‘The Real Teens of Orange County’ explain their (ridiculously stylish) back-to-school aesthetics

Being a student, there’s something extra exciting about the back-to-school season. The new year presents itself as the perfect opportunity to recollect or reinvent yourself, i.e. personal style.

For teens in Orange County, style is perennial but the fall season is especially lively for fashion. Not limited by the weather, fall is one of those rare seasons where contrasting pieces like, bright colored skirts and chunky boots completely complement each other.

Here, Imani Brutlag, Isabella Ross, Lauren Shaw and Caraleen Fisher share about the thought process behind their back-to-school aesthetics.

SEARCHING: Junior, Imani Brutlag from Mater Dei High School, prefers CDs over Spotify. “There is something special about older music,” Brutlag said. (Photo by Ellie Crabbe)

Can you explain your look?

I’ve got these pants, bell bottoms, which I painted on a couple days ago because I was bored. 

Have you been painting for a while?

I’ve been painting all my life. It started off with my piggy bank, I painted flowers on that. And since I was little I didn’t know how to do flowers completely right so I kinda put some circles together and call it a flower.

What’s your style inspiration?

Definitely that late ’70s, boho kind of look. I like looking at ’70s inspiration websites, sounds really cheesy, but there’s an Instagram called 70seuphoria it has pictures of Stevie Nick’s outfits and stuff like that. But back then definitely Stevie Nicks and ’70s groupies. The outfits are amazing. Back then they set a lot of high style standards.

Do you prefer new or vintage?

I feel like thrift shopping is a better alternative to shopping at the mall. For everything you buy from the mall, it’s new clothes, every single time. It’s wasteful. While thrift shopping is recycling old clothes but they can still be new. You can make them your own. At the end of the day, it’s the same clothes and It’s better for the environment because you’re not making new things, new waste.

DENIM ON DENIM: Senior Isabella Ross from Mater Dei High School embraces household vintage pieces. “The denim jacket was from my mom and the golden goose sneakers are from my grandma,” Ross said. (Photo by Ellie Crabbe)

What’s the story with your denim jacket?

Basically, my mom had this jacket when she was in high school and when I started high school she was like “oh, I want to give you something that’s really cute. You can wear it to football games or casually when you go out with your friends, etc.” A lot of people think I put the patches on myself which I didn’t. She got it from Fred Segal when she was in high school and she always kept it. She said if she was gonna keep anything for her daughter, she wanted to keep something that was like a timeless staple piece.

How would you describe California style?

I think it’s laid back and kind of open to expression. Not traditional. The nostalgia of California style has carried over through the years and I think it’s a timeless thing. Especially being from right around the beach, it’s really prevalent. I see a lot of ’90s right now but I think the ’60s and ’70s are the coolest. 

Do you have any people that are fashion icons?

I think Alexa Chung has really good style. She’s good at making her looks classy and on-trend without making it look like she’s sacrificing her personal style for what’s cool right now. So, I like that about her.

5,6,7,8: Freshman Lauren Shaw will attend UCLA this fall, majoring in dance. “I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember,” Shaw said. “I can’t give up now.” (Photo by Ellie Crabbe)

Can you explain your look?

It’s very colorful, it fits my body to accentuate the parts that I like about myself. My necklace is made from my mom, which is really special, because she used to make jewelry when she was in law school.

What would you say is your favorite time period?

I really admire the ’80s as well as the ’70s and but I also like this time period too. I think that we’re finding such cool ways to use fashion and do crazy, out of the ordinary stuff that you might not think of, but it looks amazing. I also like the vintage look.

What would you want your first day outfit to say about you?

I would want to look professional, especially at a college setting. But I would also want to look cute, stand out. I’m going to be dancer at UCLA, so I have dance classes as well as academic, everyday. I think my main attire during college would be more “athleisure” just so that I don’t have to change as much. But yeah, clothes that are comfortable, clothes that make me feel good, clothes that are professional at a university setting.

KEEP CLOSED: Senior Caraleen Fisher from Trabuco Hills High School takes pride in her style. “I want my outfit to say that this is me and nobody else is,” Fisher said. (Photo by Ellie Crabbe)

How would you describe your style?

I mix edgy with girly. I think it’s good to have a good mix of both. Be like tomboy some days, and some days dress girly. I don’t think you have to have a specific, “Oh I like girly stuff” or “I like boy stuff” you can mix the two together.

Does jewelry factor in?

I love jewelry. I like silver, mostly but I think gold is really girly and flattering. I’m not a big fan of mixing metals but some people can pull it off, I don’t think I could. Everything on my shoes, bag, etc its all silver, it has always been more my style. 

Who is your style icon?

I like Bella Hadid I think she has a really good style. But, honestly, I just do whatever I find cute, it doesn’t really have to be a specific style or anything.

What would you want your first day outfit say about you?

I would want it to show that I’m very creative, and unique. Not basic, like an everyday look or anything. I would just be extra. I’m as extra as it gets, honestly and I just not care what other people think.

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