Throughout the decades, teenagers have attempted to prove their coolness by wearing questionable accessories, hairstyles and items of clothing. Hindsight Fashion is a section about those trends that, in Hindsight, we probably wish we hadn’t worn.
This week’s Hindsight Fashion is the Novelty Wallet Chain.
The Novelty Wallet Chain gained popularity alongside Phat Pants in the late 1990’s. It differed from the Legitimate Wallet Chain in that it didn’t actually protect one’s wallet from being stolen, but was instead used merely as a decorative accessory. Sometimes, the chain was not connected to a wallet at all, and was just pinned to the pants. If the Novelty Wallet Chain did actually connect to one’s wallet, and someone did decide to steal said wallet, the wearer probably wouldn’t notice anyway because the chain was so long that by the time the thief walked far enough away to tug on the chain, they might already have fled several miles.
Novelty Wallet Chains used various nonsensical materials such as baby blocks, wooden beads and craft pom poms strung together to create the chain. Generally speaking, a Novelty Wallet Chain Draped down to at or below the knee.
I personally had an impressive collection of Novelty Wallet Chains. The one pictured above was made from plastic chain which I purchased at a Home Hardware Store. At the time, I had an enormous crush on a teenaged boy who worked at the store, aptly nicknamed “Hardware Boy”. This gave me ample reason to return frequently to this hardware store to purchase more Novelty Wallet Chain materials. I also seem to remember wearing a Novelty Wallet Chain made of tinsel to a ska concert around Christmas time.
As Phat Pants began to lose their street cred, so did the Novelty Wallet Chain. Only the volume of a 60 inch pant leg could support the girth of a gigantic string of plastic bobbles hanging off the hip. Indeed, in researching this post, I have found it is now nearly impossible to even find photo examples of the Novelty Wallet Chain. It is like the extinct fashion equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. Those who remember seeing one are saddled with the burden of proving its existence to future generations.
These days, I keep my wallet in my diaper bag. But on my busiest days, when I’m digging into the depths of the bag in the line-up at the grocery store, searching through a sea of errant Cheerios and baby accessories, I long for the days when I could just grab my gigantic string of plastic whatever, tug, and tug, and tug, and eventually reach the spot where I kept my wallet, every time.