Fall 2006 Back to School Girls’ Fashions for the Terminally Baffled Grown Up

Being of the completely ancient, utterly uncool, terminally out of touch variety of human adult myself, I did what any self-respecting chronicler of American Culture would do to write an article on “Hot Trends.”

I asked teenagers and parents of teenagers. The latter usually blinked a lot and looked a little spacey, giving answers like, “Those… jean… things that hang off her… with her … panties…hanging out.” And, “I’M NOT LETTING HER OUT OF THE HOUSE LOOKING LIKE THAT!” The former, luckily, were a bit more helpful, and a lot less hysterical. This article takes their answers, and translates them into Baffled Grown Up language for the latter.

Here is what your kid will HAVE to have for fall 2006, because – OMG EVERYBODY ELSE HAS THEM! Do you WANT your daughter to be a loser freak?

1. Designer Jeans That Cost More Than Your Mortgage, But Cover Less Than Most Underwear (Hollister, 7, Diesel, Lucky, Hilfiger, GUESS?, True Religion, Antik, Joe’s Jeans)


3. Breaking Your Mother’s Color Rules (WHITE! AFTER LABOR DAY!)

4. Shoes Impossible To Walk In, or Made For Bikers, Surfers, Peter Pan, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Ballerinas (Wedges, Platforms, Biker boots, Ankle Boots, Cuffed Slouch Boots, Ballernia Style Flats, Flip-flops)

5. Skirts So Short, You’re Afraid Your Kid Will Get Arrested

6. Fashions No One Over a Size 8 Could Ever Wear (Empire Waists, Shrugs, Ultra-Low Riders)

7. Smart Mouthed Tee Shirts

8. Bags You Could Carry Dead Bodies In

9. Necklaces That Double As Weapons

10. Electronics as Accessories

1. Designer Jeans That Cost More Than Your Mortgage, But Cover Less Than Most Underwear

The Brands – According to my informants, these are the brand names that your teen must have in order to avoid being a social outcast.

Hollister – http://www.hollisterco.com – Prices range from $39.50-$59.50/pair.
7 For All Mankind – http://www.7forallmankind.com/index2.htm – Prices range from $75-$200/pair.
Diesel – http://www.diesel.com – Prices range from $70-$100/pair
Lucky – http://www.luckybrandjeans.com– Prices range from $60-110/pair
Hilfiger – http://www.hilfiger.com – Prices range from $25-$85
GUESS? – http://www.guess.com – Prices range from $25-$80
True Religion – http://www.truereligionbrandjeans.com – Prices range from $150-$275/pair
Antik – http://www.antikdenim.com – Prices range from $150-$300/pair
Joe’s Jeans – http://www.joesjeans.com – Prices range from $79-$110/pair
Roca Wear – http://www.rocawear.com – Prices range from $39-$90/pair
Vokal – http://www.vokal.com – Prices range from $35-$99/pair

The Styles

Waist Height/”Rise”:
Normal/Regular – The waist of the jeans rest around the natural waist.
Hip-hugger – The waist of the jeans rest on or around the top of the hipbones
Low-Rise – Waist rests toward middle or bottom of hipbones
Super Low Rise – Waist rests around the top of the pelvic area
Fit/Thigh width:
Super Slim – tight fit with almost no give in the thighs
Slim/Skinny – tight fit with only slight give in the thighs
Regular – snug fit with moderate give in the thighs and seat
Full/Relaxed – looser fit without being baggy
Baggy – very loose fit, often pleated at the waist, offering substantial space in seat and thighs
Flares/Leg Width:
Slim/”peg leg” – very slim opening that clings around the ankles
Regular – normal opening, leg is the same width all the way down
Boot Cut – slight flare, originally to give a “cowboy” room for his boots
Flare – 21″ opening
Bell Bottom 22″ opening; often swings when the wearer walks, although current fashion makes dragging cuffs popular

Washes – the more destroyed the jeans look, the better. With most brands, to have faded, holy, paint splattered denim costs more. Nobody wears regular dark blue denim. Every company calls the various styles something different. It’s best to check with individual brand websites for possibilities.

Online Jeans Retailers

MyJeanCompany.com – http://www.myjeancompany.com
AmericanJeans.com – http://www.americanjeans.com
Target.com – http://www.target.com

2. Fashions You Prayed You’d Never See Again

They say that fashions move in a cycle of 20 years – many fashions that are popular today, we can expect to see return to the stage again around 2026.

