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Are you in or out?

Laura A. Ball

The last time I desperately wanted to fit in I was in junior high. It was 1990 in southern Ohio. I was 12. The ’80s hype had not yet fizzled and clashed with the dawn of the boho-grunge movement. As long as I had my Minnetonka moccasins, skinny leg Guess jeans and white ruffly peasant blouse, I could face the world. I remember only a year before, standing on the playground, having a conversation with my sixth-grade teacher, Ms. Lily. Young and beautiful, she faced me in her daily uniform of flats and a floral sun dress, I in my tapered side-zip jeans and red polo. “You know,” she told me, “One day you will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe I wore those.'” No, never, I swore to her, looking down at the pants I’d worn every day of my sixth-grade life – wondering if I’d just told a lie.Of course, she was right. As I headed for high school and the cigarette pants became passe, my new favorite jeans now had flare. Something else happened, too, and the appeal of individuality seemed sweeter than ever.During those teenage years, my friends and I ditched the malls in favor of spending our weekends driving to every second-hand store we could find in a 100-mile radius. We would come out with armloads of granny sweaters and party dresses. In a fit of romantic rebellion, we sought to look like no one else.

It wasn’t until many years later that I would come to realize my own style, which incorporates trends that are me.Ms. Lily taught me a lesson in fashion that day at the teacher’s bench: Trends come and go, but it’s up to you to invent your personal style.No matter where you live, when you live, a broad, unmentionable dress code underlines societal community. Who knows how long a certain fad will last. When surrendering to them, you’re either and early riser or a late bloomer. I’d never been one to jump on a trend for trend’s sake. But when you’re coming into your own, I became a victim on, regrettably, more than one occasion. The skinny leg’s come back, and you know what they say, if you did it the first time around, don’t do it the second.

And you know what I say? Rules are for the uncreative, and worse, the unchallenged.I have skinny jeans and I do wear them. I acquired them a few years back to tuck into boots, and I have been wearing them more often. They’re very feminine, and the new updated, thigh-hugging styles are flattering for many body types.And leggings. A girlfriend told me recently that if you haven’t gotten them yet, don’t bother, it’s over. But she’s from New York, and they’re light years ahead on fashion’s timeline.I got some there over the winter. I think they’re genius, and I’m glad they’ve come back. They add a whole new dimension to my wardrobe and I can’t wait to wear them through fall.Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Fashion after all is about self-expression. If you love them all, wear them all. If you’re afraid the trend’s over, it might not be a trend for you. If you love none, wear none. Just have fun.



Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 748-2939 or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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