By contributing writer Heather Fried

Help! I'm surrounded by fashion elitists!! According to them, I am to fashion what Donald Trump is to hair. I walk among these elitists, talk with them daily, eat with them, drink with them, even inhabit the same dwellings as they do. They are my friends and I am the fashion enemy.

The elitists I speak of don't come from the high-class fashion districts of New York or even the brazen LA fashion scene. Most of them come from one central location: Highlands Ranch Colorado. I'd like to say that they mean well, but what they mean is far from well. They stand for all that is evil and uncomfortable with their witch-like pointy shoes and their tight, “booby” shirts. Most of my crimes of fashion these days, like the failure to know the difference between casual jeans and dressed up jeans, are of the forgivable kind. Accordingly, the elitists insult me in a joking, friendly manner. Had they known me before college, a friendship would've been impossible.

Elementary School – Sweating it Out

I've got a history of bad fashion choices dating back to elementary school when I fought my mom daily on outfit choices. I refused to wear anything but sweat pants. It didn't matter the color—hot pink was preferred, but poop-brown was cool too, as long as it was sweat pants. My mom didn't even have a chance to get me in those unheard of things called jeans, acid-washed for whose pleasure I don't know. I also sported some gargantuan, pink glasses that spanned my brow to the middle of my tiny nose. I still refute my mom's claim that these frames were my choice, mainly because the glasses were the root of my everlasting emotional scars. It's possible they're even the cause of my unfashionable style today. At that point, it didn't matter what I wore because all anyone noticed was the huge alien force that had landed and taken over my face. I was a hopeless wreck.

Middle School – Neon to Normal

Hey, what's the bright idea?

With my glasses far behind me, I started off middle school with high hopes for a new reputation. I remember my first day of sixth grade well. It was a tough call deciding between the neon-green and neon-pink running shorts. Inevitably I went with the more embarrassing pink. The white trash tank top I picked to wear would match either of the blinding pairs of shorts, since the front of it had a hot-pink coyote howling up to a neon-green moon in a stylish, paisley, bandana. In seventh grade I began hanging with the “preppy” clique and started dressing normal for a while. But normalcy was just the brief phase before “gangster.”

High School – G-Funk Era

My gangster phase came with its own line of floor-scrapping, baggy Jyncos that were always at least three sizes too big, a variety of badass No Fear t-shirts, and Vans skater shoes. The clothes and the attitude lasted into mid-ninth grade when I realized that guys didn't like girls that looked and acted tougher than they did. I attempted normalcy once again but faltered occasionally as in the day when I wore two completely different shoes and failed to notice until seventh period. From then on I thought I had it together but the elitists continue to accuse and persecute me for fashion crimes.

College – Guilty as Charged

It's painful getting ready for a night on the town with the elitists. My first choice in outfit is always a no-go, sealed by a disgusted look and the simple phrase, “No.” A shirt change is the most frequently suggested provision, so I venture back into my room to try again. I grab a more daring piece: My strappy, low cut, eyelet shirt. To my dismay the elitists were “never a big fan of eyelet.” Now I'm too tired to try anymore so I go with a basic, pre-approved dress shirt with a black cardigan on top. The boring, predictable, and most importantly, safe choice.

If I've got any cool shoes, it's because of my boyfriend, ironically. At any one point, he is buying one pair of shoes on Ebay, selling another on Ebay, and pretending to have the money to buy a pair when we pass Foot Locker in the mall. This, too, is a topic of concern for the Ranch girls. In an attempt to try to conform to their wickedness, I bought shoes that almost come to a painful point. I presented them proudly to prove my attempt at the dark side, only to be told that I've got a characteristic “mommy style” to my shoe choice.

“My mom would love those shoes. In fact, she probably has a pair of the exact same ones!” one elitist proclaimed. I couldn't argue because my mom loved them, too; she was the one who suggested I get them. To me, “mommy style” is better than forcing my foot into a point so dangerously small it may mold my foot into a legitimate weapon.

I also don't understand the whole matching belt, shoes, and purse thing. I'm forbidden to wear anything but black shoes with a black purse. Why?! How can I be expected to constantly change purses because I forget something important like my wallet. And who said navy or midnight blue can't go with black? Half the time I can't even tell the difference between black and midnight blue because it's midnight, and everything's dark anyway. Belts can really get ridiculous. The whole premise of a belt is to keep your pants up, right? So why is it that I “really need to wear a belt with that”? Not only does the belt have to match the shoes and the purse, but it needs to be exact, scientifically exact. If my brown belt happens to be a little darker than my brown shoes and is way too dark for my tan purse, the whole outfit's a joke to the elitists. But I wear it anyway.

As I continue to defy the laws of fashion I can't help but wonder if I'm really so deviant. The elitists are the ones spending all their money on clothes, constantly revamping their wardrobe. They are the ones that must stay on top of the trends, never satisfied with their current attire.

No thanks, I'll just keep the shoe on the same foot.

Crimes of Fashion, Part 2 >>