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Lacey Howell graduated BRHS and sported animal print and pleather pants to keep up with the fashion of the early 2000s. 

It is the 20th anniversary of Jennifer Lopez’s debut album On the 6. When I hear If You Had My Love, I’m transported back to Benjamin Russell High School in the fall of 1999, and I’m a freshman in a too-short skirt looking for a wild Friday night in a parking lot somewhere. I think everyone in small towns grew up hanging in parking lots. 

As a teen in the early 2000s, back-to-school fashion meant JanSport backpacks and anything from American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and the Gap. After Christmas break, 30 girls would show up at school in the same Gap sweater. And there was a lot of animal print – I mean a lot.

Music and fashion go hand in hand. Today’s teens are using Snapchat while wearing their rompers and jammin’ to Lizzo. One day when Lizzo is in her blues era, they will wonder where the time went.

I do not know about you, but I feel like fashion is a little bit “anything goes” right now. Or maybe it’s not, and I just work a lot and live in my barn clothes. So, when in doubt, call the experts.

I checked in with some very reliable sources to get the low down on what’s hot for teens for fall (and in that case, with some minor adjustments, what’s hot for 30-plus-year-olds, too).

My sister-in-law, Mckenzie Shaffer, is my trend guru. Fashion and home décor are both her career and passion, so I tapped her for some insight.

Her favorite apps for fashion inspiration include LiketoKnow.it and Instagram. Give her a follow on both @mckenziemshaffer.

Alexander City has many great downtown shops filled to the brim with late summer and early fall fashion. Amy Hill, part owner of Cloud Nine on Main Street, reiterated that young teens are shopping for cute tops and tees that pair well with jeans. Due to dress codes, they cannot wear distressed jeans to school or tank tops. I was sent home for a too-strappy tank once myself. Luckily they let the painted-on pleather pants slide (come on, it was the Britney Spears days, ya’ll).

I often personally refer to ManRepeller.com for cultural trends. It’s a hilarious fashion commentary blog. I scanned it to see if there was anything we might need to know. But I always take it with a grain of salt because the girls writing it are in New York, and sometimes, the looks just don’t translate here in the hot, muggy South.

Good luck to all our local kids headed back to school, and remember to study hard and shop local!

Mckenzie Shaffer’s Hot List:

Animal print (Yay! Hello, year 2000); Bandanas/scarves; Neon colors; Statement jewelry; and Distressed everything (shorts, jeans, sweaters)

The authors of Man Repeller say what’s in this year are:

Block Heels; Birkenstocks; Culottes (Dang, I thought we’d dodged that revival!); High-waisted pants are still cool; and Neon 

~ Lacey Howell is a recovering English major from Auburn who now lives on Lake Martin, sells real estate, rides horses and loves good wine (but isn’t afraid of boxed wine). Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @LaceyHowell.