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Teen Fashion Guidelines

I realize that I sound like my parents when I say that teenagers today dress very differently than when I was a teen, but it is a factual statement. And although we did wear short skirts and dresses in the 60s and 70s, we did not dress as provocatively as teens do today. Lately, however, there has been a trend towards more modest dress, advocated by fashion TV shows and school districts. Most schools have implemented dress codes, and even some non-parochial schools have opted to mandate a school uniform, with strict guidelines so that all students may feel that they're on the same footing same, despite economic conditions or ethnic background.

The next time you're in the checkout lane of the grocery store, or the magazine section of a pharmacy, department store, or bookstore, take a look at the covers of teen magazines. You'll see young women and young men (referred to in my generation as girls and boys) wearing the same type of clothing worn by Hollywood actors. Who can afford that wardrobe? As a parent, would you want to see your teen daughter dressed in a slinky slip-type dress showing ample cleavage? Here are some teen fashion guidelines that may help you navigate the turbulent teen waters as far as choosing age-appropriate—yet fashionable—clothing:

  • Basics. Choose basic pieces such as classic jeans, a pair of trousers, solid tee shirts, good boots, versatile belts, solid footwear, an oxford dress shirt, khaki pants or shorts, and versatile jackets. Once you've found basic pieces of clothing, you can mix and match separates, adding to your wardrobe, and find your own look.
  • Fit. Above all, wear clothes that fit. It doesn't matter if that blue dress looks great on your friend, yet she is a size larger than you. Resist the urge to borrow it because it won't fit properly. Find the right size and then have the clothing tailored for a more polished look.
  • Dress for the occasion. You wouldn't wear a pair of jeans and a tee shirt to church, would you? Conversely, you wouldn't wear a jacketed dress to a beach party. Find a look suited for the event, and dress appropriately.
  • Care for your clothing. Resist the urge to step out of your clothing, leaving it balled up on the floor. You're only making more work for yourself in the longrun if you don't take the time to hang your clothing after you wear it. If Sunday rolls around and your dress shirt is lying in a heap on the floor, you'll have to iron it at the last moment. Save yourself the trouble and time by taking just a few moments to hang your clothing, or fold it and put it away.
  • Trends. Clothing trends come and go quickly. By the time you can afford the latest fashion, there's already a new look on its way in. Determine if your money is better spent on classic clothing separates that can be paired with inexpensive trendy clothing to create a new look.

Visit second-hand or discount stores if you must by the latest fashion. Clothes go in and out of style, and you might find a cute skirt from the 60s that is in style today. Never buy anything that you know that you won't wear. It doesn't do any good to buy a twill jacket if you know that it will simply hang in the closet.


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