Alloy catalog cover 1999Gather ’round, children, grannie Natalie is going to spin you a tale of a time long before Amazon, Zappos and Nasty Gal. A time when teenaged girls acquired cool clothing through a now-antiquated system called mail order. The Internet did exist then, but our moms would never let us put their credit card information into the computer! And so, we saved our pennies and once we had enough for tax and shipping saved, we’d beg our moms to write a check for us, then steal a stamp from our dad’s desk drawer and send away for the Paul Frank messenger bag of our dreams. Seven-to-ten business days later, it would arrive – sometimes with a free sample of shaving cream or maybe a three pack of tampons – but always with a crispy copy of the latest Alloy catalog, probably with whatever you just received now on sale for 45% off.

In 1999 I was one of five winners in a nation-wide search for the next Alloy models. At nineteen, I was the oldest of the bunch – we spent a few days together in a house in North Carolina clipping tiny plastic barrettes in our hair and modeling the latest in baggy pants fashions. I will spare you the intro spread where I name Earth Crisis and Madball my favorite bands (Serena picked Hole, whereas Jacob chose Mineral and Braid. Kiki picked it up, picked it up with Topcat and Save Ferris where as Jessica chose the confounding combination of Type O Negative and Creed.)

I opted not to share every shot of me in a bucket hat, short shorts and a shaggy, Winona Ryder pixie, I’m sure you understand. But here are some of the very 1999 hits from perhaps the only remaining copy of the 1999 Alloy spring catalog.

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