)
Join us on May 1, the first Tuesday in May, at 8 pm, where we will discuss The Truth About Stacey, and we will discover EXACTLY what this truth is, through friendly discussion coupled with beer and snacks (Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, and of course carrot sticks for those of us who are either diabetic or from California).
Starting a Babysitters Club Reading Group is hard work, but cubbie’s going to do it! For more information, call (415) 282-1901 and reach nine experienced booksellers! "
now that is what I'm talking about.