Walking the line: playing it safe or fashion risk-taker?

Like most Halifax girls, I was beyond excited to hear that a Forever 21 would be opening up in the area. I finally had the chance to visit over March Break.

However, upon walking into the bright white store and poring over the hundreds of clothes, I couldn’t help but feel disenchanted.

Either I’m getting older or the clothes have gotten crazier.

I feel like I’m walking a fine line sometimes. That is, the line between playing it safe and being a fashion risk-taker.

As a fashion columnist, I can’t say I don’t feel a certain obligation to always look my best. Particularly in the collegiate world, where Lulus and Uggs seem to be the norm, and simply wearing jeans to class is worthy of applause.

No, I’m talking about trying the latest trend. The cat-print leggings, the snarky graphic tees and the crop tops.

In the liberal arts world, we’re encouraged to experiment and express ourselves. But, how far can you push it before the feedback becomes negative?

This is something I’m constantly working at, but I’m here to tell you that it can be done. It’s all about balance.

Let’s start with the cat-print leggings. Though I’m not brave enough to rock a pair of feline pants myself, I’ll admit that they’re more popular than I thought. So, let’s say you own a pair. How can you rock it without looking like a crazy cat lady (even if you’re proud to be one)?

The tip here is to stay completely neutral. Wear your pair with an oversized plain tee or sweater. Let the cats take center stage, and don’t wear anything that would cause a distraction. This ain’t just for kitties either – plain large shirts pair great with any large pattern.

In the past year, graphic tees have certainly gotten more, well, graphic. There’s nothing subtle about it. Just check out the local H&M and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

That being said, you can still pull off an understated look with a statement tee, contradictory as it sounds. Wear your graphics loud and proud, but keep everything else simple.Try a classic pair of black or blue jeans and simple, solid-colour flats for the perfect complement. Remember, coordinating and complementing are not the same thing.

Then, there’s the crop top. If you ask me, this is a trend that should have stayed in the early 2000s. But, who am I to argue with what’s in vogue?

Appropriateness notwithstanding, there is a way to give a crop top some class. Stay away from low-rise pants. Mid-risers are cute and fashion-forward and come in fun colours. I’m not just talking pants, either. The mid-rise skirt is one of my favourite trends this year.

Maybe I am getting older, and Forever 21 isn’t the Promised Land it used to be. Some of their clothes are a little more outré, but as long as balance exists, the Promised Land will still have my heart (and my credit card).

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