History Of Teenage Fashion - The 50s To Nowadays
Posted on December 19 2018
Back in the 1940s, fashion wasn’t something you could talk about when it came to teen clothes. The phrase “children should be seen and not heard” was often how parents would talk about their children. Then suddenly, just after the birth of Rock and Roll, everything changed. Young people would dress up to meet each other at concerts and local cafes and clothes for teens were considered new, unusual and even shocking by some older people. This is a quick guide to some of the teen clothes from over the last 70 years.
The 50s were all about jeans. Until this point, hard wearing denim trousers, known back then as dungarees, were used by workmen on building sites rather than worn as fashion items. Both boys and girls would make sure their collection of trendy teen clothes included at least one pair of blue jeans. Though it seems tame by today’s standards, it was considered rebellious for girls to wear shirts that were made for men and many would do this to show they weren’t a “square.” Petticoats and sharp slacks were also worn by young people, but usually on things likes dates or a trip to the movies.
The swinging 60s was a time of huge change, especially in the world of teenage clothing and fashion. The miniskirt originated from this period but there were also garments like three quarter length trousers, longer, knee length skirts and accessories like chunky, colourful hair bands, hair bobbles and handbags with styling quite similar to many of today’s designs. For boys, trousers became more shaped and overall the style of dress became far more relaxed than it had been in the past. It’s easy to forget that when parents were buying clothes for teens in the 60s, they would think that suits and smart shirts were the only things their kids would need.
The 1970s was the decade that brought some incredible fashions, but also some that have never really stood the test of time. For both teenage clothing and adult fashions, this was a time of experimentation. Flares were common place and even smart trousers would have very wide bottoms. In fact, it was almost impossible to buy trousers for boys or girls that didn’t have that flared look. Shoes were chunky, often with large heels. Even some boys wore boots and shoes with a platform sole and as many more young women started wearing trousers, there was more choice of what to wear than ever before.
The 80s was a strange time for fashion. Teen clothes were often quite sporty and this decade is when the tracksuit and the probably best forgotten “shellsuit” were made popular.
The internet wasn’t invented until around 1987 so buying clothes for teens online just wasn’t an option. Instead, parents would pick up tight blue jeans, pastel coloured jumpers and chunky knitwear from high-street shops. In the late 80s, the fashions of rave started to spread to the high-street with young people often wearing baggy T-shirts, jeans and long, free owing dresses. For adults, especially those in business, it was all about the shoulder pads and the power suits. Though we might laugh about it now, that was once considered the height of fashion.
The nineties brought us the Spice Girls but they also brought us Nirvana. Grunge fans wore tie dye T-Shirts, similar to the fashions of the 70s and female pop fans often wore pedal pushers, short trousers that stop just below the knee. Shoes were chunky again, with platform soles being applied to trainers as well as dress shoes. Backwards baseball caps were a favourite among young guys at the start of the decade and big, baggy jeans that were worn with chunky trainers became a favourite during the middle part of this period. Britpop bands heavily influenced Teenage clothes, UK magazines would show singers and songwriters wearing parkas, sportswear and casual retro fashions and young people would often try to adopt this look themselves.
At the start of the 2000s, combat trousers became popular among young people as an alternative to jeans. Especially those who loved alternative music and sports like skateboarding. For many girls who enjoyed picking up trendy teen clothes, well fitted jeans and short tops were often popular. Unlike many decades before it, the 2000s managed to keep a lot of the 90s fashions like puffa jackets, parkas and hip-hop style clothing. By this stage, teen clothes were available to suit a range of different tastes and unlike the 60s and 70s, there was an almost limitless number of styles that young people could choose from when building their collection. It became easier to find teenage clothing online, UK internet providers started offering faster speeds around the middle of the decade and shopping in the digital world became commonplace.
This decade has seen the birth of the hipster, a phenomenon that nobody really understands just yet. Clothes for teens are often influenced by what grown-ups wear and things like checked lumberjack shirts for boys and quirky T-shirts with unusual bags or accessories for girls are often worn by older teenagers these days. There are very few rules when it comes to teen fashion in the modern age. Teen clothing can be retro, modern, futuristic or just plain and functional, it doesn’t really matter as long as what you’re wearing makes you happy. The biggest change in recent years has been younger boys wearing accessories like scarves in their everyday outfits and generally taking more of an interest in the world of fashion than those in the generation before them. Girls can also get away with wearing less “feminine” clothes if they want to and even younger teenagers often wear jeans, t-shirts and shorts rather than skirts and dresses.
Fashion influence has now shifted its origin from the catwalk shows to the street. With every celebrity now becoming direct style influencers via social media- it is now the designers playing catch-up. Hailey Baldwin, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are showing us how street-style is done! Direct from the hotspots in West Hollywood and mixed with the rap and Hip-hop culture fashion-pack they surround themselves with. Kanye West’s Yeezy line- totally unisex in theme has pioneered this. In the sneaker world, now both sexes are fighting for the latest trainer. With Balenciaga’s coveted chunky trainer being the trainer-Hit item this year. No-one looks at the gender anymore- but bases their fashion purchases on the style alone which here at Teenzshop we applaud.
The main thing that defines the modern world of teen clothes is choice. You can dress like a grunger one day, a grime star the next and even spend your weekend looking like a pro footballer if you want to. As long as you love what you wear, the choice is yours.
Here at https://teenzshop.co.uk/ we believe in gender fluidity in many of our products. We design many of our boys jackets imagining the girls and girlfriends will be wearing them. As hoodie fashion is dominating street wear from the street to high fashion we also have designed our boys hoodies for girls wanting androgynous high fashion style.