Archive for Monday, September 21, 2009


Beyond labels: Lawrence teens get thrifty when it comes to fashion

Lawrence High school     senior Gypsy Williams.

Lawrence High school senior Gypsy Williams.

September 21, 2009


Lawrence High senior Nikki Walker is wearing a blazer from Urban Outfitters, skinny jeans and wing tip shoes.

Lawrence High senior Nikki Walker is wearing a blazer from Urban Outfitters, skinny jeans and wing tip shoes.

With today’s economy, more and more teens are worrying about how they look on the outside rather than what name is sewn into the back of their clothing.

Labels are losing importance, and thrift stores are getting teenaged foot traffic.

“I think you can find something good at almost any store you go to,” says Free State senior Emily Johnson. “It’s all about how you put it together.”

Johnson says while she still goes to mainstream stores like H&M; and Forever21, some of her best finds come at Wildman Vintage, such as a pair of $20 high quality leather cowboy boots.

She also takes inspiration and clothing from her mother’s closet.

“I borrow a lot of my mom’s clothes,” Johnson says. “My mom has really good style.”

But it’s not like all labels have gone to the wayside.

“I think they’re important to some people,” says Lawrence High School senior Gypsy Williams. “Not to me, necessarily, but some people want to have certain labels to make them look like they have a certain amount of money.”

Williams says thrift stores are cheaper and likes clothes that are already worn in because they’re more comfortable.

Her favorite find is a pair of Liz Claiborne pink and white polka dot shoes that she calls “old lady shoes.”

“I think they were a quarter,” Williams says. “But I’ve worn them every day for about three years.”

While Williams actually shops at thrift stores, she says some people spend lots of money trying to look like they made great finds at resale shops.

“The whole hipster thing is in so a lot of times people try to look poor,” she says. “They’ll spend a bunch of money on looking like they got stuff from thrift stores.

HS senior Kyler Thomann also took to vintage stores because of the deals.

“I was tired of paying $40 for a shirt,” he says.

Plus, recycling fashion means taking a walk back in time.

“You feel like a walking history book,” he says.

But Thomann also notes that labels are in for certain students.

“Some people are still into the Abercrombie, American Eagle look,” he says. “I’ve always shopped at vintage stores.”

Williams will even alter some pieces to make her own style.

“I go to the social service league a lot and sew stuff or just cut stuff up,” she says.

Free State senior Julien Stockwell is a regular at Arizona Trading Company in downtown Lawrence. He says his fashion sense has no bounds, but includes shorts and wearing patterns on patterns.

“I definitely don’t have money spurting out of my ends, so it’s always nice to get it a little cheaper,” Stockwell says. “I always can find what I’m looking for at the resale stores.”

Stockwell says his group of friends don’t need to have labels to make them feel good about what they’re sporting.

“There’s certain things that you specifically shop for, like a Hanes T-shirt or a North Face jacket,” he says. “Other than that, labels have just gone with our money.”


Christine Anderson 8 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for showing the young woman in the first outfit from the waist up. I saw this in the printed edition today-what were you thinking??? Freedom of fashion, if it can be called that, is one thing. However, the photo in the printed ed shows way too much of her upper thighs. Good grief, the mini-skirt she's wearing barely covers anything. Then the "hose" exposes even more. And, is this young woman not a minor??? I went to a public school. Hardly victorian. Still, if we had dared to show up at school dressed like that, the nurse or female gym teacher would have given us the choice of putting on a pair of gym shorts, or being sent home. And no, this was not the 1950's; it was '79 to '82.

Brendan Lawrence 8 years, 6 months ago

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RogueThrill 8 years, 6 months ago

I would be less concerned with a high school girl showing a little flesh than that pasty skinned guy wearing the jorts.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 6 months ago

Misplaced, you chose the right nick. Your views about the girl's outfits are so... backwards. You are 'misplaced' in time indeed.

George_Braziller 8 years, 6 months ago

Cheesehead -- Sorry to say it, but you're showing your Victorian side. My mom had a hotpants suit in the early '70s that showed more leg. So did all the other women in the really conservative small farm community in the middle of Kansas where I grew up. That was what was en vogue.

