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BEHIND THE SCENES

The Dogging-It Days of Summer : No effort needs to go into dressing as vacation winds down. Until school starts, anything goes.

August 31, 1995

Girls in cutoffs, baby tees and flip-flops, lugging those ubiquitous back-to-school backpacks filled with God knows what. And colorful bunches of boys in ultra-baggy T-shirts and shorts, with baseball caps and skateboards.

The fashion statement among the younger set during a recent blazer of a day at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach was all dressing-down. Makes perfect sense: The last days of summer, when the teacher is a universe away, are made for hanging loose.

It's pretty casual in most schools these days, especially in relaxed Orange County, but it's unlikely that the skimpy tanks, frayed-to-falling-apart Birkenstocks and ragged jeans are going to make it past homeroom. And boys, please leave the skateboards at home, OK?

But as the summer winds down--and the brain stalls thinking of all those math problems, grammar quizzes and sit-ups in the gym--kids push for the last bit of sunny joy. The Fun Zone, like most other spots near the beach, has been packed every day. That'll change now . . . at least until the weekend rolls around.

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