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Friday, April 12, 2024

The pages of Elle, my favorite fashion magazine, were one of the last places I'd expect to find a flashback to my middle-school days.

But there it was, wedged between the trend reports and style advice, I was sent back to eight grade where everyone conformed to a perfect social stereotype. The cliques were grouped according to who you hung out with, what music you listened to, and most importantly, what you wore.

There were "Punks," "Preps," "Hippies," "Gangsters," "Goths," and "Nerds" - labels I now use with reservation. If you didn't fit into one of those, then you were a "nobody," which therefore accounted as a group of its own.

I remember feeling almost limited in what I was allowed to wear either because of judgment from my peers or fear of The Force, otherwise known as our school dress code. Any middle schooler was fashionably doomed and guaranteed a spot in either one of the aforementioned stereotypes. Or even worse, they could be defined as a poser, the cruel word that stamped "fake" on your forehead.

Now there it was again; printed in Elle magazine were current trends influenced by classic stereotypes.

Today, the fashion industry is redefining what it means to be a poser. Unlike middle school, this industry is not afraid of what people are going to be labeling them or saying behind their backs. From designers and celebrities, to Gainesville's fashion scene, the clothes people are turning to to break the standard stereotypes.

Here are, five popular trends that were once "off-limits" to some and are now available for all.

1. Geek chic

Nerds everywhere are enjoying their revenge by proving that they too have a stance in the fashion world. One of the most buzzed about accessories are oversized, thick-brimmed, fake glasses that change the derogatory term "four-eyes" into a compliment.

2. Tie-dye/ Bleach Stains

Today, wearing a T-shirt with an infusion of colors doesn't necessarily mean you are a peace-loving, psychedelic drug user. Brands like Free People work to produce clothing for people looking for individuality in the clothing they wear. This mellow, earthy energy is turning up everywhere - on dresses, purses, button-downs and jeans.

3. Studs

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Studs in all shapes and sizes are embellishing the most basic of pieces. Forever 21 displays sandals smothered in silver studs or leather bracelets decked out with rows of 3D pyramids. Five years ago, I would have reserved these items for either the punk rockers with electric blue hair or some S&M contraption, never expecting studs and spikes to stylishly decorate a light pink tank top or a girly handbag.

4. Stripes

Preppy is a trend that always has and always will exist. Scholastic stripes are being borrowed from the Preps in order to make an edgier statement. The would-be-basic cotton T-shirt is turning chic, adorning parallel lines in black and white or varying stripe width and direction.

5. Simplicity

In middle school, these were the kids who wore jeans and a white T-shirt, steering away from any sort of fashion conformity - the "nobodies." In the fashion industry, infamous basic tees hold a level of sophistication that cannot be denied. There is something confident and sexy about a crisp white T-shirt teamed with your favorite pair of jeans.

These trends make it clear that outside the hallway walls, there is an adult world still influenced by its adolescent days, a world where fashion boundaries are being crossed and social borders are being redesigned.

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