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Teens, Trends, and Back to School: The Good News

by Jane Wangersky | September 11th, 2015 | Social, Teens

teen with braces (400x400)Although schoolwork is the number one worry for teens going back to school (according to a survey by the Nemours Foundation), social issues and appearance come in a close second and third. For teens, the two are closely connected, often more than they should be. Sadly, a teen who looks different is at greater risk for being bullied. However, there are also some recent trends that’ll be good news for appearance-conscious teens and their parents.

Back to school clothes are not the big deal they once were, as this Associated Press article reports. One reason is just that teens today, like their parents, are trying to make the most of their money. And, as one girl says in the article, “I buy on sale because it’s stupid to buy a pair of shorts for $60.” There are other reasons, like weather still warm enough that they don’t need their fall clothes yet. (Though that cuts both ways — my son says a former principal at his high school used to stand in the front hall on warm days, looking out for anyone whose shorts didn’t meet the dress code.) I’d add that it’s a good idea for your teen to see what others are wearing before he or she runs through their clothing budget. Jeans and a non-offensive t-shirt will do till then. (If your teen honestly doesn’t care about clothes, neutral outfits are the best way to go too. Fashion consciousness shouldn’t be pushed.)

Braces are not uncool anymore. According to a media release from Dr. Nirmala Marneni’s Dallas Braces: “Believe it or not, braces are so popular today that there are online videos showing teens how to make fake braces using paper clips with millions of views. In some countries the government had to crack down on vendors selling fake braces.” So teens can look good even before their teeth straighten out.

“This fall is all about comfort” according to the teen fashion columnist at our sister publication, Go Shopping Info. She goes on to show how baggy and comfortable clothes can also be flattering. Big tote bags are conveniently in, too.

All this may seem strange to parents who grew up thinking the back to school clothes shopping trip was mandatory and braces were something kids suffered through because they spoiled their looks. But the changes show that schools are becoming more accepting, less status obsessed communities. And that’s good news.

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