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Tweens of yore

Blogging the Baby-Sitters Club
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  April 23, 2008

At age eight, Kimberly Hutt sent a manuscript to Scholastic Corporation. The book-length text, which centered on the lives of young teen twins, “spent a lot of time on outfit descriptions,” says the now 24-year-old part-time UMass Amherst student in a recent e-mail. “I remember quite clearly that I based an entire outfit around one of the twins being a Charlotte Hornets fan — right down to printed shoelaces — because I liked the turquoise/purple color combination. I didn’t even like basketball at the time.” Soon after, the manuscript resurfaced in Hutt’s mailbox, with “Return to Sender” emblazoned heartlessly across the front. “And there died my dreams of being a children’s-literature virtuoso,” says Hutt.

The dream originally materialized because Hutt, like many other women now in their 20s, idolized the fictional members of the The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC), a series of books about a clan of middle-school-age Connecticut girls with a passion for child care. The series was created and written by Ann M. Martin (and later, a team of ghostwriters), and sold more than 175 million copies between 1986 and 2000. A year ago, Hutt stumbled across a few tattered BSC books in a thrift store and, inspired anew, started a hilarious — if somewhat mocking — blog homage to BSC fashion. “What Claudia Wore” is named after Claudia Kishi, who, as any fan of the series well knows, is indisputably the most fashionable BSC character.

For instance: “She always wears the trendiest outfits,” Hutt quotes from BSC #30, Mary Anne and the Great Romance, on her blog. “At our last meeting she was wearing layers — a shocking-pink tunic over a white shirt with pink and yellow umbrellas printed on it. Over the tunic was a wide, low-slung yellow belt with a pink plastic buckle.”

Hutt thinks Claudia defined the term “trendsetter” for many Generation-Y females. “I started to muse on the outfits, and how bizarrely relevant they were to today’s ’80s-revival trend,” says Hutt. “I figured I couldn’t be the only one who would find that hysterical.”

The BSC members were oddly frozen in time, remaining in eighth grade for more than 10 years, so it’s strange to imagine what they’d be like now, but Hutt has an idea: “You know Claudia grew up to be the woman who, after spending the night with a man, sneaks out of bed and spends an hour making herself all glowing . . . and then sneaks back into bed all, ‘What? I always look like this in the morning!’ ”

  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Ann Martin , University of Massachusetts Amherst , National Basketball Association ,  More more >
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