Planning your fashion life

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Girls and teens want to look sharp and fashion forward.
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Wardrobe basics for girls clothes

Fashion trends change every season, but there are certain basic items of girls clothes that everyone wants in their wardrobe. Key pieces can be combined to create many different looks. While denim jeans are a staple in most wardrobes, the style of jeans changes regularly. While low rise jeans with straight legs may be popular now, next year a high waisted jean with wide legs may be the fashion. While each teen may choose her own style and not care about what is popular, the current trendy styles are what will be found in the stores. To know what is in fashion, either start shopping at your favorite local mall or read fashion magazines.

Jeans are a great basic because they can be worn so many ways. For casual wear, add a t-shirt, sweater or plain shirt and sneakers or flat shoes. The same jeans can also be dressed up nicely with a fancy blouse or a camisole with a jacket and heels.

Other key wardrobe pieces are tank tops, turtlenecks, khakis, shorts, slacks, skirts, sundresses and blazers. The style of these items will also change from season to season. Skirt lengths go up and down, with both a short skirt and a longer style usually in fashion at the same time.

The quality of girls clothes makes less difference because styles change so quickly. Girls will tire of their clothes long before they wear out, so pick what you like that fits your budget and don't worry about durability. Even so, check the label for laundry instructions. Washable clothes are easier and cheaper to maintain than dry clean only.

One of the nicest things about teen apparel (and of being a teenager in general) is the freedom to experiment. Even the simplest outfit of jeans and a t-shirt can be an expression of the wearer's personality. Jeans now come in an array of colors. Some have decorative rivets, while others display embroidered designs.

The t-shirt can be a plain solid color with a round neck or a v-neck. It can be striped or patterned. It can display a message, either for or against a cause, showing off its manufacturer or just saying something amusing. Thus the t-shirt can be a fashion statement, a personal statement or a political statement you choose.

But the biggest part of the teen apparel experiment comes through accessories. These can be found in department stores and clothing shops as well as in specialty stores that carry nothing else. When selecting shoes, fit and comfort may be sacrificed to style. This may not be a good tradeoff depending on what activities you plan to pursue while wearing them. Be sure to try on both shoes as most people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other.

Shoes can be made of leather, imitation leather, cloth and other materials. Leather shoes are usually the most expensive, but they last the longest. Before making a big investment in shoes, think about how long you believe they will suit your taste, style and wardrobe.

The handbag or purse is another great accessory. Modern style gurus no longer require matching your purse to your shoes, so go wild. Get a giant bag or a mini-backpack for everyday wear so you can carry all of your stuff. Pick a tiny, shiny bag for that night on the town. As long as it's big enough for your keys, lipstick, money and cellphone, it will work. If you plan an active day, forget the bag and go for a belt pouch. No longer just for athletes, these come in an array of styles and colors like other purses. And when you're ready to get fancy, remember that you can add jewelry, gloves, hats, scarves and more to personalize your look completely.

Looking for a teen clothing store? They're everywhere. Every mall has a number of stores that specialize in the types of clothes teens crave. Each store has its own niche. Some are preppy, some feature goth clothing, some are for athletes and others are high fashion. Figure out your style and find the store that fits.

But dip your toe into the others for special pieces to individualize your style. If you don't want to look like everyone else, any one teen clothing store will not have everything you need. You may also want to shop online to find unique items no one else in your town will have.

Other great sources for one of a kind pieces are thrift stores and consignment shops. Bargain prices are the rule here. Typically there's only one of each item, so if it doesn't fit and you don't sew, move on.

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