Imitation is the sincerest form of…embarrassing fashion faux pas!


This is a real conversation that took place in my house last weekend (well, it’s an approximate translation anyway):
(The scene is a typical Saturday morning suburban scene as I appear downstairs freshly showered and dressed in simple blue jeans and crisp white round-necked t-shirt, ready for an exciting morning in the local ‘home centre’)
Me: Are you nearly ready? I’ll just pop the pushchair in the boot.
Mrs Panther: Why have you rolled the sleeves of your t-shirt up like that, it’s disgusting.
Me: Erm…well…I thought it might look a bit like The Boss…
Mrs Panther: …(eyes widen, eyebrows involuntarily shoot upwards – incredulous expression)
Me: Y-you know, like on the cover of “Born in the USA”..?
Mrs Panther: … (incredulous turns to what-the fuck expression)
Me: No…?
Mrs Panther: (long sigh, rolling of eyes, shaking of head)
Me: So….I’ll…erm…just get the pushchair ready then, shall I?

I’m still convinced I looked pretty damn good!


I’ve imitated a lot over the years. When I was a Grungy teenager I bought some horrible old-man stripey blue and white pyjamas from Oxfam that had quite probably been died in and wore the bottoms under ripped jeans and the top as a kind of open shirt to complement the layers of t-shirts. I possibly looked ridiculous, but I thought I’d seen Kurt Cobain do the same thing in photos, so it had to be cool, right?

chris g

At the height of the Britpop madness I wore a snake belt for a whole year because the guitarist from Menswe@r had one (I always find it very useful to have exceedingly low standards of idol worship, that way you can’t be disappointed!).

So, the question is: what have you worn/done just because your favourite rock star/actor/whatever did it. Spill points for the most embarrassing, photos welcome!

36 thoughts on “Imitation is the sincerest form of…embarrassing fashion faux pas!

  1. Whenever I stumble across pictures of the teenage me wearing my leather pseudo-cowboy hat, I get an involuntary reddening of the cheeks. I can’t even remember now who it was I was aping back then.
    What makes it worse, it was a horrible luminous-tan colour; I didn’t even have the good sense to buy the more expensive black one, which would have at least matched my fringe-sleeved leather bike jacket.
    And THAT, by the way, was a ladies’ jacket, but I cut the sleeves off my over-sized denim, and wore that over the leather to disguise the fact.
    EESH! It’s a wonder I ever had girlfriends!!!

  2. I’ll have y’all know that grungy flannel was trailer park-chic long before it was Seattle grunge. I kept one favourite green and black flannel shirt from back in high school that I just can’t bear to part with. My wife occasionally sleeps in it on cold nights.

    I tried growing sideburns in the early 1990s. Not really a response to any one celeb, but I thought they looked “edgy” and rock star-ish. Could never get them trimmed straight and gave up on the idea after a few weeks.

  3. I had a dark blue corduroy jacket which I embroidered with a Barclay James Harvest butterfly across the back – not sure if it was a homage to BJH or to my friend from whom I nicked the idea. I had other embroideries on the jacket and my jeans but nothing band related. I did have a Steve Hillage rainbow hat which I knitted myself … I don’t know how to put pictures in comments but probably best left to the imagination.

  4. In 1978 I had all my hair cut off short and dyed it black so I could look like Siouxsie Sue.

    I wore skinny black PVC jeans and stripey teeshirts and I did totally over-the-top black and silver eye make-up too.

  5. I have one photobooth picture of the 15 year old me with hair down to my shoulders hoping to look a bit like Marc Bolan.
    I think there’s one or two other rather hippyish pics from around that time but I don’t have them. So you’ll have to imagine the combination of lime green loon pants and a knitted jumper with a picture of two Japanese ladies holding parasols on it.

    During the punk years I don’t think anyone took any photos of me.
    Probably just as well as I, at one stage, decided to wear an old school blazer decorated with the sort of studs that belong in a leather jacket. I thought this would be both original (posibly correct) and impressive (almost certainly wrong). I did also have one of those baggy, stripey mohair jumpers which I bought at Sex/Seditionaries which was a rather better look.

    Haven’t really tried to be part of any scene or look like any rock star since then.

  6. In the 80’s I came across this item in a secondhand clothes store in Santa Monica, it was a linen/canvas ‘jacket’. Short sleeves, more like an open shirt than a jacket, the key item that made it so attractive to me was that it was black with white Japanese text symbols down each lapel. I thought it looked fantastic on me, it became my everyday wear. That is ’til one day an attractive Asian girl stopped me to comment on it, I asked her if she understood the graphics, ‘Yes’ she said, ‘It says ‘I am the number one Honda salesman at So-and-so motors’. Totally ruined my day, I was hoping for something a bit more Samurai oriented.

