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Fall fads and fashions

September 04, 2003

Jenny Marder

Brown is the new black this fall.

At least, that's what Surf City shoppers and merchants are saying

about this year's back-to-school colors.

It's a time of dread as summer slides into fall and students sadly

cram their bikinis and beach towels into drawers. But it's also a

time of excitement, as old clothes are pushed aside to make way for a

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new outfit, a new form of expression, something to separate this year

from the last.

The stores have been ready for months. Sandals are giving way to

sneakers, corduroy jackets are crowding the racks, and fall's mellow

hues have replaced summer's brighter, flashier tones.

Coming back full force in fashion this year are '70s and '80s

styles but with a millennial twist.

"It's a really vintage-inspired look," said Jillian Loeman, 24,

manager at HSS Girl in Downtown Huntington Beach. "Everything's in

greens, browns, burnt orange. We'll pretty much sell anything in

those colors."

"Vintage is coming in," Ocean View High School student Kayla

Former agreed. "Big flowers in the hair, lots of old-school jewelry."

Former, 16, and Sarah Trullinger, 16, know what's up in fashion.

White ribbed tank tops are in for girls, they say, as are short

denim skirts and Adidas shoes.

"Tube tops alone are out," Former said. "Shorts for overalls,

those are the worst. And thongs pulled over the hipbone -- at one

point in time, those were sexy. Not anymore."

Former is sporting a light brown tank top, a Hurley denim skirt

and white flip flops. Trullinger is clad in tiny periwinkle blue

shorts, a Hurley ribbed tank top and funky red, Arnette glasses.

Trullinger says the footwear of choice this year is the chunky

sandal with decorated straps. She also favors light baseball-style

jackets, worn open with a tank top underneath.

Last year's staples are still around, such as the sweatsuit

loungewear, but also expect to see spaghetti-strap tops matched with

pleated skirts on the same schoolyard as acid-wash jeans with pink

off-the-shoulder sweatshirts.

Rubber bracelets made popular by Madonna in the 1980s are back.

Ashley Brock, 16, wears them up to the elbows on both arms -- 48 on

each arm, to be exact.

And some classics will always stay around. Anything goes well with

jeans, but today's hippest Levis ride low on the hips and have no

back pockets. Converse shoes are also still a staple.

"But no funky Converse with flames if you're going to wear them,"

Former cautioned.

Hairstyles have taken a traditional turn this summer.

"Natural hair color is so in right now," Former said. "Natural

brown, blond. It's sophisticated, but still so retro, so '70s."

And as always in Huntington Beach, the surfer is king and surf

wear is his style of choice.

For men, "it's fashionable, nicer clothes now, your nicer wovens,

sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets," said Brian Nichols, men's floor

department manager at Huntington Surf and Sport.

Brand names are always big sellers for men, namely Hurley, Volcom

and Billabong, and the best-selling shirts bare these brands. The

most popular pair of shorts this fall is the Hurley Commando 03,

brown, with cargo pockets. And the most popular color in men's

clothes -- also brown.

"Brown is the color of the summer," Nichols said. "Anything brown

sells. Shirts, shorts, hats, shoes."

* JENNY MARDER covers City Hall. She can be reached at (714)

965-7173 or by e-mail at jenny.marder@latimes.com.

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