One of the pivotal moments in my teenage existence involved arriving at my first high school mufty day (i.e. plain clothes/non-uniform) in my mother's oversized red woolly jumper and black stirrup leggings. I think I was attempting to channel Christina Applegate in Don't Tell Mum The Babysitter's Dead or something, but I just looked like a 13-year-old version of my mum swimming in a sea of itchy wool. The other girls wore tencil jeans, Sportsgirl logo t-shirts or flannel shirts, Timberland boots and looked like a cross between Brooke Shields in those Calvin ads and Dolly cover model Alison Brahe, who was a big deal back then.
It was all very preppy, trendy and sporty. Needless to say, the experience was traumatising (as these things are for sensitive teen girls who've migrated from Brisbane, which was pretty bogan back then, to sophisticated old Sydney). I pleaded with my mother to take me to Sportsgirl, where nothing really fit (size 6 didn't register back then and I was underdeveloped in every way), but my teen identity crisis was saved. Sportsgirl made shopping super-easy with their mixy-matchy outfits and gave me the confidence to attend all future mufty days (until it got very uncool some time in the mid-90s, at least).
These days, with its revamped image, catwalk-to-store-floor trend imitations and reasonable price point, Sportsgirl still exists as a kind of service for the fashion-clueless, as well as fashion obsessed young things who invest the majority of their weekly income in the thrill of lunch-time shopping binges. Like Topshop, H&M, Miss Selfridge and, arguably, Zara (which is really more on par with Witchery), Sportsgirl is a one-stop-shop for the every girl. Sportsgirl stores now stock makeup, walls of accessories, books and gifts, in addition to skirts, tops, shorts, pants, dresses, handbags and shoes. You can't go wrong – as my sister noted after style-stalking two teen girls on Saturday night, it's easy for PYTs to get it right with the likes of Sportsgirl (and, of course, those brilliant teen magazines) as a guide.
On that note, Sportsgirl has its own magazine, which I hastily pick up anytime I'm in store just for the novelty of getting something in print (that's not a bill) for FREE. The latest edition is 'The Silverscreen Issue', which is printed on thick matte stock and smells like an old book store. It includes items from the Rewind collection, which harks back to the early 90s, a selection of gift ideas which includes Nylon's beauty reference guide, Pretty, a list of suggested 'must see movies' (Taxi Driver, The Ice Storm, Cinderella, Easy Rider, Pretty in Pink, Risky Business, Paris Texas...), makeup tips from Jodi Oliver (she made up Cate Blanchett for the cover of December Harper's Bazaar), and three summery shoots (two of which are celebrity/screen icon-themed) styled and shot on the Gold Coast (the same summer holiday haven I shall be departing for soon).
Check it online at sportsgirl.com.au. Ah, memories.
Girl With a Satchel