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Hipper Than Thou

Pint-sized Pack: Please, please, make the bad little backpacks go away.

This month, we introduce a new feature to separate the fashion victors from the fashion victims

By Alissa Pea and Julie Esq

Are my eyes deceiving me, or is that the same girl replicated three times over?! Welcome to the ultra-hip new and improved La la la Mission District ... 16th and Valencia ... yup, corridor of the cool, slick and too-young-to-be-jaded.

It's a Sunday morning, it's freezing (as per California standards) and I'm doing my usual belated morning coffee thang (are there too many crepe and coffee places or what?) when we spot these three grungadelic cats. Placed on their table in a series of three I see accordingly three muffins, three espressos and the three little piggies lighting cigarettes simultaneously ... clones!!

She (they?) was once a lovely young thing, yet under those pimp sunglasses, overprocessed hair with snappy barrettes and too-cool-to-be-you thrifty garb, one could hardly discern that. This brings us to the central point--somebody call the fashion police! I'm panicking. I suppose I deserve it for subjecting myself over and over to the Gen X (can I still utter that without getting shot?) world epicenter.

Mother of G-d! Why do I have this overwhelming urge to pick up a high-powered hose and spray this place down? I'm still waiting for the GAP to buy out the check-cashing place. Run 'em through, boys. Purify. Cleanse. Simplify. Did someone say J. Crew? Come to Bebe, baby. Two stops on BART and a million miles away.

Why is it that they stare at me like I'm the fashion reject of the neighborhood? Is there a problem with my all-black (look, ma, it matches!) attire and my sexy-girl boots? Pardon me, but when did personal hygiene go out of style? Seems to me there just ain't no consistency in the current fashion wave.

Ready? Let's begin with the three Starlets--Jane 1, 2, and 3. See ya, Betsey Johnson, and buh-bye, Ben Davis, a.k.a. Monkeyhead. Your papa was an orangutan, and yo momma wore gorilla boots.

Beware: The Itty Bitty Backpack Committee--we're coming to take yours away.

And as for those pseudo auto-body-shop shirts with the stripes and the name embroidered on the pocket constructed from double-wide polyester thread (and consequently highly uncomfortable), you know they've got to have an indefinite shelf-life since we cannot rely on them rotting on the stinky do-me-till-I-die racks--I say ship 'em out! It's about time Micronesia heard of Nirvana anyhow.

And what is up with the horn-rimmed nerd glasses? It's all about tortoise-shell Armani frames--or at least get your hands on one of the million and one knock-offs, poseur.

Throw away the satin skirts (try the new S-T-R-E-T-C-H satin pants, they're new, they're everywhere, they fit, we'll hate them soon enough anyhow), the crop tops and those snippy snappy barrettes that don't hold your hair anyway.

Trade in that skateboard for some swing lessons. I would gladly personally host a "Save the World From Leftover Grunge" event to trade in those baggy-saggy clothes for some spiffy duds!

And for G-d's sake, grow up! It's sooo much nicer to sit around and feign sophistication, dontcha know? We survived the recession, it's no wonder we wanna look pretty. Lo siento, Urban OUTfitters.

If you don't have the money, pretend. Learn to sew. Beg. Borrow. Steal. Better yet, work! Stock your refrigerator with some Costco olives and a gallon of Ketel One (it doesn't actually come in that size but it should), pick up a couple of glasses from Cost Plus and voilà! Insta-sophisticate.

Repeat after me. Black on black on black on black--you just can't lose. Throw a red shirt in there from time to time. It always matches, and it never fails you. Check the wardrobe for that 9:1 black-to-white ratio.

Pop those classic flicks in and emulate those Audrey moves and those Jimmy swanks ...

Sum it up, maestro:

Pretty is in ... Ugly is out

Sultry is in ... Slutty is out

Sleek is in ... Sloppy is out

Classy is in ... Crusty is not

Refined is in ... Regular is not

Tailored is in ... Guess what?! Baggy is out! Repeat, out!!

Pull up your pants! (Not just one pant leg either--what is up with THAT!!?? Another chapter ...)

Shall we pull up another chair for you? Act now--we'll be swingin' right along before you know it.

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From the February 1997 issue of the Metropolitan

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