Growing up in Sydney's greater west before being transplanted to the North Shore, I copped a lot of grief from my new schoolyard peers , who seemed captivated by my regional Kath & Kim-style accent and distinct lack of boat shoes and upturned collared polo shirts in my weekend wardrobe.
Though it didn't really faze me at the time, I can't deny the pleasure I get when I look at the Facebook photos of my former tormentors and see that they've since taken to wearing clothes that look mighty similar to the garb I was once mercilessly ridiculed for. With items that were considered bogan back in the day reappearing as must-haves, it's possible to suggest that "westies" are ahead of the fashion pack by about 15 years.
With items considered bogan back in the day reappearing as must-haves, it's possible "westies" are ahead of the fashion pack by about 15 years.
And it's not just a phenomenon peculiar to Sydney, either. With outer suburban style more or less the same throughout all our major cities, let's take a look at the trends that took inner-city denizens the better part of a decade to pick up on.
Once favoured by rock stars and now worn by every second person on the street, the humble skinny jean was once considered a bogan staple. But, just like Adidas tracksuit bottoms before them, they made the leap into the mainstream.
Typically worn in fetching stonewash by my mullet-wearing brethren back in the day, that treatment is still favoured in 2012 but mainly by fashion-forward women when it comes to a high-waisted number, with guys largely into plain black denim.
Though Kurt Cobain ensured that high school-aged kids everywhere rushed out to buy them for a spell there, the humble flannelette shirt has its roots in bogan culture - usually worn open over a navy blue Bonds singlet, tinny in hand, and offset by a Winnie Blue artfully dangling from the corner of one's mouth.
Available then for, at most, 10 bucks from Lowe's, you're likely to find them for around $100 in shops nowadays. Quick tip, though - you can still snatch them up for around $6 at Woolworths – hanging up next to the baked beans in aisle four.
From the "fauxhawks" of the late '90s to the Hitler Youth-issue undercuts seen on the streets of Surry Hills and Fitzroy at present, a line-up of the most popular haircuts in the past decade strongly resemble my Year Five school photo.
Our more glamorous, chain-smoking uncles sported the increasingly ubiquitous rockabilly quiffs back in the day, though it would appear that we're still waiting for a reprieve when it comes to the trusty rat's tail.
Sneakers and thongs
Jerry Seinfeld and fashion-conscious club kids weren't the first to dabble in sneakers and high-tops tucked into skinny jeans. No, among non-basketball players in Australia, it was a look first popularised by your workaday westie.
The same goes for the humble thong. Though we think nothing of spending $25 to $40 on a pair of Havaianas – and only Havaianas – today, you'd get a clip around the ears if you dreamed of spending more than five dollars on a pair of rubber flip-flops way back when. Sensibly enough, as you'd only bust them while playing on the Slip 'n Slide or joining the kids down the road for a game of backyard cricket, anyway.
So, fellow westies, is there anything else you've noticed from your youth popping up on the style pages?