Talking about trends

"Wassup bra-ski?" Translation: "What are you doing?"

As times change the language and clothing that youth use to identify themselves often tails closely behind the latest fashions and trends.

Some students of today probably wouldn't dare be caught uttering yesterday's slang or donning the duds of the past -- or would they?

Clothing and language adaptations like bell-bottom pants and the saying "groovy, baby" derived from the "olden days" often find their way into today's young lifestyles.

"They're not bell-bottoms, they're flared jeans," insisted Moffat County High School junior Thea Sharp recently to a classmate in defense of the pants of choice for many teenagers.

According to a sampling of teenagers from Moffat County High School, what's hot and what's not depends on an individual sense of style.

However, what many students want to wear and clothes that are readily available in teen clothing stores are off limits because of dress code violations there.

Spaghetti straps, short or low-cut shirts and tight jeans aren't allowed. Pocket chains, spiked hair and clothing that advertises alcohol or with inappropriate slogan are also out of the question.

While some students inevitably push the rules, others are good about abiding by the dress code, said high school Wood Shop teacher Craig Conrad.

"The way I look at it is, we're supposed to be in an learning institution," he said. "I find it to be distracting to kids. They have a lot of other things on their minds and when (students) are scantily clad, it's easier for their minds to wander."

Students are divided on the issue of whether the dress code cuts into their personal style.

Senior Brittany Carter agreed that students should display some discretion in what they choose to wear to school, but that choice is up to individual decisions.

"I don' t think we need to go to school looking like prostitutes, but we need to have some standards," she said. "There's some new fashions that show more skin and some of it's OK, but I don't think students should be wearing tube tops."

As a secretary at Craig Middle School, Beth Gilchrist remembers when pogs were all the rage with students there. Today, the game that kept students entertained during lunch hour flipping and matching pieces has been replaced with Yu-Gi-Oh! -- a fantasy-like card game.

CD players and Gameboys or other electronic devices are banned at the school because they distract from the learning environment, she said.

Harry Potter books and the movie "Finding Nemo" continue to be big hits among students, she said.

But the language students now use also has changed over the years, Gilchrist added.

"In the hallways, I hear, "That's sick!" or "That's tight!" she said, of phrases which translate to something like, "That's agreeable."

As the school's self-dubbed "fashion police," Gilchrist is responsible for keeping students covered up if they come to school dressed in violation of the code.

"I hate it," she said. "I usually try to solve the situation with a sweatshirt or we have school T-shirts. The way I look at it is would I want my daughter to be wearing that?"

Gilchrist noted the inconsistencies between what kinds of clothing sold in stores and what students are allowed to wear to school.

"Unfortunately what's hot right now, isn't the best choices for kids to wear to school," she said. "I liked it when capri pants were in because they cover almost everything."

According to some high school students, style is defined more as who you are then what you wear.

"For some people, it's all about what you wear, but for others, it's just being casual," said junior Lea Johnson.

Sharp added that it's not what you look like or what you're into that's important, after all.

"I just wear what I like to wear," she said. "If people have their own style, I respect that. I think people respect me more for who I am than what I wear."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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