By Manon Bréchard (2EA)
Today, fashion and public image have a huge impact on a teenager’s lifestyle. What a teenager chooses to wear is a way of distinguishing themselves from others and a way to demonstrate to the world how they want to be seen. Each unique fashion sense depends on personality; for instance, people who care a lot about their image will put more time and attention in clothes than people who care very little about it. Different teenagers have different identities, and for this reason, clothes exist in different styles, sizes, colours, and fabrics.
Many factors will affect a teenager’s sense of fashion: peer pressure, body image, media, brands and even celebrities/influencers. For example, most teenagers will go shopping in groups or ask their friends for advice. They are constantly influenced by the world and people around them. On the other hand, one student, Marguerite Parquet, a sixteen-year-old student at La Rochefoucault in Paris, says, “I mostly follow the trend, but I like adding something personal to an outfit,” demonstrating that while most teenagers like to fit in, they also want to stand out in a way that better reflects their personality.
In fact, adolescence seems to be a constant search for identity, and clothes are a valuable way to forge it. Furthermore, media also have a great influence on fashion, especially social media and magazines as most adolescents will try to recreate looks they saw online or on celebrities and influencers they like. But this behavior usually promotes skinny models which can lead to unhealthy habits, resulting in eating disorders. Fortunately, society has come a long way, and an emphasis is being made on a variety of body types in the modeling world.
Celebrities remain the most powerful influence on a teenager’s style as having the same piece of clothing as the person you idolize will make you feel closer to her. For example, Kylie Jenner, who is followed by 200 millions of people on Instagram, posted a picture where she wears a certain pair of sneakers. According to MCE, an hour later, the price of the sneakers doubled, and they were almost sold out. This shows the power and influence she has on others’ sense of style.
Finally, most adults believe that designer brands are very important to teenagers who are preoccupied with social acceptance. While this idea can sometime be true, Ambre Adler, a fifteen-year-old student at La Tour, claims otherwise: “The brand has very little importance to me, if I like a piece of clothing, I am going to buy it regardless of the brand.” Another student, Capucine De Noray, a fifteen-year-old student at Paul Claudel, says that she care about the brand only for the quality of the clothes.
Over the years, clothes have evolved considerably. Today, teenagers enjoy wearing crop tops and short dresses because they find it beautiful on them. However, some adults find these kinds of clothes too “provocative” and schools have established restrictions. Ambre Adler adds that she thinks “we should be able to dress the way we want, we are all clever enough to know what is appropriate to wear at school and what isn’t.” Capucine De Noray joins her in saying that she thinks “we should be able to dress the way we intend to but we have to be respectful of others, the outfit should be adapted to the place.” This shows that teenagers are well aware that some outfits are not made for school, but that does not mean that if a girl is wearing a tank top that she obviously wants to attract male’s attention.
In order to fight against sexist remarks and restrictions, a movement was born on Tik Tok where teenage girls were to dress in so-called “provocative” outfits on Monday, September 14th, 2020. Another example of protest is at Isca Academy in Exeter where dozens of boys arrived at school wearing skirt to fight the “no shorts” policy during a heatwave.
Although some adults are less open minded about clothes, still, others understand that they are very important to adolescents, Dominique Adler, a student’s mother, declares: “Enjoy it, wear clothes that you like and that you won’t be able to wear in forty years.”