Teenagers live in the completely different universe having its own social conventions, vocabulary, tastes, attitudes, and fashion. These young people actively explore themselves and the world around them, and they begin to realize their own place in the society. Adults often cannot understand teenagers; however, a closer look at their behavior and actions shows that their main goal is to highlight their individuality and flaunt their difference (Cartner-Morley, 2010). Fashion plays a significant role in shaping teenagers’ identity. They are concerned with what their peers are wearing and try to keep up with their own trends to earn a place within their close circle of friends and acquaintances. For teenagers, fashion is not so much about the latest prêt-à-porter collections or famous designers as about showing their personality and attracting attention (Cartner-Morley, 2010). In this essay, I aim to look at the role of fashion in teenagers’ world to understand how it relates to their characters, personality, interests, and social relations.
One cannot deny the fact that teenagers love fashion. This especially concerns young girls who often chose their role models among top models or popular artists. These teenagers like to look through fashion journals and dream about having the same dazzling dresses and outfits as their fashion idols. They compare themselves with the photos and videos and try to copy someone’s style. For a girl, wearing the same skirt as her favorite singer is extremely important, as it brings her closer to the dreamy world of fame and celebrities.
Others are more concerned about what their peers wear. Teenagers often lack self-confidence and are extremely self-conscious, so they try to compensate it with fashionable clothes popular among their peers (Cartner-Morley, 2010). It is as if they are trying to highlight their belongingness to the group and build some elusive connection to peers. Many teenagers wear popular brands only because everyone else does, and their choices are dictated by social needs rather than personal tastes, convenience or quality. Thus, a girl may hate heels but she wears them anyway because her friends do. More importantly, clothes help both boys and girls attract attention of the opposite sex. Fashion is, therefore, only a way to look nice and attractive and nothing more.
For some teenagers, fashion is a way to protect themselves from bullying. Young people can be cruel to each other and humiliate someone only because he/she looks unconventional or messy. This urges teenagers to pick up on fashion trends to avoid discrimination and mocking from peers. They are aware that fashion may prevent them from being excluded from their social group, so they desperately want to look stylish. They pay attention to the smallest details that adults do not even notice because they believe that appearance is what really matters.
However, there are also teenagers for whom fashion is the tool for self-expression (Cartner-Morley, 2010). They wear the types of clothes that they think highlight their individuality and interests the most. They are concerned with details because they may tell much about their favorite music, movies, hobbies, and interests. This desire for self-expression often makes them look funny, but they seem to care little about what adults may think. On the contrary, when they look shocking and unconventional, it means they do everything right. Teenagers have limited opportunities to tell the world about themselves, so fashion becomes the primary tool for self-expression.
To summarize, I would like to note that fashion tells much about teenagers’ character, interests, and social relationships. It can serve a variety of goals – from copying a favorite singer to attracting attention of the opposite sex. In some way, teenagers’ use of fashion does not differ much from that of adults. They wear different clothes but they all want to look nice, be attractive to others, establish social relationships, and express their individuality. The only difference is that teenagers are more passionate and conscious about fashion.
Cartner-Morley, J. (2010). Teenage fashion: What’s cool now? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/16/teenage-fashion-style