Aspen Princess: Trying not to follow the herd |

Aspen Princess: Trying not to follow the herd

Alison Berkley Margo
The Aspen Princess

It always amazes me how every time I get a pedicure I think I’ve picked the most brilliant, original and chic color, only to discover that every woman in yoga is sporting the exact same shade.

This is how trends work; it seeps into the pop culture psyche just enough that we are convinced we came up with the idea ourselves, but really, we’re all just following the herd.

Think about it: in almost every creative field, from fashion and interior design to manufacturing, everyone comes up with a similar style at the same time. How many gray and white home interiors have you seen lately? Anyone you know have a white subway tile backsplash in their kitchen? Why is it that we all dress the same, in clothes that aren’t even necessarily flattering, because that’s what’s on the racks these days? And why is every designer in every field producing similar looks at the same time? And what’s with recycling looks from past decades? It was bad enough the first time! Plus, has anyone ever had a truly original idea?

This has been on my mind lately primarily in terms of fashion and interior design. Let’s talk fashion first.

There are so many clothing trends that don’t work for me. Yet I find myself revamping my closet with what’s current, even though what I had before was much more flattering. When you are 5 feet tall and your inseam is smaller than your waist size, you need clothes that elongate you. When you are thick through the middle with a short torso, you want low rise pants that sit on your hips and create the illusion of a waist. When you have short arms and legs like a penguin, you want a long pant leg with a hem wide enough to hide tall shoes so it looks like your legs are longer than they are. Every short girl knows it’s easier to gain 5 inches than to lose 5 pounds. The shoe will always fit.

A few current trends that aren’t working for me: The first is the high waist. It appears as though the 80s have returned and so have nightmares of high school as I struggle to button the fly of my 501 Levi’s cutoffs I bought from Free People, where the sales girl assured me they would stretch out after wear. They have not. You would think a high waist would camouflage the muffin top that is the only part of me that has plumped with age, but all it does is squeeze the fat and push it out and up and over, like toothpaste when you squeeze it from the middle of the tube. It also cuts my already short torso in half. I relished the low-rise pants (a la Britney Spears) of the late 90s and early 2000s when my torso was long and my belly was free. It just felt so much more comfortable and was 10 times more flattering.

To make matters worse, now I am expected to wear cropped pants that have a wide leg (I think we called these culottes back in the day). The only thing worse than a high waist is a high waist with a short leg. If elfin is the look I’m going for, this is it.

Two more: bike shorts and Birkenstocks. Yes, people are wearing bike-style shorts as fashion. Bike shorts are so unflattering I won’t even wear them when I’m biking, opting instead for a skort or even a dress instead. There is nothing worse than the sausage casing feel of Lycra squeezing my thighs, especially when the elastic leaves a mark. Thanks to the Kardashians, women everywhere are roaming around the city confusing their clueless men with this horrible look.

And yes, those horrendous shoes we used to call “Jesus slippers” when we were pretending to be hippies in the 80s are back. The good news is they’ve at least been updated from the original hideous brown suede to some fun colors and metallics. My first thought was “No way,” and then “So not my style” and then “They make white ones?” to “Those platforms are kind of cool!” Yes, I have been parading around Basalt in white platform leather sandals with the wide straps and oversize buckles from J Slides, and the only people who have complimented me on them are the old Aspen hippies who came to Basalt to die.

When it comes to interior design, I’m always grilling people in the industry about how to avoid trends whenever I write home design stories for the local magazines. They always respond by telling me they seek out design that is “timeless” and “classic enough not to look dated” yet 90% of the homes I’ve written about in the last two years have white and gray interiors. Now that I’m wanting to remodel my own home, I’ve been pouring over design photos online and trying to identify not only my own style preferences, but what would work for a 1970s A-Frame. Though I like to think I’m inclined toward modern, Ryan says my aesthetic never left California and that I always gravitate toward anything beachy. When a friend of ours walked into our house for the first time and said just that, that it was “beachy,” I ran straight to Distinguished Boards & Beams in Carbondale and bought a bunch of super pricey reclaimed barn wood and made a big accent wall — so there’s your mountain reference, and another trend that I’m told has already come and gone.

Then when we decided to update our mother-in-law apartment I thought, “This would be a great test run for the main house.” Instead of modern, I found myself ordering furniture that would be classified as “transitional,” like the studded faux linen headboard and velvet throw pillows.

And what did I choose for my color scheme? Gray and white.

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