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Do tell: What was the first thing you ever HAD to have?


I’m going with Calvin Klein jeans, but Candie’s were a very close second.

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Posted on June 9th, 2013 73 Comments

73 Responses

  1. Cindy White says:

    You are so right – it was Calvin Klein Jeans!

  2. Katrina says:

    Dr. Scholl’s sandals one summer, and by God only yellow would do.

  3. Tracy says:

    Whoa! Clicking over to Camay von Furstenburg’s blog was a trip down memory lane. Back in the day, I was just as much of a fuddy-duddy as I am now, so I didn’t really go in for most of what she describes. But it sure was a hoot to look it over again.

  4. Selina says:

    This is embarressing, but a T-shirt with an enormous LEVI’S logo. It was about 1988, in fairness.
    Myself & my cousin almost had a stand up fight in the store when we realised there was only one left (I won, yayyyy!)

  5. Debra says:

    rainbow toe socks (to wear with my clogs)

  6. Marinane says:

    White nikes with a blue swish!!

  7. Leslie says:

    I desperately wanted a pair of Guess jeans, but my mom (wisely, in retrospect) refused to spend that much money on pants for a 13 year old. So, I bought a pair of red Guess socks, picked off the infamous question mark label, and sewed it on the back of a pair of jeans from K-Mart. I’m sure absolutely no one caught on to my subtle deception.

    • daphne says:

      Yes! The ones with the zippers at the ankle. I found a pair at TJ Maxx and nearly wept for joy (circa 1987).

      • frances says:

        I inherited a pair from a cousin and thought that I was fabulous.
        I also really coveted a pot of kiwi lip balm from the Body Shop and a Banana Republic logo shirt, neither of which were available in Madison at the time – owning those things signified you went shopping in Chicago.
        In high school it was a J Crew Barn jacket in pear – which I acquired and wore with my friends, who also had J Crew Barn jackets in a variety of hues. Sometimes we traded, but I always thought my pear one was the best.

        • Elise says:

          @frances – Madison…Wisconsin? Shout out to a fellow Madisonian! I desperately wanted Doc Martens and J Crew in high school, but had to settle for Payless “Mock-Docs” and crap from the mall.
          What did we do before Target, Old Navy, and even Gap? I guess fashion has become more democratized.

        • Rae says:

          Frances, I had forgotten all about those pots of lip balm from the Body Shop, which I used while wearing my guess jeans and my J Crew barn jacket (in stone) and likely a J Crew rugby — oversized of course. And Tretorn tennis shoes.

  8. Caroline says:

    Sassoon jeans so tight I had to lie down to zip. My mom nixed the candies…..

  9. Amy says:

    As a kid, Guess Acid-wash denim skirt
    In my 20’s, Kate Spade New York Hand Bag

  10. Stephanie says:

    White Dr. Scholl’s. I understand now why my parents thought they were a bad combination with hardwood floors.

  11. Lyn says:

    Dr. Scholl’s sandals! Mine were navy & I thought I looked so sophisticated & grown up in them!

  12. Heather says:

    I’ll do you one better and say bell bottoms in the fourth grade. The Calvin’s and Candies came later….obviously I’m a bit older than you.

  13. Dana D says:

    Dr. Scholl’s…

    Waterskiing trip to Colorado River with a friend named Mona whose footwear I coveted…

    Got those Dr. Scholl’s after the holiday but I can’t remember the color…the year was 1977 or 78…

  14. Kay Erikson says:

    Chemin de fer jeans!
    Can’t remember if they were the sailor or “butterfly” style
    (had a kind of split belt at the waist) Can’t believe we wore these in 6th grade? Gloria vanderbelts followed and then guess ( I felt so lucky to own the same four pocket pair I saw in “w”

  15. Beth says:

    I wanted a Lacoste windbreaker so bad I could taste it. Then Jordache jeans. Then a J Crew barn jacket. My mother refused.

    Like Amy above, in my twenties I wanted that Kate Spade bag desperately. The black boxy one, what was it called?

    I found one for fifty bucks at Tokyo whatitsitcalled on e. 7th street. Felt like the luckiest girl alive.

  16. A fashiony thing? Lip Lickers lip balm in the slide-top tins. I think I had grape first, when I was 5 or 6. I *had* to have one, and then more. Mint, cotton candy, strawberry…

  17. Joyce says:

    A Laura Ashley dress and a Jansport purse. I was not the edgiest of preteens.

  18. Teresa says:

    Earth Shoes and a scooter skirt.

  19. Lynn in Tucson says:

    Ditto jeans! (Or maybe it was Chemin de Fer….) And Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.

  20. Dianne says:

    Frye boots” Campus”. The orangey brownish ones, not the tan yellow ones.

    I was 12, in 7 th grade. Grandma got them for me as a holiday present.

    Keep them til college, when he couldn’t be resolved or re heeled any more.

