In 1981 I was 12, and I was going into the 6th grade in my local middle school in Portland, OR (ignore the Milwaukie, OR label please…).

I had had a subscription to Young Miss magazine for quite a while – I remember in the beginning it was a small, Reader’s Digest, size publication – then spread out to full size and full color – and then changed the name to YM – which is around the time I stopped subscribing.  I really loved this magazine…but I loved this, August 1981, issue and the Sept 1981 issue the most.  I loved them so much that I kept them both – and still have them both.  The images within these pages were forever melted into the very fiber of my brain.  The coonskin cap, the woolen tights, the gold lame hair cord, the headbands, the flouncy skirts and dresses, and finally the girls from around the world.

I present to you, my fanatical readers, a smidgen of a moment in time.  It wasn’t really my moment, cause I never wore any of these clothes – but I wanted to so bad.  I wanted to be one of the jaunty, confident, crazy dressing girls on these pages.  I wanted to throw caution to the wind and mix match my patterns and my fabric weights like nobodies business.  But, alas, I was only 12.  Crazy dressing didn’t start for me for another year or so.  And by then I didn’t know how to incorporate any of these outfits into my wardrobe.  I don’t really know if anyone can.  Did anyone really dress like this in high school in 1981?  I’d like to see some pictures if you have any.  Seriously.

This may have to be broken up into multiple posts – there’s like 27 images.

We’ll start off with some retro, girly ads.  A Close-up “L.Q.” – which I think I failed.  I misspelled Shaun Cassidy’s name (who was apparently my boyfriend), had no idea what dazzles boys, and added some extra boxes and answers which pretty much nullified any calculated results.

Next up is everyone’s fondest remembered hair product name “Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific.”  I don’t know if anyone really remembers what it smelled like though.  I was actually given a second chance on this one.  My sister, who knew how much I loved this stuff in my youth, found some crazy supplier who had a box of the stuff from some warehouse somewhere or something.  I don’t really remember the story.  Anyway, she got me a bottle for my birthday about 7 years ago, and….it smelled NOTHING like I remembered!  I always remembered this fruit punchy kind of super sweet smell – but in reality it smelled more like a girly old spice.  Spicy and perfumy.  ECH!  I really preferred my made up memory of what it smelled like – and still search for fruity smells like the one I made up that “Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific” smells like.  Cause I’m still convinced that, even if it’s in an alternate universe, that it smelled fruity and super sweet.  Sweet!

Now, Love’s Baby Soft – I don’t remember exactly either – but you can still get this stuff, right?  I thought I saw it somewhere.   Anyway – this stuff, if my incredibly horrible smell-memory serves, smelled sweet but baby powdery.   And boy oh boy, the shape of that bottle!  

Next up we have the Young Miss back to school fashions.
These are all girls who look pretty much like girls looked at my school (in the small, before photos), but were given makeovers to make them look like crazy teenybopper rock stars or teeny bopper rock star’s girlfriends or something.  

I never knew anyone who wore a sweater skirt with knee highs, pink tennis shoes and a headband.  Ever.  

I always remembered, and loved, this gold string thing around the end of this chic’s braid.  I’ve actually done it a few times too.  

And I sooooo love this sweater, skirt, tights combo – the colors and the contrasting fabrics.  This is probably one of my favorite looks of all time – but I’ve always been a bit too hippy to pull off a bulky 
sweater and tights and a thin, wispy skirt.  Oh well.  

This chic is just kinda whatever.  Preppy or something not very interesting.  With too much makeup.  

And this chic!  She looks so much better in the before shot!  In the afters she looks like she wearing pajamas and a nightgown or something.  
 I’m so not a fan of the little-lord-fauntleroy pantaloons they put her in in this one shot.  I like the patterned pants, just not the ballooning bottoms.  Did they pump some air into those things or something?  Nice.  

I guess her photo shoot is just too “Wuthering Heights” for me.  Too romantic and sleepy-time-nighty-night-night for me.  
Ok – I guess I will break this up.  Stay tuned for part 2, and possible part 3 and 4 – with the Sept. 1981 issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!