Z Cavaricci

Pokhara, Nepa

I may travel the world because the differences intrigue me, but it’s the similarities that never cease to amaze me.

However, unless you grew up in the 1980s, you couldn’t possibly guess what it is I want to talk about here. I am in Pokhara, Nepal, farther from home than I’ve ever been, photographing these young monks leaving their monastery school for lunch, and I’m thinking about how fascinating their young lives must be. Their childhoods are so foreign to me, so different from my own. I couldn’t possibly imagine what it must be like to go everyday to a sternly religious school, dressed so oddly, in so much heavy, bizarre, and unnecessary fabric.

Hold on— yes I can, I did exactly that for nine years!

Attending Dallas Christian School from the 1st through 9th grades might not have been my choice, but the bizarre and cumbersome fashion choices certainly were— yes, I want to talk here about Z Cavarriccis.

I sat down to write about these young monks in Nepal, and instead, this is what I ended up with. Sorry! But it goes to show you that life is much the same everywhere, or, at least, you never know when something will surprise you by being unexpectedly relatable.

First, though, I need to set the stage for my partner Seth, and anyone else who was lucky enough to be born a decade later than me and thereby dodge the fashion bullet that was Z Cavaricci. I’m just going to inundate you with a bunch of photos from the internet here, because once the spell was broken and I crawled out from under all that fabric, I’m pretty sure I burned all of my Z Cavariccis in a huge bonfire out in the yard. (And yes, Seth, I burned all photographic evidence of me wearing them, too, so don't bother asking my mother to look for pictures; and Mom, please don't look for pictures.)

Talk about a chastity belt-- if that system of double belts doesn't dissuade you, then all those puckered pleats sure will.
Talk about a chastity belt-- if that system of double belts doesn't dissuade you, then all those puckered pleats sure will.


For every guy and gal whose dream was always to have enormous, bloated thighs that tapered down into thin, tiny ankles, Z Cavariccis were a very special brand of pants from the 1980s that made this possible. They were also great for anyone who ever dreamed of genie -- because that's what these hideous, thigh-widening pants made you look like: a genie from a bottle who'd arrived (at junior high) to grant wishes to every boy and girl. Boys and girls who were also all dressed like genies.

There were so many little pubescent genies running around, that I'm pretty sure our parents' one wish would have been for these bafflingly unaffordable pants to go away and die. Maybe it was all that extra fabric, but in addition to making you look ridiculous, every parent will surely remember that they were also ridiculously expensive.

That is why I think they all got together - our parents - and formed a plan for the next wave of fashion. So distraught were they at having to pay $150 apiece for these Cavarrici clown pants, that our financially exhausted parents all met in secret and somehow figured out a way to make us beg to shop at thrift stores and suddenly want to wear our dad's old flannels and torn up jeans. In short, they launched the birth of Grunge.

It's the only way to explain what happened next, this "grunge" look. Because think about it: isn't it just a little too convenient that for the next five years, the trendiest look was entirely based around our dads' old gardening and yard work clothes? His free old yard work clothes, I might add? The more torn up the better?

And then all the clothing and accessories you needed to complete this "badass" homeless look you were going for, well, that could all be found down at the local thrift store. So now in addition to wearing your own dad's tattered junk clothes, you are also buying the unwanted charity donations of some other neighboring dad from down the street. Brilliant. It reeks of parental design, and I'm sure they all had a good laugh. Sure, we took them on a short Z Cavaricci ride, but then they ultimately had their sweet (and cheap) revenge and had us all dressing like dirty lumberjacks. Perhaps Z Cavariccis really were genie pants after all because it would seem that, in the end, our parents all got their wishes granted.


I don't think wallet chains were their idea though, that was us going off-book. For those of you with untethered, unprotected, wallets who might not know what this is, a wallet chain is an elaborate safety measure (personal wallet protection plan? wallet alarm system?) involving a large, industrial-strength metal chain.

I am not kidding about this, you can easily look this up. You take an enormous link of chain that you bought at Hot Topic and connect it to a special wallet, one specifically made for this purpose. The special wallet then goes in your back pocket, so that you can dramatically swag the metal chain down your leg and across one whole side of your body, to connect it to your front belt loop. Sure, all of this was ridiculous, hideous, and costly— but can you really put a price on peace of mind and safety?

It's quite amusing to acknowledge that I went through all this trouble and probably spent about $50 on this preposterous chain, all to protect a wallet holding just my fake ID, a singular condom, and usually no more than ten dollars. And how protected was it really, since I was essentially announcing to any would-be burglar that I in fact had a wallet, and showing them exactly where on my person it was located?

Not to mention, that it would constantly get caught on all sort of things. You'd be walking along like the awesome fake homeless person that you were - homeless but with a fancy wallet - when you'd suddenly get jolted startlingly backwards because your badass wallet chain got caught on a hardcore recess bench or a punk rock classroom desk. Now your wallet would come flying out of your back pocket like a surprise magic trick, flopping to the ground like a dead fish, and you'd have try and reel it back in. Not today, not on my watch, you sneaky furniture! If I'm gonna lose my fake ID, it's going to be because no club bouncer in their right mind would believe I'm twenty-five, and not fourteen.

Even if I am dressed in all my dad's old clothes.


I think the young monk life might have interested me, actually... you can read about that HERE.

I write about adult monks HERE.