Then and Now: Smelly Tees and Fashion Yikes

Riley Preiss, Staff Writer

You know how everyone has that favorite store? There’s always those one or two stores in the mall that you HAVE to go in, and even if you’re completely broke you go in just to look. It feels like girls in particular go through different store obsessions. If you asked a lot of the girls at Farmingdale High School their favorite stores most of them would answer with stores along the lines of American Eagle, Charlotte Russe, or Forever 21. There’s a reason so many people have similar clothes and styles… we all shop in the same stores.

As high schoolers we aren’t looking for the highest quality; it’s more about keeping up and fitting in with everyone else. This winter for example, knit pom pom hats and oversized sweaters with leggings was almost a uniform. A ripped jean epidemic completely overtook our closets. I think I have MAYBE two pairs of jeans without holes in them at this point. Sneakers and their many colors, shapes, and forms can basically be summed up by four major brands: Converse, Nike, Adidas, and Vans. And of course if you decide to wear the Steve Madden Ecentrcq shoe you will most likely end up matching with about fifty other people on any given day. Cozy has been a serious look this winter, and the likes of blanket scarves, flannels, and even visibly fuzzy sweaters and sweatshirts made for trendy investments. Leggings are a staple in pretty much every high school girl’s wardrobe and sweatshirts and sweatpants from Pink remain the omnipresent go-to outfit on gym days.

Trend obsession is not a new thing. Even in elementary school all the girls tended to shop in the same stores and buy the same styles. Looking back through pictures, my wardrobe and the majority of my friends’ included the likes of “smelly t-shirts”, t-shirts that you had to scratch to give off the smell of “cupcake” or “grape soda” (if you sniffed hard enough). Unfortunately about half my closet was neon or sparkly…talk about standing out in a crowd. And shirts with cute sayings were all the rage; the “you’re the peanut butter to my jelly” shirt that everyone in the fifth grade seemed to have was a personal favorite of mine. All of these (unfortunate) items were purchased from Justice, the insanely popular girl’s clothing store in which you could find anything and everything sparkly. Justice was the it store of our generation for sure. Girls loved finding out what shirt your friend had just bought, buying the same one, and then planning to wear it on the same day. Yes, twinning became a lifestyle. In fact, in my fifth grade yearbook my friend and I are pictured for a club in identical “Hi! Bye!” neon t-shirts, and at the time we thought it was the coolest thing ever. Times have definitely changed… if two friends showed up in the same shirt to school now, they would definitely find it hilarious (and maybe slightly embarrassing) rather than cool. Justice was also the trend setter of the comfy clothes look. Following Christmas break one year I remember an alarming number of girls sporting colorful cuffed sweatpants and matching sweatshirts. Yikes.

In all honesty shoes have stayed pretty much the same. Uggs are still overpriced, comfy, and worn throughout winter months. Converse have yet to go out of style, and sneakers tended to be more colorful back then, but Nike remained everyone’s choice of shoe. However, Adidas wasn’t as popular in elementary school. That was a trend that began in middle school. Winter coats have also evolved since then. Fuzzy, colorful North Face fleece jackets were everyone’s main source of warmth during winter months. I remember fighting my mom to let me out of the house in just that. Big winter coats weren’t “cool” in my opinion. Thank God that opinion has changed… long coats with furry hoods are very in right now actually. I mentioned the pom pom hats that have become trendy in the past year earlier and they actually remind me of pom pom hats from elementary school. My friends and I all had different variations of rainbow knitted pom pom hats that of course had matching scarves. At least we were warm…

It’s funny to look back at old photos and reflect on the ridiculous things we considered “in.” Trends in fashion are forever changing, and styles frequently come in cycles. In fact right now we are living through the fashion world’s obsession with the 90s. Every store features 90s-influenced clothes and accessories such as the choker, the scrunchie, and high waisted distressed denim. My mom laughs when she walks through a store and sees something similar to what she used to wear. I wonder what trends we’re wearing now that we’ll regret wearing one day… and if smelly tees will ever be in again.