My children have been on spring break this week. The Mister scheduled a day out of the office on Tuesday so we could have as many adventures as the day would allow. Having already had our fair share of excitement over the weekend when a road trip included far too many bodily fluids, we decided to keep Tuesday mostly low key. So we packed ourselves, 5 strong, into the family vehicle and headed down the interstate to Lincoln to check out the Nebraska State Museum aka Morrill Hall. The two olders are huge fans of the elephants and dinosaurs. And the hubs and I are huge fans of stepping back on the grass at our Alma Mater every so often. 

Upon arrival, we found a parking spot in front of my sorority house. I looked at it fondly. Feeling nostalgic, I wondered, why do we ever have to be done with college? And then I reminded myself… I’ve been out of college for over a decade. Wait. What? A decade? Surely not. 

I looked around at the young coeds walking about, and I was confused to say the least. I said to my husband, “I know we’ve been off campus for ten years but did we, per chance, go back in time… instead of forward? I just don’t get it.” Because, the clothes… I just don’t get it. I’ve been noticing lately that I am clearly behind the times regarding what is “in fashion.” This is evidenced by my utter confusion when walking through the Target “juniors” section or in the brief moment I had recently while walking past a Pac Sun window display, but seeing it in action the other day cemented my concerns.

 I am completely out of touch with what is cool. 

I’ve actually never been what I would call, “fashionable.” My best years of fashion may have been as a child when my mother dressed me. She has style and a love for clothing, and I had bows and dresses for daaaays. And then, in high school, I did what every small town midwest girl did and let the Buckle and Doc Marten define my wardrobe choices. After that, well, I just imitated the best I could and lived in borrowed clothing. And of course now, I am the mother of the slicky pant trio most every single day, and I fall back on my uniform of stretchy black expandawear, v neck tees, and tennies. 

When it comes to what is hanging on the racks and being styled on mannequins, I am totally at a loss. I loved the nineties but the new old fashion trends are a bit befuddling. Could someone please explain to me what some of the current fashions are all about? Some support that will help me navigate the shopping scene? Here are just a few that seem to be having a moment but the minute I even dip my toe in the waters, I realize I am that mom who has lost her fashion mojo. 


1. Leggings

Okay. So I thought I knew what the great legging debate was about. I’d actually just discussed this with one of my besties over the weekend. I thought I knew what leggings were. I thought they were tight, black pants that you wore under long-ish shirts or with a long tee or maybe even to workout in. But I thought wrong. Since we were on campus during a passing period, there was a fair amount of foot traffic, and yet, I only saw ONE girl wearing denim. Everyone else … leggings. And I gathered this from my research {ahem.} — leggings are apparently NOT something you wear to go with a certain type of shirt. They are not the accessory. Leggings are THE main event. As in the most necessary clothing item. And not like, pants-paired-with-something-covering-the-booty. Like, I can totally see that you were born with a crack in your bum pants. I am fully aware that we all have cracks in our bums. I am good without proof on a daily basis. Yet every girl, save one, clearly thought this looked normal. So maybe it is normal and my thoughts on them are abnormal. Regardless, I immediately felt like I was 8200 years old. 


2. White Tube Socks

White tube socks and leggings

They always say “fashion trends are cyclical.” But truly, some should break the cycle and never ever come back. I believe white tube socks were a thing when my dad was a kid because that was the only kind of sock available, or at least that’s the story I tell myself {hi, dad!}. When I was in high school, white tube socks came back around. Worn with shorts, worn over leggings, worn with dresses, worn all the way to our knees when possible. White tube socks were a staple. Now, looking back at pictures, I can now see the error of my ways. White tube socks were not doing anyone any favors outside of keeping legs warm. But they’re baaaaaa-ack. Apparently. Because I saw at least four different lasses donning the full 1992 get-up including but not limited to: oversized rugby shirts, black leggings, white tube socks, and Keds. I am not dogging on Keds… those are adorable. And the rugby shirts, well, I’m a bit meh on those. But the rest of the outfit — I feel like it could probably go back in the vault, never to be unearthed again, and we’d all get along just fine. Unless, of course, everyone starts donning No Fear! tees and Umbros… then, maaaaybe I’d say, c’mon ride the white tube socks train. But probably not.


3. Rompers

The hubs and I are heading on a beach vacay in a few weeks so I’ve been on the hunt for some fun fashions to tote along. I am constantly drawn to rompers. They are fun. Flirty. They seem feminine. And easy. So, I try them on. And all I can think is: camel toe central. I just don’t get it. I’ve tried on every single size and it just looks like I accidently plopped on one of my niece’s onesies. The areas they highlight are just not right. I am still on the lookout for an appropriate romper because they look so darn cute and breezy, but if someone could please explain the ins and outs or how to fashion one on a body that has had a populated uterus++++, I’m all ears.


