The Valley Looks : Trends Have Little to Do With Specific Designer or Label

The naughty-but-nice set is layered in skintight neon lace from head to toe and favors mismatched, reptilian earrings and ballerina slippers.

The "awesome, stoked-out" (that's Valley talk for extremely cool) Neo-Mod gang favors oversized sweaters with shirttails hanging out, baggy pants and halfways (ankle-length sneakers or boots.)

And the Yuppies can be spotted in most Valley shopping malls wearing brightly colored jogging suits, lots of oversized jewelry, Reebok sneakers (preferably in pastel shades) and pushing the No. 1 Valley accessory--the Aprica baby stroller.

The Valley look, circa 1984-85, doesn't appear to have any relation to the weather, to the hot new status labels in neighboring Beverly Hills, or, for that mater, to the so-called "Valley girl" look several years ago when Moon Zappa first coined the phrase in her popular song entitled "Valley Girl."

Observes Lee Cass, vice president and fashion director of The Broadway, "The Valley look can be summed up in three words in my opinion. Lots of lace, layers and chutzpah. That means nerve."

Cass said there are three big looks distinctive to the San Fernando Valley--none of which have anything to do with a specific designer or label. They are the oversized sweater or shirt worn with either tight jeans, lace tights or full, ankle-length skirts; the Madonna look, based on the singer Madonna's wardrobe as seen on MTV and consisting of lace T-shirt worn under lace blouse worn under big oversized sweater and lace skirt with matching lace leggings; and the jogging suit uniform accessorized with matching sneakers and a lot of jewelry.

"The Valley girl look has sort of grown up, but it still gets its inspiration from sources like the music world." Cass said. "What you also see happening is mothers dressing like their daughters and vice versa. There doesn't seem to be any sort of stigma or taboo about it at all."

Like mother, like daughter? Like dad is more accurate, said Shermans Oaks resident Ellie Alshule, whose 14-year-old daughter is often found rooting through her dad's sweater drawer for extra-large cardigans and pullovers. Does Alshule raid her daughter's closet? "No way. I wear conservative, tailored, mostly designer suits because of my work." She is a certified financial planner for Liden, Cogan and Associates.

"On the other hand, I have seen lots of women try to translate those very trendy, layered lacy looks that their daughters wear. Some of the boutiques here encourage that look on a grander, designer scale, but personally, I think it looks bizarre. I guess I'd have to say that if there is a Valley look, it is extremely trendy, and if you don't watch it, you can easily see yourself coming and going."

June Fitzgerald, director of fashion and project development at Bullock's, agreed that Valley women tend to prefer "trendy" fashions to designer classics.

"In general, I think the Valley customer tends to be much more eclectic than in Beverly Hills," Fitzgerald said. "She things nothing of mixing Norma Kamali with Cathy Hardwick, for example, or Calvin Klein with Anne Klein." Fitzgerald said that along with a freer attitude toward dressing, Valley women "dress to be noticed more than women in Beverly Hills."

Nancy Seidman of Studio City, mother of two children and former resident of Michigan, is more direct, "I call it the overglossed look," Seidman said. "When certain Valley women dress up, they always look like they have too much of everything--too many layers, too many colors, too much jewelry and too much lip gloss. Give me a fresh-faced preppie any day."

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