“The tween and early-teen ages are the most difficult from a fashion perspective,” said Adrianne Mittan, co-owner of Teaneck’s Rayna Boutique.
This is a conclusion most parents probably come to fairly quickly upon entering this stage of their children’s lives. Mittan gave some insight into why this stage can be difficult, knowing that understanding the “why” can help ease some fashion struggles. “At this age, teens are looking for comfort first, whether they realize it or not,” explained Mittan. “Things like seams, waistbands, materials and tags all come into play with their decision.” Mittan suggested looking at suede and velvets as a starting point. These materials are very trendy right now, as well as having the tactile benefit of being soft. Dresses made in jersey material and sweatshirt softness have the benefit of being dressed up enough for Shabbat day in shul, but comfortable enough for an afternoon with friends.
“Girls want to look older, and not like the little kid they used to be, but also don’t always want to look like a mature (and in their eyes, ‘old’) adult,” she explained further. They often seek out styles that combine fun and sophistication. “Animal prints, especially leopard prints, are always a popular item and sell out quickly,” Mittan explained. Younger teens want to look for a more defined waistline in dresses. Because preteens do not yet have their natural curve, loose dresses don’t always look the way they want, and they end up unhappy. Looking for dresses that naturally curve in toward the waist will help them feel more comfortable in the look they are hoping to achieve.
Dassie Fuchs, owner of Petit Chic in Bergenfield, is gearing up for a shimmery spring. “Everything I have for spring is coming with some sort of metallic touch to it,” said Fuchs.
Metallics have been emerging as a popular fashion recently, but designers blended the shimmer with spring’s pastels for an eye-catching new look and bright burst of color. Skirts, tops and dresses all have metallic shimmer this season, with this look proving to be versatile. “A foil finish to a skirt can be paired with almost any top,” advised Fuchs. As in past seasons, florals continue to be trendy for spring, and stars are popular too, though not as much as metallics, but Fuchs foresees a warm reception for the shimmery spring trend. “Girls were disappointed all winter long because the colors were darker, and in their minds drab. They actually complained that the dresses were boring,” said Fuchs. “The metallics are so hot, and these girls will be excited to see the pop of color.”
For everyday casual wear, graphic t-shirts are full of color, self-expression and bling, and are available everywhere. Girls are enjoying the broad selection of catchy phrases on clothing. But these days more so than in past years, apparel showcases the range of options for young ladies. They can now find shirts that showcase their love of science, sports, computers, music, princesses and, yes, makeup. These types of shirts can be found in mainstream fashion stores—Old Navy, Gap, H&M and other fast-fashion retailers.
Accessories, too, are all the rage with teen girls, and just when parents think they understand the trend, they turn around and girls have brought home something new.
All that glitters is not gold these days. In fact, it’s sequins. As discussed in last month’s Fashion Link, (“Sequins Are Back, But Did They Ever Really Leave?” January 11, 2018) sequins are extremely popular, but whereas last month’s article was about sequins on clothing, these metallic disks are not just for apparel anymore. Described as “mermaid” or “flippy” referring to the way rubbing your hand over the sequins “flips” them and changes the color, there’s no escaping the shiny trend. Mermaid pillows have become a necessary accessory, with mermaid bracelets, water bottle covers, mini fidget pillows, keychains and even-sequin covered notebooks following suit.
Jewelry is always a way for a teenager to add a little adornment to her look, and many populfar styles continue to have initial necklaces with semi-precious stones in the color of choice for the wearer. Another popular style is the bar necklace, which can be a horizontal line (as the name suggests) with or without embellishments and jewels, but can also take on more artistic designs. A curve, or a collection of shapes in a row are all popular styles for bar necklaces. Part of the popularity of the bar style, and its appeal to a more youthful crowd, is in the style’s versatility, explained Stephanie Kaufman, owner of popular jewelry website ShoppingBadger.com. A smaller bar, with a more colorful stone or decoration tends to appeal to their younger clientele, which adds a youthful element while staying on trend.
Another style, the infinity sign has been woven into necklaces and bracelets as well and was popular for the past few years thanks to Tiffany & Co. Even more sought after recently, though, is the eternity circle. “This style is so popular we can’t even keep it in stock long enough to photograph for the website,” laughed Kaufman. She also added that previously popular styles of the key charm, or a small kidney bean are still available, but not as in demand as past years, with the clover shaped necklaces starting to gain popularity with teens.
Similar to clothing, pastel jewel tones will be en vogue. They will even have a touch of shimmer, this coming season’s hottest touch. “Pastel colored stones with shimmery accents of mother of pearl and opal will appeal to the teenage crowd, especially as pastels emerge as the color of spring,” said Kaufman.
What is more important than the actual fashion styles themselves, however, is what styles mean to the wearer. Teens are always looking for ways to figure out who they are and what they like, and what makes them comfortable in their own skin and their own clothes. As one mother of teens and tweens recently said, “When you wear what you believe in, you can wear it in a respectful way, and girls can find ways for creative self-expression and individuality.” Encourage your daughter to look for styles that make her happy and are a reflection of who she really is, not just what’s currently popular. “Who would have thought to pair photo-print leggings with high tops? Or mixing prints to pull together a look? No one had thought of it until recently, but look at how expressive it has become,” this mother continued. Let’s work to teach our young ladies that while they can enjoy trends, they should always stay true to themselves, and find what works for their own sense of individuality. As Diane Von Furstenberg said, “Confidence. If you have it, you can make anything look good.”
By Jenny Gans