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September 30, 2004 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-30

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SM0
12B - The Michigan Daily -- Thursday, September 30, 2004

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mouthoffweekend opinion
BREAKING THE TREND
BY LEAH HANGARTER

Imiss elementary school. Recess,
field trips and the most creative
approach to fashion I have ever
seen. As eight year olds we chose
4xtreme pieces of clothing, put them
together with other eccentric items
and made outfits not so different from
those we see in the pages of fashion
magazines. One of these outfits still
sticks out in my memory.
Purple footless tights with lace at
the ankles, my second grade ballet
recital leotard covered in rainforest
print, a leopard print chiffon dance
skirt and my yellow silk button down
shirt, accented with rhinestone appli-
quis and tied at the waist. Top it all
off with some lightening bolt earrings
and crazy permed hair and it's one
hot ensemble, no? Lately I've been
wondering, "Where did that freedom
of self-expression through clothing
go??" Why is it that every time I put
on something notably different from
the norm I end up whining to all my
friends about how "I don't know if I
can pull this off. We're in Ann Arbor,
not New York, blah, blah, blah." It's
ridiculous! Somehow I end up feeling.
justified critiquing trends while at the
same time worrying about being too
over-the-top. Not only is that hypo-
critical and rather pathetic, the heart
of the matter is that I love fashion! I
love fashion as an art; I love fashion as
a form of self-expression; I love beau-
tiful dresses and jackets and skirts
and the craft of sewing. It's my love
of fashion that has led me to realize
that it's time someone encouraged all
the students on our campus- myself
included!- to look not only at what
their peers are wearing, but also at

what they want to wear themselves.
I grew up learning to see clothes
through the eyes of my mother, who
is a wonderful seamstress; building
an appreciation for bound buttonholes
and an understanding of how to sew
fabric with nap. I approach shopping
with an eagle eye for detail, never
settling for something I deem to be
"poorly made." Of course, financial
restrictions are frequently a problem,
or else I would be that random girl.
who prances around campus in Marc
Jacobs and Miu Miu. This is where
the joy of thrift store shopping enters
the picture. If done well, one can find
gorgeous pieces amidst the racks of
used sweatshirts and grandma blous-
es.
Fashion is not about labels; it is not
about money; it is about attitude and
playing with ideas. I look for well-
made clothing and blend pieces in
order to achieve whatever look may
feel the most "me" at the moment.
Currently I can't get enough of my
cord blazer from a vintage store in
Camden Town, tweed skirts from
my great aunt's closet and my bronze
and gold fiat pointy toe Mary Janes
from Nordstroms. Style is more fun
when taken from a mix of different
sources.
Now that you have an idea of what
makes fashion exciting to me, lets take
a look at some of the biggest trends to
have hit the University in the recent
past. Two years ago, I couldn't cross
campus without being bombarded
by the North Face fleece and its best
friend the North Face outerlayer shell.
Last year was especially enjoyable (in
the sit around and giggle kind of way)

watching girls try to figure out exactly
how Ugg boots should be worn. Over
the jeans or under the jeans? With a
skirt or with pants?
Either way, Uggs are very practical
indeed for our Michigan winters but
ridiculous if worn when there is no
snow on the ground (i.e. all last fall
and this summer). And now, despite
the fresh new possibilities of what
lies ahead in the 2004-2005 academ-
ic year, there is a fresh new crop of
people following yet another trend-
the miniskirt. Miniskirts are fun and
flirty, apparently come in all colors of
the rainbow, and are an excellent way
of dressing to enjoy the last shreds of
decent weather.
However, sitting on the benches
of the Diag during Welcome Week, I
counted 26 miniskirts in 10 minutes
before I got too fed up and had to leave
in order to be reassured that other
forms of female clothing do exist. We
should engage the originality to which
we aspire in class, and apply it to the
world of style! Writing the same paper
as other students could get you kicked
out of school, but apparently follow-
ing mainstream trends ensures a place
in line at Scorekeepers. Skirts are
fabulous, but spice things up and grab
one that hits at least slightly below the
point where everything is visible. Or,
maybe avoid the pleated/ruffled/fairy
look and go for something slightly
more, hmm how should I say this, up
to date? (Paris Hilton had her heyday
at least over a year ago and besides, is
Paris Hilton really worthy of being a
fashion role model?)
Imagine how much more exciting
our campus could be if we embraced

some of the experimentation that goes
along with a liberal arts education. As
students at a liberal arts university,
we are encouraged to use creativity in
many different ways, including per-
sonal style. The fact that we appear
homogenous contradicts the noncon-
formist mentality of this kind of edu-
cation. We came to college with the
intention of furthering our learning,
which includes expanding our under-
standing of ourselves. If we continue
to follow the exact same trends at
the exact same time, what does that

ELIS"B"^MAN/DAILY
say about our ability to express our-
selves as unique individuals? We
don't all have the same ideas, the
same classes or the same friends, so
why should we all slip into the same
outfit just because it's convenient or
because everyone else is doing it? It
is stifling to self-exploration to fol-
low the "everyone's doing it" philoso-
phy. This is the time to take chances
- especially the chances that are the
most frightening because you are vul-
nerable to critiques from the outside
world.

SA*3517x«
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4. -- ~ 8 a-M

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