    • Apparently it can’t be done (although I’m sure we used to) but if the photo is already uploaded onto another site that has a URL, then if you put the URL into the comment box, I (as the thread poster) should be able to edit your comment to add media like when doing a new post. Does that make sense?

      So, if you put the photo on Flickr or something and then put the URL in a comment, I’ll try to edit it in. Not sure if it will work or not, but it might be fun to try!

      I’m off to bed now though as have got to get up in 5 hours!

  7. Panth, i’m sure you looked awesome. I’m just moderately puzzled that you’re into channelling the Boss, didn’t know you were a big fan.

    Beaver Brown was our local band made good (even though they were a pack of twats) with Eddie and the Cruisers. They got called a low rent Springsteen, musically and imagewise. Some said that in fact Brucie actually copied John Cafferty’s clothes though – but i can’t seem to find the link to that right now. They were probably a better band than i like to give them credit for.

    As for me – can’t remember anyone offhand that i channelled, but i’m sure that i did. Fun fact – when i was younger i probably could have passed for Mick Jagger’s daughter or sister, lookswise. I maybe even could now. I’m sure my (former) fashion sense was more influenced by Keith though. If my memory was better, and i had more time, i could probably think of some specific examples.

    • now that i think about it, i distinctly remember wearing silk pirate shirts with jeans and heavy eyeliner a la Keith.

      And as SHA says, although we’re all in very different parts of the country, we all wore flannel shirts and ripped jeans and moth eaten sweaters well before Nirvana took it mainstream. Maybe till the grunge look got the Vogue spreads and treatment.

      • And boots, natch. Unfortunately never did get the skull ring and earrings. Also never got the thick headband and feathers in my hair, but that’s ok because i never wanted them anyway. Under any circumstances. Am currently looking at pirate shirts online, there’s a beauty on Etsy. Sadly i think i’m too old for the skulls now.

        I also definitely know i got wire rimmed granny glasses (perscription) in 5th grade because i wanted to look like John Lennon.

  8. There was a picture of Jim Morrison wearing a pair of blue and white striped “hipster” “pants” ( American usage) which I thought was ultra cool.
    Imagine my delight when I came across a similar pair of trousers in a shop in Guildford.
    Imagine my horror when I later realised that it was no longer 1968 and trousers had gone from slimline and sleek to billowing and, frankly, ludicrously wide, rather like the mainsails of a sailing vessel made out of pyjama material..
    I looked like a clown or a demented Andy Pandy look-a-like on day release from the asylum.
    One of many, many fashion faux pas.
    ( Don’t ask about the Afghan coat !)

  9. Hi Panthersan ! ! !

    What a great idea for a post – I really enjoyed reading it and all the replies are interesting and funny.

    I never copied anyones stye to an extreme like so many spillers appeared to, but I did once search three months to find a Patricia Field dress that I saw a picture of Namie Amuro wearing ! ! ! I found it eventually in a second hand store in Shitamachi for less than half the new price ! ! ! (But It was still the same price as two month rent )

  10. With a hero like Jerry Garcia, I’ve never been under any style pressure whatsoever but there is still in existence the band photo from the early seventies in which I seem to be a Steve Marriott (or maybe Sweet) aficionado: knitted tanktop, white flares, wide collar, platform boots, flowing hair. I believe it’s on Facebook somewhere……

  11. Hello Panthersan!! How have you been? Jeans and a white t-shirt is a classic look that can never go wrong. Next time say you’re trying to look like James Dean.

    When I was about 13 I had a pair of white cargo pants. Elastic waist, lots of pockets and zippers. I wasn’t imitating Sting, but I did imagine that one day I’d meet Sting on a train and he’d be very impressed by them.

    When I was 23 I bought a pair of rubber-soled canvas shoes so I’d look like an old blues guy. I still think they were pretty stylie.

    • Hey! Good to see you over here!

      Ah….yeah, James Dean would have been way cooler, but I have to be honest, I really was trying to look like Bruce!

      the “pants” sound great and I’m sure that any passing Englishman in New Yo…Jersey, would have been impressed enough to shake his mullet approvingly in your direction!

  12. Glasses carefully packaged fast delivery good quality is also very good, very cool to wear to a friend’s to say, it was a good value, praise! The future will come to buy! Glasses good, quality workmanship Tingting fine, like. a5a1 customer service is very patiently answered, like this one. Next time, the praise.
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