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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Teen Spirit - fashion idols are getting younger
Teen spirit leads in the style stakes

Fashion idols are getting younger. Yasmin Mills on the confident new face of the teen wardrobe

By Yasmin Mills
Last Updated: 12:47PM BST 30 Apr 2009

Left to right: kooky Coco Sumner, impeccably groomed Georgia May Jagger and chic girl about town Pixie Geldof

Flicking through the glossies one afternoon, I was floored by a photograph of Pixie Geldof at this year’s Brit Awards. Draped in an asymmetric cream top and shimmering black, skinny trousers accessorised with chunky gold chains and smoky eyes, the 19-year-old had transformed herself from scruffy teen to chic girl about town. And the more pictures I saw of trendily-attired 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, whose Louboutin heels I drooled over, the more it got me thinking: when did teens get so stylish?
As a teenager, my style idols were Marie Helvin, Debbie Harry and Audrey Hepburn — sophisticated, glamorous women. Twenty years older and a mother of 10- and 15-year-old girls, I’ve noticed that their fashion goddesses are sophisticated, glamorous girls still in their teens. There’s the impeccably groomed Georgia May Jagger, 17, daughter of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall; kooky Coco Sumner, 18, Sting’s girl; vampy Daisy Lowe, 20; streetwise Alice Dellal, 21; and, of course, Pixie. Each has a strong sense of style and the soaring confidence required to pull off outrageous ensembles, which teenage stars – such as singers Vanessa Paradis (in the pre-Johnny Depp years) and Tiffany (dodgy permy, ill-fitting denim jacket-and-jeans combo) – laughably lacked in my youth. These girls have inspired many a fashion moment and, as a consequence, influence the high street. Loafers? Thank you, Ms Chung. Ripped tights and DMs? Dellal’s doing. Barbour jackets in the city? Championed by Coco.

“I like what they wear, but especially what they embody,” says my eldest daughter, Laurie, 15. “You see them at festivals, hanging out with their boyfriends, having fun. My life is so much about music, seeing bands and socialising that I can relate to their lifestyle more than an adult’s. It’s nice to take elements of what they wear, but, in the end, the most important thing is not to look like anyone else.”
Laurie’s best friend, Esme, also 15, agrees. “I get ideas from magazines such as NME, i-D and Nylon as well as what people are wearing on the streets.”
In addition, websites have a big role in facilitating teen trends. Before the online revolution, my style references were cultivated through years of sifting through magazines, browsing album covers and watching endless reruns of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Nowadays, discerning youngsters keep track of what their favourite teen celebrities are wearing online as well as in magazines. “I usually begin looking for anything to do with music, film or a TV show on either YouTube or MySpace and see where it leads. Then I might see what people I like were wearing at a gig or a festival. I don’t go to specific fashion or celebrity gossip blogs or websites and I don’t know any teenagers who do. It’s a bit geeky and more what I think adults probably do in offices,” adds Laurie.
Television shows aimed at teens, where the emphasis is on clothes as much as storylines, have been met with enthusiasm – but by adults. Gossip Girl, an American series about beautiful, pampered teens in New York, is hailed by women for its flawlessly-dressed cast. Its lead actresses – Blake Lively, 21, Leighton Meester, 22, and Taylor Momsen, 15 – appear regularly on best-dressed lists, although they barely cut the mustard in the style stakes with any teenagers I spoke to. Ditto the revamped Beverly Hills 90210 and The O.C. I’m told Effy (played by Kaya Scodelario) from the Channel 4 show Skins is the girl of-the-moment, with girls clamouring to copy her grungy, rock-chick look of leather leggings, DMs and kohl-smudged eyes.
With an abundance of mini fashion gurus around, no wonder we adults have been taking inspiration from them. In my case, “daughter raiding mummy’s wardrobe” has been replaced by “mummy raiding daughter’s wardrobe”. I wore Laurie’s black cocktail dress the other night and received nothing but compliments.
There is a certain amount of poetic justice in this: Laurie has been plundering my closets for years, so it’s only fair that the tables have turned. And I’m in good company. Yasmin Le Bon could be mistaken for her beautiful daughter Amber, 19, as both not only share the same glossy brown locks and model figures but a love of romantic frocks and killer heels. Meanwhile, Madonna has been spotted in black-and-white arm-warmers, which look suspiciously as though they’ve been fashioned from her 12-year-old daughter Lourdes’ signature stripy tights.
I am, however, acutely aware of the dangers of aping too many teen trends. When you’ve passed the big four-zero, skin-tight, metallic American Apparel leggings are just a tad too much, even for a reasonably adventurous dresser like me.


"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."

Last edited by softgrey; 30-04-2009 at 09:31 AM.
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rising star
Join Date: Dec 2008
Gender: femme
Posts: 156
Thanks for the article. Quite interesting. As a teen myself (17), i disgareed with the comment about not finding the Gossip Girl wardrobes appealing. Then again, i also wouldn't put any of the teen icons mentioned except for Effy in my list of style icons.
Ah well. Tastes differ. But its an interesting theory, that icons are getting younger and younger. Is it an obsession with youth=beauty?

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fashionista-ta's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hardly ever at Barney's
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Fashion/style icons are also getting older ... look at Sarah Jessica Parker and others. And Michelle Obama is making quite a splash ... They are both women of a certain age.

There's a need for more individuality today, and my job is to cater to women, not dictate to them.
--Alber Elbaz
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