  21. Jordache jeans (the ones with the acid green horse on the back pocket), which my mom said were TOO EXPENSIVE, so I ended up with Calvin Klein’s instead. Wah Waaaahhhh…

  22. Kiki says:

    Without a doubt, it was Candies!

  23. Margie says:

    Saved my own money in 1975 to buy Faded Glory jeans and White bottomed platforms ( they were it!) sold hundred of pairs of Candies circa 1977-78 working in a local boutique. Every girl was happy to own a pair…painful plastic:)

  24. Stakra says:

    White Nikes, lavender swish!

  25. lizzie says:

    when i wasn’t panicking about the russians getting the “bomb”, and pollution, (that indian with the tear on his cheek, in that commercial-oh my!), i was also obsessing about the vietnam war, and i had to have as many p.o.w. bracelets as possible. i was a neurotic kid, apparently! i also really wanted a alligator shirt, a fancy ski jacket with lots of lift tickets on the zipper, and a st. christopher medal, preferably in light blue. loved my lipsmackers, and am still obsessed at 50. also thinking about the “love” perfumes, i loved the “rain” scent. great topic!

    • lori says:

      Lol!! Love’s Baby Soft, and Lemon too!! I actually found some around the holidays at WalMart ( :/ ) but I was so disappointed; it basically just smelled like rubbing alcohol!
      As for me: bell bottoms!! My Dad said no, but my “cool” Aunt took me shopping and bought me a pair, grey with tiny white pinstripes!!

  26. c.w. says:

    I hate to even admit this, I was desperate for a pair of white go-go boots. Fortunately, I was never allowed the boots or else I would still be living down the fashun shame.

  27. Sarah M says:

    Doc Martens! A girl at my high school had a pair of silver ones that she said she’d gotten in Italy and I totally coveted.

  28. blackbird says:

    Late to the party but only because I have just remembered it!
    Slip on shoes.
    Ballet slippers in black patent leather.
    Alas, my feet were too small. Always too small…right up until 5th grade when I wouldn’t be caught dead in anything so twee.

  29. kiki says:

    It’s all shoes for me!
    First, a pair of white, slightly above the ankle, go-go boots. I was in Kindgergarten and bought them from K-Mart. They didn’t last — fell apart after a walk home in the rain — but those boots made me feel awesome.
    And seeing the Dr. Scholl’s comments reminds me I wanted some so much when I was young I dreamt about owning a pair. I can still feel that hard wood sole!

  30. auntjone says:

    A pair of black hi-top Reeboks. I got a knock-off brand but wore the hell out of them just the same. Later on I again wanted a pair of Reeboks, but pink and purple this time. I distinctly remember pouting until I got them. Not one of my best moments, for sure.

  31. Gilli says:

    kork ease and dittos!

    • Martina says:

      Those were mine too, but we called the Korkease sandals “buffalo” sandals..I got knockoffs from Sears and died with blisters!

  32. lucy says:

    A Star Wars t-shirt (I was 11). Also, a plain old Levi’s jean jacket.

  33. Cindy Kamm says:

    It was probably Dittos followed by Kork-ease sandals.

  34. Rosemary says:

    Dr. Scholls, Navy. Bass Weejuns with the kiltie. Etienne Aigner framed leather purse. Deans cable and JPress Shaggy Dog sweaters.

  35. Turnsr says:

    1 Loves Baby Soft
    2 Big Lip Smackers with a neck cord – I remember picking out Candy Apple flavor.
    3 Dr Scholl’s – mine were blue denim!
    4 Calvin Klein jeans (size 25 waist-sigh)

  36. Beans says:

    Do you ladies remember those giant canvas tote bags with the enormous ESPRIT logo on the front? They came in lots of colors and I just *had* to have one for school. I think I even ended up with three of them in different colors. Funny enough, with how often I use reusable shopping bags in my everyday life now, I’d looooove to still have mine. Be right back; calling my mom to see if she knows if they’re still around somewhere.

    • Leslie says:

      Yes!! I remember these! I was allowed to get one because it was like $12. I blame all my current neck and shoulder issues on trying to carry textbooks in that thing during Jr high!

  37. mlinky says:

    There was a handpainted leather belt with a turquoise inlaid buckle. It was almost $100 in 1970. I got it, and I still have it.

  38. barchbo says:

    This post has caused me to reflect: I don’t remember not wanting things that I “had to have.”

    Lip Smackers. Luv-it jeans. Love’s Baby Soft.

    I think I most wanted giant, clunky shoes with a button on the side that you could press and wheels popped out the bottom and turned the shoes to roller skates. You could buy them at Joske’s. This was all circa 1979. I got the Nike sneaker style roller skates as a consolation.

  39. kim | says:

    Bell bottoms. *ANY* bell bottoms.

