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Spikes and studs for a punk rock look are dominating this season

By Dennise Smith

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sugar and spice and everything nice? Not when it comes to fashion trends for tween and junior girls this season.

Gone are the watery romantic pastels of fall/winter 2012, the prim 50s silhouettes and the hyper-feminine details such as the delicate floral prints, ruffles and lacy inserts. Just try to find a ruffle or anything lighter than neon pink this year.

Fall/winter 2013 features a tough rocker girl styling with lots of attitude and spunk.

It's a triumphant rebirth of 80s style punk rocker and early 90s grunge rocker look -- a style formerly reserved for ruffians and rebel-rousers. The elements dominating this season's hottest fashion trend are black leather, metal studs and spikes, graphic tees and combat boots.

Jewelry is similarly tough and edgy: spiked and studded bracelets and earrings, chunky metal "dog chain" style necklaces, and long and dangly cross pendants.

Naturally, for any rock 'n' roll or punk rock look, the color black reigns supreme. Accent colors this year are the more gothic shades of claret, steel gray and army/camouflage green. The sacred tartan plaid of the London punk rocker is back, usually in the traditional red and black, but also in royal blue and black, and the fabric is frequently embellished with metal studs.

Also, no punk rock or grunge look would be complete without an army green piece in the wardrobe, preferably a cargo jacket or slouchy moss-colored sweater.

One essential part of this look is a leather or faux leather motorcycle jacket or bomber jacket. That this is the "must-have" piece should not be a surprise to even the most casual mall-goer. Nearly every junior store in Charleston Town Center, even those known for more conservative looks, is carrying a variety of faux leather jackets now.

 If you can find a jacket with studs or spikes, such as those featured in this story, all the better. For the more adventurous types, try faux leather tights with stud or spike detailing on the legs. Conversely, those seeking a more "restrained" version of the punk look (if there is such a thing) should choose a sweater or blouse with leather accents.

Graphic tees with fringe elements and/or asymmetrical hems are another key item for this look. They are typically longer and worn knotted at the side and layered over knit tanks. Popular graphics now are retro-inspired, featuring popular punk bands from the 80s and 90s. Also hot are tees featuring tigers, animal prints, glittery abstract diamond shapes, and Masonic images such as pyramids, stars and crosses.

As for bottoms, the printed legging and jegging (jeans-legging) trend continues. The rock 'n' roll style legging will be printed with tribal or geometric graphics, or a tartan print, which looks particularly great with a leather jacket. Very Vivienne Westwood, for you fashion historians.

The skinny jean is still the most popular denim silhouette this season; however, the waist is getting higher and the jean is acid washed and/or metal studded. Distressed-styled jeans continue to be hot right now and work particularly well with the punk rock look.

Also, shorts! While most of us tend to think of shorts as being strictly for summer and have already packed them away with those gauzy sundresses, they can be worn in fall and sometimes even in the winter.

This look is a staple in Southern California, but wearing shorts out of season on the East Coast requires different styling. Here, choose shorts with a heavier fabric and in a dark color, and wear them with printed or cable knit tights. Fall and winter shorts also should be worn only with boots or booties.

Which bring us to another VIP in every fashion trend: footwear. For the rock 'n' roller look, it is boots, boots, and ... oh ... boots. Lace-up combat or field style boots, Doc Martens and motorcycle boots with lots of metal hardware are the essential type of footwear this season.

For those girls who prefer the laid-back, West Coast, grunge look of denim and graphic tees, high-top Chuck Taylor's sneakers are a great alternative.

While these looks are not for the timid, what teen girl is anymore?

 It's the era of the strong, confident and independent-minded girl, so it is only fitting that this trend would emerge. For those of us who wore these looks when they first came out and the goal was primarily to create shock and awe, the irony of seeing punk rock as the "in" fashion inspires an energetic fist pump in the air.

Now, off to find those old Doc Martens I used to own.

Dennise Smith is a Charleston lawyer, fashion designer and co-founder of the local arts group Nomadic Tribes Collective.


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