Teens

New trends in teen clothing

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Computer savvy teens are turning to the Internet as the new place to hang out for fashion advice and clothing to fit any body style.
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A variety of teen clothing

No longer are teens being restricted to their local fashion malls to find the fashions they are seeking. The vast majority of online catalogers and merchants now display all the current fashion trends the industry offers in teen clothing.

As outlined in a recent AOL BEWS article by Colleen Long, AP, magazines such as Seventeen, Teen People, CosmoGirl! and Teen Vogue have bathing suit sections partly illustrated by less-than-perfect figures and tips on maximizing assets and minimizing defects. Editors say they are using more average women and fewer models to reflect changing body types and to help self-conscious teens see that not everyone is perfect. "It's not going to help my reader if we only show girls who are size 6's," said Atoosa Rubenstein, editor of Seventeen magazine. "Everyone is beautiful, it's just a matter of confidence, and we try to show that."

Ms. Long went on to say that, "Rubenstein, who joined Seventeen two years ago after launching CosmoGirl! said her priority has been to reflect the population. She said most of the girls in the style and beauty sections are not models, and variety helps illustrate cosmetics for different body and skin types. The magazine shows five skin tones now to reflect different ethnic groups." If you were a South Asian girl, you would have thought you didn't exist in this country if you looked at magazines," Rubenstein said. "Indian girls, girls from all over were just being neglected."

"Seventeen's casting director chooses girls in malls, on the street, and anywhere she can find them for beauty and fitness sections. The magazine has increased newsstand sales by 17 percent in the past two years. "It doesn't make good business sense to stay the same," Rubenstein said. "Girls today have so many different role models they wouldn't stand for it if they only saw the same thing every time they looked at Seventeen."

Jane Keltner, fashion news editor at Teen Vogue, said," It's inspirational for girls to see how their peers are dressing. We try to use all shapes and sizes, but we're especially interested in their sense of personal expression and style," Keltner said."

Not only are magazines paying attention to the different shapes and sizes of young women, the online merchants are also paying attention by showing realistic teen clothing. Experts are lauding the shift, but say the industry still puts too much pressure on girls to be thin and conventionally beautiful. And there's no question magazines are still putting thin, beautiful celebrities on their covers. Mary Pipher, author of a book about teen girls and body image, "Reviving Ophelia," says anything that shows realistic women is a step in the right direction to help girls gain self-esteem. She argues in her books that teens are defined and pressured by the need to be beautiful. Mary Pipher, author of a book about teen girls and body image, "Reviving Ophelia," says anything that shows realistic women is a step in the right direction to help girls gain self-esteem. "Presenting a broader range of beauty, even if it's under the guise of selling cosmetics, gives girls more permission to think they too are attractive," she said. "The ideal message is you're great just the way you are and you don't have to spend any money, but of course they need to sell magazines."

Ms. Cohen's article concluded with a quote from Jean Kilbourne, creator of the "Killing Us Softly" educational film series shown in schools," "Showing real girls is just great sociologically. Not only does it make more sense to show how a bathing suit will transform a person's body by using a real body, but it makes women feel like they aren't alone out there, that they are beautiful too."

Today's teens make up the first computer literate generation of shoppers. Not only are they used to media serving up advertising, they're accustomed to consumer goods representing lifestyle choices and identity. Teen oriented catalogs (electronic and print) feature advice columns, fashion news, and articles about health, sex, boys, and make-up. By turning to the Internet, a teen today has the decided advantage of seeing immediately what the new and exciting trends are in teen clothing. And, these trends don't always reflect the jazzy lifestyle of the young celebrities. So many teenagers are now realizing they don't have to look like or dress like Lindsay Loham or Nicole Richie to be attractive, well dressed and definitely in.

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