Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kelly Kapowski 101

Like most kids my age, I was an avid afternoon TV watcher in the early 90s. The Afternoon Show hosted by James Valentine (and later Michael Tunn) introduced me and everyone else I knew to shows like Mysterious Cities of Gold and Degrassi Junior High. Although the ABC seriously had afternoon kids TV won hands down, some of the other free to air channels had a few winners, my favourites being the game show Double Dare and the California dream sitcom, Saved by the Bell.Saved by the Bell was no where near as awesome as Degrassi, but looking back, it was pretty awesome in the fashion stakes. Especially Kelly Kapowski.
Kelly (played by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) had all the right moves. Giant teased hair that everyone tried to emulate, acid wash denim, crop tops, scrunchies, that all American girl-next-door smile and a body built for sin. Plus Zack used to follow her around like a sick little puppy. She was the girl I loved to hate.

I recently read someone quite accurately describe Kelly as the Kate Moss of the Aaron Spelling TV dynasty (although squeaky clean Coca-Cola Kelly probably never quite reached the same 'heights' as Coccaine Kate). Kelly Kapowski was the IT girl that paved the way for the Brenda Walshs and Kelly Taylors (and eventually Thiessen herself made it onto 90210 herself anyway). What made Kelly Kapowski so damn special? Her sweet-as-apple-pie smile that hid that hid the mean girl underneath, juvenille charm and a banging wardrobe. Here's the 411, from my point of view:Without a doubt, Kelly's most defining feature has to be her teased and over-moussed hair. Well before straighteners and hair extensions became le mode du jour, teased hair reigned supreme. I vividly remember girls in year 7 trying as hard as they could to get their fringes into the biggest, highest wave-like formations - particularly on school photo day. I think Kelly Kapowski has a lot to answer for...
Acid wash denim (especially the kind with OTT accents and features like Bedazzler or tassles) was a staple of Kelly's signature California girl look. Jeans, skirts, jackets, shorts.

I remember a particular pair of baggy, high-waisted shorts I absolutely coverted around 1989. They had crazy folded over detail at the waist and huge folded up cuffs that ended about 3cm above the knee. They covered a lot of area by todays standard (I heard the denim short-shorts getting rocked on almost every chick at the Stereosonic festival last weekend could have doubled as lingerie).Kelly Kapowski had a banging body that all us girls envied. It's no wonder she rocked so many crop tops. And just like Kelly, I've worn my fair share of crop tops. Hard to believe considering these days I would prefer to eat glass than bare my midriff. But once upon a time, when I was young (and still had a boy-like, pre-pubescent body) I busted out my belly button all the time. A particular favourite of my was a royal blue crop t shirt I wore under my Cross Colours overalls. Did I just admit that?By about year 8, most girls in my year were rocking slouch socks with pretty much everything from tracksuit pants (over the top, of course) with sneakers to skirts and Rollers (remember those shoes? Eek). I remember wearing slouch socks for my year 8 school photo. I wore them with a pair of Reebok low cut sneaks and a big scrunchie in my hair. Hot shit. I think Kelly Kapowski's stylist got that idea from LA Gear.
I can't remember (or find evidence) if Kelly actually wore LA Gears on Saved by the Bell, but I'd like to imagine she did. She's the perfect LA Gear poster girl. Well, almost. She'd have been a better poster girl if she was blonde - but then, she wouldn't have been Kelly, would she? I always had LA Gear envy. All those lucky little shits at school who managed to get their greedy little paws on kicks they didn't really appreciate (bitter much?). I like to think Kelly was one of those little shits.
This story just wouldn't be complete without a mentioning Scrunchies. Saved by the Bell just wouldn't have been the same without them.

In all honestly, I remember Scrunchies as being less of a serious fashion statement and more of a necessity. That was, until I started doing physical culture and had to match my hair accessories with my leotards. Scrunchies were great for tying my hair back as a kid because unlike regular hair elastics, they're much less likely to rip your hair out at the root if your hair gets tangled around a Scrunchie.

Put this all together, along with a few extras like t shirt sleeves rolled up, floral dresses and high waisted shorts and you've got one hell of a look for summer 2010!

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