I went to high school in the 80’s, and got to be privy to some of the 20th centuries’ ugliest fashion trends. You know the ones: neon, Flashdance-cut sweatshirts, Mork-From-Ork suspenders, pin-striped jeans, parachute pants, giant Swatch watches, arms covered with black rubber bracelets, huge dangly earrings. The ones when you look at pictures of yourself from those days, you inevitably wince and cry, “What was I THINKING?”

Well, guess what? Your kids are wearing some of those hideous monstrosities and their descendants. Fall 2006 will witness the return of:

Gouchos: Yes, you heard me. The wider, the better, and funky patterns are a must!
Puffy Sleeves/Peasant Blouses: Now your skinny teenager can look like a Victorian or a pregnant hippie!
Leggings: Remember when you had four or five pairs of Lycra tights in every color, with at least three in black so you had a pair to wear under everything? Well… you’d save a lot of money if you’d hung onto those. The tights under skirt or shorts look is back this fall.
Bulky Sweaters and Sweater Dresses: Flattering on no one, but hey – at least they’ll be warm!
Wide belts – my informants tell me flashy belts are a must. Wide ones worn over the outfit are best.

3. Breaking Your Mother’s Color Rules

Apparently, there are only four acceptable colors this year: black, white, gray and red. Especially hip are white pants, jeans, skirts, and cropped pants like capris and *shudder* gouchos.

Remember when your mother used to scream at you because you had nothing but black in your wardrobe? You know how you always hear yourself screaming things at your kids that your mother used to at you? Yeah, well… black is back. Be prepared.

4. Shoes Impossible To Walk In, or Made For Bikers, Surfers, Peter Pan, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Ballerinas

Shoes this year are as impractical as ever. I’ve been told that platforms are back, as are impossibly high wedges and espadrilles.
Clunky shoes, biker boots, ankle boots, and cuffed slouch boots are hot.
Flip-flops are a top casual style, and ballet flats are popular for dress up.

5. Skirts So Short, You’re Afraid Your Kid Will Get Arrested

The mini skirt – one that has a hemline from above the knee to WAAAY above the knee – comes in and out like a hyperactive poodle with a doggy door. This fall, the mini is back to micro length, with a low-rise waist. In other words, almost no skirt at all! Luckily, as the weather gets cool, wearing leggings under minis will become more common.

6. Fashions No One Over a Size 8 Could Ever Wear

It’s no secret that teen fashions are generally created for the thin and slinky. That’s been the rule since Sassoon put out their first pair of ultra-skin-tight designed jeans. Well, today’s fashions are no exception.

Empire waists are in for tops this fall – these are gathered just beneath the bust line, giving that oh so flattering pregnant look to even the tiniest woman. (Apparently there was some hoopla at Cannes this year when someone asked Sarah Michelle Gellar when she was due when she was wearing one of these tops!)

Shrugs are still popular. In case you’re not familiar with shrugs, they are a small woman’s jacket that ends at the waist or higher, often tying beneath the bustline. Again, not flattering to any sort of tummy but a flat one.

We mentioned ultra-low riders in the jeans section – these are jeans with a waist that rests well below the natural waistline, usually below the belly.

7. Smart Mouthed Tee Shirts

Tee shirts with clever logs never go out of style, it’s only the specific sayings that change. Popular tee shirt brands include Tees.com, Hot Topic (http://www.hottopic.com), collegehumor.com, and crazytees.com. Warning: not all of these tee shirts may be suitable for all viewers.

8. Bags You Could Carry Dead Bodies In

Reasonably sized hobo bags are still in style, as are soft drawstring bags that can be worn as backpacks, but new on the scene are enormous purses that could easily double as suitcases. Satchels, Big Totes, Messenger Bags, and other styles of large handbag are popular.

9. Necklaces That Double As Weapons

A couple of fashion trends came through in the last couple of years that truly baffled me. One was Uggs. Remember Moon Boots back in the 70’s? And the big, fuzzy boots worn mostly by disco queens? Uggs brought those back to our consciousness once more, but it looks like they’re already gone again.

The one that won’t go away, however, is the clunky/chunky necklace. These huge, ugly monstrosities use enough plastic to build a whole army’s worth of armor, but they’re all the rage this season!

10. Electronics as Accessories

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have electronics as accessories. Almost every one of my informants mentioned two items as absolutely indispensable to any fashionable wardrobe: the Apple iPod (and no, a reasonable substitute of another brand will not do) and a cellular phone (NOT a pay as you go phone!)

For the best bargains in cell phones and cellular plans, check out MyRatePlan (http://www.myrateplan.com/), or Let’s Talk! (http://www.letstalk.com). For great comparison shopping for iPod’s, try BizRate (http://www.bizrate.com) or PriceGrabber (http://www.pricegrabber.com)!

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