Led Zeppelin released its first album forty years ago in January of 1969.
I’m not sure the 15 year old wearing the Zeppelin tee-shirt in the taco shop quite appreciates the possibility that he was conceived because of the track “Dazed and Confused.”
He probably just thought it was a cool retro shirt — which then forced him to download Led Zeppelin IV (home of “Stairway to Heaven”) to substantiate the $40 price tag for that shirt at Urban Outfitters.
I think it’s kind of cool, actually. Cool to see bands that comprised the soundtrack of my teenage years influencing today’s acne demographic. 15 years from now when that kid is my boss, I’ll be trying to convince him how In Through the Out Door was Zeppelin’s best all around album.
The parallel would have been me wearing an Andrews Sisters tee-shirt when I was 15 in 1984. Instead, I was wearing a Led Zeppelin tee-shirt in 1984 trying to look cool against all the Van Halen fans wearing 1984 tee-shirts.
A couple days after spotting the taco eating Robert Plant fan, I saw another kid walking down the street in what can only be described as what you’d get if you threw a teen aged Asian into a blender with Joey Ramone and Howard Jones. By Howard Jones I mean this Howard Jones:
Not the guy that kind of looks like Sting now and plays your local amphitheater in the summer.
Under the shaved side faux hawk / mullet were the Square Pegs spectacles, denim jacket with hoody under it — all on top of a nasty pair of skinny black jeans that the Ramones helped make cool because Judy was in fact a Punk.
As I drove through trendy Walnut Creek past the Apple store, past Tiffany’s then of course past Urban Outfitters, I couldn’t help wonder if there is anything from my youth that hasn’t or won’t come back into vogue?
Two days of contemplation later, I give you the gym shorts over the sweat pants ensemble. Heidi Klum can’t make this look cool without going NC-17. I scoured my memory for all the things I saw in the 70s and 80s that haven’t resurfaced as a cool or fashionable thing to do or wear.
- Baggy jeans. Check and double check.
- Skinny jeans. Check. See above.
- 70s rock. My 15 year old niece likes AC/DC. Check.
- Bobby Brady haircut. See any playground in America. Check.
- My all time favorite tube sock has even made a renaissance. Thanks Nick Van Exel.
- Acid wash denim is thriving in certain parts of Americana. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Check.
It seems like everything has come back — except the gym shorts over sweat pants look. One would argue that the shift towards the show me your curves while you exercise movement would be the biggest nail in the coffin for shorts over sweats. While Dwight Howard is yoked and looks bad ass in a tank and women’s volleyball is made all the more interesting because of the attire, I rest my argument on a more practical matter called Monkey Butt.
It’s an uncomfortable condition caused by the sublime combination of friction, heat and sweat during exercise that is exacerbated by wearing layers and layers of clothing over ones nether region. The shorts over sweats wrap is simply too much cloth because it doesn’t preclude having to wear some kind of underwear or jock strap. So, until the Anti Monkey Butt product becomes the iPod for your bum, I’m willing to bet that we never see this Rocky Balboa meets Urkel at a track meet look again.
– Jose Mallabo