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‘Just rolled out of bed look’ sets fashion tone for new school year

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POSTED August 16, 2010 2:12 a.m.
They say if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait an hour or two.

Sunny sidewalks soon become hail-covered walkways. Hail-covered walkways are soon snowy pathways only for the brave. And before you know it, it’s sunny sidewalks all over the place once again. A constant cycle.

As I drove around Manteca on Friday chatting with kids about the new “in” styles that kids are flocking to as they get ready for the start of the school year today, just about everything that I remember from when I was that age had seemingly gone out of style, while a crazy hybrid of what my father used to tell me was “cool” mixed with the movements of the modern age has seemingly replaced all that I can recall.

Is it really possible that I’m that old?

It used to be a standing joke in my house growing up whenever something 70s related came on the television – the “golden” age that my father use to talk incessantly about – we would jab him with jokes about the curly hair, the bellbottom jeans, the big sunglasses, and the gaudy accessories.

When “That 70s Show” actually premiered (with the character Steven Hyde bearing a striking resemblance to my father’s younger pictures) we finally had something tangible to point and laugh at together.

But it would take only a few years before some of those fashions started making their way back into the mainstream. The retro T-shirts. The big sunglasses. The bellbottom-chic jeans.

While I posed for my senior photos in my letterman’s jacket, a shirt-and-tie, and a pair of khakis, my father graduated wearing a pair of green-and-yellow Adidas sneakers under his graduation gown – not exactly his school colors – as a stand against authority.

And now that I’m a decade removed from high school, I seem to have more in common now with those ideals than I did back then.

Sure you’ll find somebody on a campus somewhere wearing a button-down shirt, but the mainstream today seams more geared for the “just rolled out of bed” look – whether it’s authentic or artificially created with special hair products and worn clothing designed to look trashed.

This observation is no doubt going to make me look curmudgeony, and at least a bit hypocritical since I actually paid money to have a pair of Levi’s destroyed according to my wishes in San Francisco and have been known to rock the bed head “au naturel” on regular occasions.

But things have definitely changed since I had to worry about whether my parents were going to be called when I didn’t show up for class.

Surely things will eventually revert back to the clean-cut look that I remember as being so prevalent, and it’ll probably happen at about the same time I finally fully embrace the slept-in-my-clothes look that modern designers and companies are aiming for today.

Now if I could only judge when that shift takes place, maybe I could be the one who jumps the gun on the fashion craze and predicts something that’ll undoubtedly become the norm once again.

Because I would have called anyone crazy who told me that people would pay top dollar for vintage-era T-shirts that have been rotting in a closet for the last three decades. Maybe there’s some money to be made on this whole cyclical affair.
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