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There’s no denying the ‘90s and early ‘00s are back, from the low-slung jeans, slipdresses, barely-there midriff tops (or as we called them in middle school, “belly shirts”), and sky-high platforms synonymous with that era. But what if you weren’t old enough to actually wear them at the time? I was 6 when Spice World first hit theaters—needless to say, I didn’t fully understand the campy plot or pick up on the naughty jokes—and while I did beg for my own baby-pink foam sandals and patent Dr. Martens, I was too young for the really wild stuff. Plus, I had a uniform—and not the cute kind like in the Britney Spears “. . .Baby One More Time” video—which explains why I went a little overboard in high school when I could finally wear whatever I wanted. It was circa 2005 that I really began to experiment with fashion. Over the next few years (and into college), I spent way too much time putting my outfit together each morning; obsessively ripped out magazine pages; searched the mall for versions of my favorite Chloé, Miu Miu, and Luella looks (I fell in love after Luella Bartley’s collaboration with Target); and even scored a Marc Jacobs dress on eBay for $75, which I still wear today.

So the clothes that define my youth are a strange mix of music videos, celebrities’ outrageous red carpet looks, magazine editorials, and what my friends and I actually wore—i.e., not the vintage photos of Kate Moss everyone and their mom keeps posting on Instagram. My hometown of Indianapolis wasn’t as fashion-forward as New York or the nearby, much-more-glamorous Chicago, but my friends and I were really into clothes. And the one outfit we all remember wearing on repeat, all year round, for every occasion, was jeans and a “fancy top.” It never struck me as a trend so much as an easy two-step formula ingrained in every girl’s style. I think it all started with the boho movement, which peaked at the end of my freshman year of high school; up until that point, every girl in my class wore pastel Lacoste polos, super-tight henleys, or plain T-shirts (specifically James Perse). I never felt like myself in a polo and thought it was ridiculous to spend $100 on a white tee, so all of the flowy, colorful, printed new tops were a godsend. Fancy tops became my favorite thing to buy at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21, and I still have my favorite long-sleeved lace top from that time, which I wore to parties with dark-rinse skinny jeans. That’s the other thing that happened in the mid-‘00s: the designer denim boom. I got my first pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans in 2007, and if you had nice jeans and a nice top, what else could you possibly want?

Fast-forward to 2017, and the fancy top hasn’t been “cool” for a few years now. I even saw a meme recently that poked fun at the idea, reading: “If you and your girls aren’t wearing jeans and a ‘nice’ top, are you even going out?” I’ve only been buying white T-shirts and men’s button-downs for the past two years, and if you scroll through Vogue’s celebrity style section, you’ll see that A-listers are on the same page. Girls like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid who can literally wear anything are walking around in Avril Lavigne–era cheap white tanks. Instagram is even more indicative of the anti-fancy ‘90s-minimal trend: A friend recently asked me for a list of cool, actually stylish new people to follow, because everyone in her feed looked the same. “I’m so sick of Levi’s and slides and basket bags,” she said. Ditto!

So, I’m advocating for a new kind of ‘00s revival: bringing back jeans and fancy tops. I think it’s time to move on from the effortless, can’t-bother-with-more-than-a-T-shirt thing. I’m not alone, either—I’ve seen cool women in statement tops and jackets on the streets lately, and Masayo Kishi’s new line of printed blouses are a hit around the Vogue offices. In the Resort ’18 collections, brands like Brock Collection paired their 100-percent-cotton jeans with floral taffeta corsets, and I’ve been looking back to mid-‘00s collections for inspiration, too—namely the sheer lace blouse and satin-trimmed jeans at Valentino Spring ’06 and Chanel’s corseted tops and wide-leg jeans from Spring ’08. Then, of course, there’s the influential Vogue November 1988 cover (Anna Wintour‘s first) with Michaela Bercu in a $10,000 Christian Lacroix sweater and acid-wash jeans. It paved the way for the “high-low” trend, and Vogue even recreated the shoot with Gigi Hadid in 2014.

This is what I mean by “fancy,” for the record—I’m not advocating for the ubiquitous off-the-shoulder top or deconstructed men’s shirting. I recently stopped by Anthropologie for the first time since high school and scored two pretty tops by small labels I’d never even heard of. The only thing you can possibly wear them with is jeans—and instead of the flashy, logo-ed designer denim I wore in high school, I’ll reach for my vintage ones. Which isn’t to say I won’t still be living in T-shirts on the weekends, but for my 9-to-5, I’m ready for something a little more special.Read more at:formal dress shops brisbane | cheap formal dresses melbourne

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