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Style vs. Trends: A Teen’s Point of View

Natalia Martinez, Author

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Denim jeans, crop top, sunglasses and a bold lipstick sounds like a stellar way to start the day, right? Choosing what to wear each day is an automatic part of a person’s daily routine, regardless of whether they care about fitting in with the latest trends.

Whether one realizes it or not, every outfit choice is subconsciously influenced by numerous sources, such as social media, advertising, celebrities and even peers. How much pressure is put on teens to follow fashion trends to avoid ridicule? Can a person truly express themselves with what they like and get away with it?

According to the magazine “Teen Ink,” “Teens associate themselves with a particular brand or branded image; they immediately assume a new identity that is in some sense confined to the societal points of that brand.” The idea is that the latest fashion products will improve a person’s image. This may be true if one believes that an outfit will define one’s social status, but do these ideas apply to students here at Santa Fe High?

“I think the way to fit in is by wearing the clothes you want to be in,” said senior Sakara Griffin. Sakara said she does not feel pressured to abide by the latest fashion trends. Rather, she feels that an individual’s “personality” will determine their own unique style.

Freshman Jasmine Miranda has a similar response. Her sense of fashion is based more on the idea that a person should wear “clothes that make them happy.”

Whether it’s trends that inspire teen girls or it’s having a unique, self-created style, how much is too much to spend on clothes?

Statistic Brain, an online database, reports that in 2016, total teen spending on female clothing (products bought by and for teens) in the United States totaled $258.7 billion.

An increase in prices over the years has become an issue for teenagers. The cost and demand of clothes goes up, but the desire to purchase is still there. Teenage girls find themselves getting creative with how they shop. Strategies such as shopping when stores offer discounts and using coupons have become a big part of deciding when and what a person buys.

Sakara explained that shopping can be “costly.” One of the ways she minimizes the expense is by shopping at thrift stores. “I go to thrift shops, which gives me a more creative way to express myself. I kind of toy around with different ways to wear things,” she said.

Despite costs that continue to increase, fashion never fails to trend in America. In fact, Google conducted a six-year experiment that analyzed what kind of clothing consumers bought the most. The experiment, which examined the types of clothes people were wearing and determined their fashion trends, identified more than a dozen styles.

Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are increasing trends that are being associated with “Flower-Child’” and “Boho Chic” themes. Both trends are a spin-off from the 70’s and early 80’s hippie movement. Google shows, “The off-the-shoulder look has grown in both markets from December 2015 to May 2016—261% in the U.K. and 347% in the U.S.”

Another style that is appearing everywhere is the “sophisticated yet casual” look. This style includes bold color patterns and apparel that plays off a more mature contemporary theme. The Google study showed that “Celebrities from Michelle Obama to Kendall Jenner helped popularize the look. As for materials, lace and denim top the charts, showing the versatility of the trend.” Teenagers tend to base their styles off such celebrities or models, which is another factor that contributes to putting an outfit together.

The Google study also found that the third top trend was a “free-spirit yet ready style,” which includes rompers and overalls. The idea of wearing a comfortable one-piece outfit has definitely been on the rise. The purpose of a romper is to be easy and free of re-adjusting, yet have a presentable look. Google showed, “Americans embraced it two years later in a much bigger way. In the U.S., interest in the romper/playsuit has seen steady growth between 2014 and 2016.”

Santa Fe High school sophomore Zoe Dukeminier reveals that she takes interest in some of the styles listed above. “I like to feel comfortable in my clothes,” she said. Wearing trendy clothes where comfort comes before the style is what she looks for, both of which she finds in fall trends and dark tones. Another way she finds inspiration is by looking at social media apps like Pinterest, which caters to any fashion trend imaginable. Zoe adds, “I live on Pinterest styles.”

Media tends to influence a person’s sense of fashion in one form or another. It can inspire consumers to connect to mulitple fashion stores that they may be interested in; as well as allow for individuals to build off fashion styles and create their own that expresses who they are on the inside.

Fashion, like art, is subjective. One can choose to follow the status quo or be inspired to create a new trend. Whatever style a teen chooses, it can have an impact on who they are as a person, and how they want to act. Fashion is always changing and no style is wrong, as long as one wears what they like with confidence!

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Style vs. Trends: A Teen’s Point of View