4. Open shoulder shirts

Have you seen these? It’s like a long sleeved shirt but there are holes for your shoulders to poke through. I guess I can see the advantage here — I know my shoulders are always begging to breathe — but I feel like it’s a little bit of an El Camino approach in that it’s doing a lot of things but not really doing any of them well. It’s not doing the long-sleeve thing right because it’s giving you the cold shoulder. It’s not doing the short sleeve thing right because it’s going to keep your forearms so toasty warm. Additionally, I am unclear on just how much slouch the arm casings are supposed to have. And most importantly, I am unsure of where my kid’s snot ends up with this shirt because he always wants to wipe his nose in the spot where the hole would be. And snot on my uncovered shoulder seems like an ill-advised accessory to this sort of get-up. 

5. Fringey poncho

8 Fashion Trends I Don't Understand -

I saw one of these at Target recently and I thought, Oh what a cute throw. And then I realized, it’s a clothing item. And while I think people call it a kimono, I’m calling BS on that because this thing, to me, is a poncho. I have seen people pull these off and look completely fetching. However, when I tried one on, I looked like I’d accidentally tucked a 1970s vintage floral afghan into my pants while sitting on the couch and didn’t realize I was dragging it around all day. I would have no clue what to pair with said afghan, but I can tell you that yoga pants are not a good match. And I most definitely wouldn’t think I wouldneed to wear a blanket around once spring hits. And if I do decide to use a blankie for a fashion accessory, given my current energy level, I think I’d rather don a Snuggie or a Slanket, find a movie theater, and settle in for a long nap. And in that vein, I definitely don’t understand the little ditty below. I hear that aztec prints are supposedly everything this spring but in this combo, I see a blanket that was given arm holes. And for lack of any better name, I am calling it a bloncho. 

Fashion trends I just don’t understand -


6. Midi length dresses

I remember being in swing choir and getting fitted for dresses my senior year. The person who brought back the midi style in full swing must have also been in high school swing choir circa 2000. The length of the dresses was not to the ankle, not at the knee, but rather, right smack dab in the middle of the calf. Or, for me, the oddest place to have a dress fall. For those of us who were not 6 foot 2 or had legs all the way up to our shoulders, this length did nothing outside of make it known that there was to be no visually pleasing aspect to the dresses. To add to that, anything with a tie-back and midi length, to you, I say, hello 1997. If I do purchase a dress with such specs, I will most definitely also pair it with a zig zag flexi-comb for my locks, and some nude panty hose to highlight my incredibly feminine ankles.


7. The full-length robe

Fashion trends I just don’t understand -

Of all of the items I am confused by, this one is the biggest head scratcher. Maybe that makes me ancient. Oh well. I can actually get behind the overall re-trend. Heck, overalls are a stay-at-home moms’ bff. I could carry around so many things in those little pockets. And if I wanna go hands-free, I am almost certain I could just tuck my 15 month old in the pouch like a built-in baby bjorn. What I don’t get is the supersized “kimono” or whatever we’re calling that glorified robe ensemble that has been draped over the denim dreams. This wardrobe essential has me thinking, “Oh. She must have forgotten to take off her pants when she put her nightgown on”. And I really am not sure if it should be called a housecoat, a shirt, or a cardigan because it’s worn over pants, which is all sorts of confusing. I am all for wearing pajamas all day but if you are going to do so, just own it. Don’t pretend to be wearing day clothes when you are clearly ready for naptime whenever it should strike. Not there is anything wrong with that.


8. Big florals

Fashion trends I just don’t understand -

I am having an extremely difficult time embracing the resurgence of big florals. When I was confirmed, I wore the most fabulous floor-length crinkly chiffon various hues of pink flowers dress from Maurices. I am fairly certain that at the time, had I died, I would have asked prior to my death to be buried in that dress. It was the most amazing dress I ever could have owned to pair with my braces, and my crocheted flats. And that was the last time I owned a dress with large flowers. Now, everysingletime I see large florals my brain immediately shouts CONFIRMATION DRESS and I am transported back to the mid-nineties, a time where I had more metal in my mouth than confidence in my bones. I’ve seen others pulling off this trend swimmingly. I, however, seem to drown in a sea of flowers.

There are a few current fashion finds that I am a huge fan of. I am a huge proponent of flannel making it’s way back because, let’s be real, it never should have left. And obviously, the rebirth of the Reebok Pump is basically heaven-sent. I also recently caught a glimpse of the Hello Apparel revamping hypercolor which is completely rad. Once I ascertain my Pumps, and my hypercolor, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll find me checking my email while lounging on inflatable furniture, and partying like it’s 1993. Because Pumps and hypercolor would rock my kids’ world. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’ve become the driving force for my current fashion choices anyway so I might as well own it. I am quite the cliche, eh? 

The spring break time warp trip to campus to see the dinosaurs had me feeling like I was the dinosaur. But the harsh reality is, I am neither feeling/nor actually 22, so I guess I don’t have to dress like it. After all, I’m kind of okay with not living in a land where I can see the horror of white tube socks. Give me a year or two to warm up and figure out the aforementioned items and I’m sure I’ll be wearing one or many of them, maybe even all at once, just in time to be behind the trend. Or maybe, by that point, if I just start wearing what I wore in 2000, I will be one step ahead of the next trip back in time. 

TTFN, friends. I’m off to buy a few new scrunchies, a babydoll dress, and a can of Surge. Hey, I might not understand it all but at least with those essentials, this dinosaur mama will be on trend. At least for the moment.


Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at