  40. Velma says:

    Oh, so many wonderful things:

    Love’s Fresh Lemon. Even at 12 years old I knew that Baby Soft was a cloying scent.

    Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers. Mmmmm, chocolate mint chip!

    Kork Ease platform sandals. The older girls at my catholic school looked so cool in the them; much better than my oxfords. The nuns put an end to that sartorial splendor quickly enough, along with practice of “mini-skirting” our uniforms.

  41. Purple overdyed Sasson jeans–whoohoo!!!

  42. Amy says:

    Platform shoes, like the sky-high buffalo sandals with rainbow-hued designs painted on the platforms that my fourth grade teacher wore. I had to settle for wood soled low platforms from Kinneys.

  43. AmyM says:

    The fat Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and denim gauchos. I received the Lip Smackers (Wild Cherry) as a Halloween present from my BFF at the time whose Mom was hipper than mine. And I saved my own money in a jar on top of my dresser to order the denim gauchos from the Penney’s catalog. This was around 4th grade.
    In high school it was Forenza sweaters and pretty much anything from The Limited.

  44. rebecca says:

    A picture is worth….my lasting embarrassment…

    I had to have HASH jeans. We were poor and they cost more than $20. My mom got them for me and I wore them every single day of 6th grade.

    Denim gauchos…sigh…

    • Beans says:

      Oh my gosh, the makeup in that photo! Everyone needs to click on the link you provided to see not only the world’s longest denim zipper! but a bit of vintage makeup with *zero* redeeming qualities. I’m not exaggerating when I type that’s the worst looking makeup I’ve seen . . . ever. The pencil-thin McDonald’s arch eyebrows! The tri-colored foundation! The . . . is that grease paint on her cheeks?

    • Viajera says:

      Awesome photo!!!

      I don’t remember ever seeing those overalls, but the mood? That I do remember.

      I like blue eyeshadow. I haven’t ever actually worn it though. (I think I like it because everyone else seems to hate it.) Otherwise, that makeup does look quite exaggerated.

  45. joannawnyc says:

    I was not allowed to have ANYTHING trendy by my mom, so I didn’t get anything I deeply desired until HS, when I finally had a job and could spend money. My BFF Emily and I used to trawl up and down the main shopping street in Westport, CT, buying silver jewelry, straight-leg cords, and platform sandals. It was the 70s, after all. I still wish I could find the platform huaraches I had back then!

  46. Tamara says:

    Carbers. Blue suede.

  47. Kathryn says:

    I was in high school, around 1970. Bass shoes had a line called Bass Tacks. They were advertised in Seventeen magazine and were red, flat, with a wing tip design and a very rounded toe. No one in town sold them. My uncle owned a shoe store that sold “grandma shoes” and he got the Bass Tacks for me from one of his wholesalers. When I wore them to school, they were a big hit and all my friends wanted them.

  48. edie says:

    Geezer alert. Tangee natural lipstick and an Etienne Aigner leather and linen frame purse.

  49. Rae says:

    I’m amazed no one else has mentioned this: Benetton! I HAD to have the Benetton rugby shirt that was white and cobalt blue and had a huge Benetton logo right across the chest. 1986 I think?

  50. yunah says:

    this is the best q kim – totally evocative.
    bonne bell lip smacker 7up flavor& jean nate after bath splash b/c i was at the drugstore a lot,
    faded glory jeans, carpenter pants, osh kosh overalls and HUK-A-POO rayon (i think?) shirts.

  51. Julie says:

    Lip smackers, of course, and a pink satin baseball jacket to wear to the roller rink.

  52. Jozelle says:

    Bell-bottomed, San Francisco Riding Gear jeans. They had to have a 1 1/2 inch cuff that was held in place with staples. A bonus if they were worn with Famalarie (sp?) sandals.

    • Julie says:

      Famolare shoes! I remember wearing them on the first day of 5th grade with my bell bottoms…felt so grown up in my “high” heels! 🙂

  53. Linda Boardman Kerr says:

    A Norma Kamali shirt with GIGANTIC shoulder pad, in the early 80’s.

  54. Kelly McK says:

    Vertical-stripe Dolphin shorts…and bright purple Gloria V’s. Nothing worked without the right bottoms!

  55. Jill says:

    In grade school, the Nikes that *everyone* had (mine were blue):

    then in high school, Guess jeans with ankle zips, pirate boots, and all sorts of other 1980s paraphernalia.

    Oh and MEMBERS ONLY jackets! Mine was yellow (and a knock off).

  56. shefferman says:

    Earth Shoes, then Topsiders (or was it the other way around?)

  57. Allison says:

    It was probably 1979. I had to have the preppy bermuda purse with wood handles. You could buy different cloth covers that buttoned on. My fave was kelly green with my initials embroidered in navy to match the piping (of course).

  58. IlanaJ says:

    Anything by Gitano Eva Joia but the holy grail in junior high was a pair of L.A Gear sneakers.