Danimal 8 years, 6 months ago

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mr_right_wing 8 years, 6 months ago

Huh....she looks kinda familiar... Oh, wait...that's what 90% of the girls down on mass. look line (just some have more piercings and tats.)

frank mcguinness 8 years, 6 months ago

Danimal, Just upset you can't show off your thunder thighs?

audibleangel 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh come on, haha you forum clowns make me wish my old crew weren't mostly grown up / fighting overseas. Walking down the street in a large group of kids with mohawks and combat boots... everyone either gave you a look of confusion or disgust, or asked to take our pictures.

Its unfair to associate alternative styles with drug use. Your nicely-dressed offspring could easily be stealing oxycodones out of your medicine cabinet & toking everyday during lunch break. These kids aren't like that, so show some respect. Did you forget what it was like to be young already? :)

eric mckee 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey, Danimal thats so not nice of you to say. These are good kids and not strung out crack heads or hoes. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say it at all. Kids should be kids. I use to color my hair black ant wear liberty spikes on my head when I was 17 at the outhouse. Give me a break!

Mike Blur 8 years, 6 months ago

One of the kids mentioned in this article is a child of a friend of mine. She's a great parent, a free thinker and neat person to know, and her child does not deserve sniping by the anonymous peanut gallery here at

However, being familiar with cheesehead's and danimal's comment histories, it's not at all surprising how negative and close-minded you two are.

Frightwig 8 years, 6 months ago

Thrift stores and consignment shops are much better than much of the new retail. I bought a lightly used pair of Doc Martens shoes at a consignment shop for twelve bucks and they lasted seven years. A twelve dollar WalMart shoe would be poorly constructed, uncomfortable and fall apart in no time. Same thing with furniture. Skip the IKEA and Nebraska Furniture Mart particleboard/glue nonsense and find a solid used piece of furniture that will last. Maybe it needs to be painted or re-stained. No big deal; make it look the way you want and enjoy it!

jscollon 8 years, 6 months ago

Unlike some here..I do appreciate the diversity of clothing and fashion. While I do not strive to look like all displayed here, I am proud that they have courage enough to try something new. Nothing is ever accomplished if everyone is afraid to push the envelope. I work in the fashion industry, and if we stuck to the status quo, we would be out of a job. Fashion must be forward in order to move forward. I understand that certain individuals are offended by the amount of skin they see, however, it is part of life. It is counter-productive to attack what you do not understand.

blindrabbit 8 years, 6 months ago

She (the one on the cover) looks great.

jcwills 8 years, 6 months ago

i happen to know the girl pictured (the one everyone seems so inclined to disscuss), and she is an absolutely wonderful and extremely intelligent young woman. as is her mother. to those of you making comments meant to do nothing but attack someone you don't even know, grow up and find something else to do besides spending your days writing rude and senseless comments (yes, you "danimal" and "cheesehead"). i would love to see either of you have the guts to let your "fasion sense" be made public. yeah, probably not going to happen. seriously? attacking a young girl based on her clothing? a girl you don't know anything about? seriously? grow up!

pecopoopoopants 8 years, 6 months ago

It never fails to amaze me how rude some 'adults' can be when it comes to things that they don't agree with or understand. I am horrified that such comments were directed to children over their clothing, especially from such a 'liberal' town such as Lawrence. I remember being that age and seeing Larrytown as a mid-west oasis of acceptability. I grew up and so has my views. I've since learned that Lawrence is filled with nothing more than a bunch of self-righteous, over-educated bigots. If attacking young women about their clothing is what gets your motor running than heaven help us all. All I can say is keep commenting and talking so I'll know when to cross the street to avoid narrow-mindedness.

For those of you with less than complimentary comments and who also have children, I suggest you get down on your knees and pray to your God that they aren't subjected to this criticism for what they wear, say or believe in. This is the land of the Brave and Free......last time I checked.

Joel Hood 8 years, 6 months ago


You’re right. We don’t know this girl. If you describe her that way, I’m sure she is wonderful. But, click on the picture above to get the entire shot of her. She is in a leopard mini-mini with shredded fishnet stockings.

I too have a young daughter. If she wore this and came up to me and asked, “Daddy, what statement does this outfit make?” I’d tell her the truth, “Darling, it says ‘easy access’.”

What we wear projects an image to the public in general. After all, everything is communication. If you don’t care what image your daughter projects to the general public, that is your business. But my teenage daughter would never wear something like that – even on Halloween.

mom_of_three 8 years, 6 months ago

If she wants to dress like that, and her parents and school let her, well, then fine. I don't know if the hubby would let ours out of the house like that, just because the skirt is a little short.
But so far, mine are still on the very conservative side.

megiddo 8 years, 6 months ago

@jayhawkerjoel I too have a young daughter. If she wore this and came up to me and asked, “Daddy, what statement does this outfit make?” I’d tell her the truth, “Darling, it says ‘easy access’.”

