Not all uniforms fit. As a teen, I was a skate rat for a summer or two, a hardcore kid for awhile, and a prep whenever I got dressed up. Every clique I joined eventually became a passing phase, but at least I got to try on their uniform for awhile. Each had its signature items – shirts or shoes or jackets that marked you as in, and the fact that they were hard to get made them all the more alluring. The original grails (well, besides, like, Christ’s chalice).
Sometimes the hunt for the right item was half the fun. Back in the day, Doc Martens were hard to get ahold of – you had to wait until someone you knew went to England or you could mail order blindly from small UK outfitters, with no e-mail confirmation or tracking, just a box that would show up at your door one day seemingly out of the blue, marked with exotic postage. Or you could go to a couple of punk/ bondage-y stores in the city. Maybe even more daunting than waiting months for a pair.
Among the items I pined after for awhile was a pair of Adidas tearaway warmup pants. I can still feel the polyester. A couple of kids in my high school started wearing them and the rest of us searched the mall and sporting goods stores, to no avail. Vaguely European, in premium man-made, slightly shiny materials, and hell of rakish–you could rip them off at any moment! Look out, ladies.
Not that they meshed with my personal style at all, to the extent it existed. I was too short and not at all jock-y, when I finally found a pair while on an exchange program in Germany, they didn’t even fit right. That (and a black leather double rider jacket I tried out at 14 years old) were probably my greatest fail grails of all time.
As an adult, my batting average is better, but even though I feel like I know myself and my style pretty well now (it always seems that way, doesn’t it?), I still occasionally spend time and money tracking down a thing I’m certain will complete my wardrobe, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t actually work for me. What’re your greatest fail grails? Let us know here or on twitter.