Five Seconds to a First Impression
empowering women, families, and youth-at-risk through improved literacy, increased positive media, and tools for living.
By Courtney Tran
Picture this:

Kaitlin Wong—aspiring model, Tumblr devotee, and Miramonte senior—overturns a heaping pile of clothing strewn across her bed.Phone in hand, she rummages through the mess, hunting for the green shirt she bought during her back-to-school shopping spree.

You guessed it—the tardy bell rings in three days. Kaitlin needs an outfit.

"My color this year is green. I'm moving away from black. There's been too much in past years…but I don't care about Lamorinda style," she admits. "It's pretty classic and doesn't really change. Even when there's fads, we stay classic-preppy, with a bit of slouch."

Lamorinda middle and high school students are gearing up for school with new pencils, notebooks, and—of course—clothes. The girls, that is. Most boys, in the words of one anonymous Moraga junior, "don't give a flying naked mole rat what we wear, if it fits. Decently."

Though this fall's wardrobe remains remarkably consistent with that of the 2010-11 school year (short shorts for girls, cargo shorts for guys, and graphic tees and jeans for everybody), skinny jeans in particular are gaining momentum, edging wide-cut jeans out of the mainstream fashion scene. Many teenage girls are carrying their summer sundresses and floral skirts into their fall wardrobe: "I'm wearing as many dresses as I can to school until it's cold," says one Campolindo sophomore. "Dresses and skirts are a chance to be girly, playful—and they're best in this weather."

Inspired by celebrities like Taylor Swift and Vanessa Hudgens, many opt for bohemian styles. "I really love the boho chic look," says Miramonte's Lisa Chang. "I love when people wear long flowy dresses with a cropped T-shirt. It elongates their figure and makes them look elegant."

Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters boast moderate prices, up-to-date styles, and soaring popularity among Lamorinda teens. McCaulou's and TJ Maxx are consistently named as go-to's for affordable, nearby options. "Brand stores are my thing. But I shop anywhere it's cheap," says sophomore Alexandra Chavez.
 Some teens, however, take their clothing into their own hands.

"I don't really make my own stuff. Little things. I've recolored shoelaces," says OIS student Ryan Tran. "I've also bleached a jacket. That's usually cool."

"I'm gonna start making clothes again," declares Alexandra. "It's something I love to do. Gets me through the day—if something's on my mind, I can just style something up. Great thing is, styling's easy. It's not just my thing—it can be anyone's, everyone's."

Triumphantly retrieving the green shirt from behind a backpack, Kaitlin echoes this sentiment. "
Style lets you express yourself. Like music. Art. After all, you've only got five seconds to make a first impression."

Miramonte senior Courtney Tran enjoys good music and chocolate, has never drunk a can of soda, and likes seeing life as a mildly feminist fairytale.

In the News: Published Version

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