You'd say that to your daughter? Verbatim? You're kind of sickening as a human being.

Joel Hood 8 years, 6 months ago


Don’t twist what I said. If young women are going to wear suggestive clothing, shouldn’t their parents tell them what they are suggesting. I guess fathers having open and frank discussions about lifes harsh reallities makes me a pretty bad guy.

So megiddo, if your daughter wore this out in public, you would be fine with it – right?. I don’t know you so I don’t know if you are stupid or ignorant, but it sickens me to think of fathers who are ok with their teenage daughter wearing something like this.

Herb Derpson 8 years, 6 months ago

LOL at all the olds getting worked up by the fashion choice(s).

Mike Wagner 8 years, 6 months ago

This is a lead story? Must be pretty slow in larryville today!!!

9070811 8 years, 6 months ago

well for starters, those aren't hose, they're spandex leggings. Which happen to be quite comfortable.

9070811 8 years, 6 months ago

About the fishnet girl, why does it matter to you what she's wearing? I don't understand your concern. She can be whatever she wants. Don't like the way she dresses - don't imitate or look.

blindrabbit 8 years, 6 months ago

ku-painter: I'm 70 and I think she looks fantastic. Maybe in Manhattan or Leavenworth she might be a little cutting edge; but not Lawrence.

scallywag 8 years, 6 months ago

I think it is a bit ridiculous how worked up people have gotten over an outfit that is not revealing in any way. The skirt she is wearing is not any shorter than the majority of shorts that I see on girls at the high school everday. If the article had a photo of a girl wearing a KU t-shirt and the short jean skirts that I see on young women on any given day downtown, I doubt there would have been any negative comments. For those of you who do not know Gypsy, this is a kid that is getting good grades in school, is very creative and talented, is funny, smart, and stays out of trouble. She is a joy to be around. Shame on those of you who feel that it is in anyway beneficial to pick on a young girl because she chooses NOT to follow the crowd.

puppyfeathers 8 years, 6 months ago

She is as radiant and luminous as her mother. At least she is comfortable enough in her own skin to dress as she pleases and has a mom that encourages her to have a mind of her own. I think that Gyspy is very fortunate to have such support. Thank the stars that she isn't another cookie cutter we see wearing some Abercrombie, American Outfitters, Ugs or some lame, tired sweatpants outfit with "PINK" printed across the butt. THAT is getting soooo old. I don't know about all of you complaining, fashionista lemmings, but this girl is a breath of fresh air.

pissedinlawrence 8 years, 6 months ago


you are the nasty one for even thinking like that. you shouldn't look at young girls like that, sicko

geraldstokes 8 years, 6 months ago

Man I walk around every day seeing these clones and fratbots in there jayhawk shirts thinking there something else not realizing there just followers of the same old Bull$#!% and Ljworld does something really cool and involves youth culture and lets the different kids express them selves for all to see and basically all you college kids with your normal fashion statements and run of the norm fashion taste talk crap on these kids of the future should you folks be more concerned with passing school that mommy and daddy is paying for than how some one is dressing to express them selves Well word to the wise I happen to be a world wide success and my friend gypsy and all her friends are going to become successfull and all you jayhawk sweatshirt wearing conformist will be bitter slaves to the system .

mtorkzadeh 8 years, 4 months ago

being a young woman growing up in today's society and their standards, i recognize that young girls everywhere are forgetting their self-respect and individuality. i am all for self expression and the freedom to dress as liked. however, i agree with my mother misplacedcheesehead when she say's women years ago had a much better taste in dress. so many times i can't count i'll see some college age girl or even younger wearing what they call "a skirt" or outfit completely displaying their bodies for everyone to see. they have have no self respect for themselves. women will often dress skantlily clad and then get upset when a man "looks or lears at them"..YOU CHOSE TO DRESS LIKE THAT! do not act innocent like you have idea why! i admit i like a nice pair of comfy jeans and snug t shirt..but that is far different from what young girls consider "fashionable or instyle". and to the person who commented about my mother being sick..she's is far from it. she has instilled a sense of morality and respect in me from day 1 that everyone including our little girls should learn.

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