1. Goldie
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    Goldie Member

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    Teen fashion today -- among other things.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Goldie, Oct 1, 2009.

    Since I'm a few years out of high school and I've had no luck with Google, where could I look for real teen fashion? TeenVogue? CosmoGirl?

    What about attitudes toward things that were almost taboo when I was in school? PDA (what's acceptable and what's not), cell phone use, video games (DS, PSP), smoking, alcohol, drugs, GLTB, cliques..? There's a lot to look up and I don't know where to start!

    I've always wanted to write general fiction. Maybe I'm getting in over my head, but it's been a guilty pleasure secret of mine to write something to do with teens, parents, etc.

    My compass is broken and I don't know where to start!
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    There's a documentary called American Teen, it's probably the closest thing I've seen to real student life at high school (although, not being from America, there were a few things that were different, but the overall experience was more or less the same). There is a lot to know, but there's no point worrying about finding it all out until you know exactly what you need to research. And there's nothing wrong with writing about high school in your own time (although if it has only been a few years, I doubt much would've changed...people always say the younger generation is more (insert adjective here), but generally things don't change too much, with the exception of the internet and stuff).
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having several of them in my family, I'd say that teens today are exactly like teens were when I was one. Only the superficial things are different: things that have become part of my life since those days, like technology, are part of theirs too and perhaps on a more natural level because they grew up with it. But the differences are superficial. They're passing the exact same slander, just on cellphone texting instead of paper slips.

    But I'm pretty sure that, in their hearts and minds, teens have not changed since the dawn of mankind.
     
  4. thecommabandit
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    thecommabandit Member

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    If you're looking for how they dress, "scene" fashion could be a starting point. It evolved out of emo which is dying a death at the moment, but is still around. Of course, not all teens are scenesters, as with any fashion.

    I was a teen up until the middle of this year, so I can answer a few of these :p. I'm from the UK so some things may not be applicable over the ocean, but I'll tell you what those things are like here
    Teenagers use mobiles (cells) at any and all times. PDAs are sometimes frowned upon but no-one really says anything. Smoking isn't really a problem at all, alcohol is consumed in huge quantities by the majority of them and drugs are pretty much limited to weed but it's not particularly prevalent. Gay males are generally accepted, actual lesbians rarely come out but many girls claim to be bisexual. Transsexualism is one of those things no-one talks about. Explicit cliques seem to have dissolved recently but they're still there, albeit the lines are ever-so-slightly blurred.

    If you're confused about where to start it might be a good idea to read some modern teen fiction, or maybe find a few day-in-the-life blogs that many teenagers undoubtedly keep because they think the world cares :p Nothing beats real research and you'd also get an idea of how situations get horribly exaggerated quickly, which'll be useful if you're doing it in first-person or if any drama occurs.
     
  5. Goldie
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    I'm nine years out of high school, which isn't -that- long. I never thought of looking at blogs! What would one search for? I never knew that the emo thing was dying out.

    Today, before and likely after my job interview, I'll be people-watching. It's a bookstore with a coffeeshop in it, so there'll be plenty of people to watch! Armed with my laptop, I can take notes or sketch with my tablet some of the clothes and general looks of people.

    I was wondering if I should do first-person. It would draw the reader in more than third, in a book like this.
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Yeah emo's pretty much dead. Now everyone is somewhere on the continuum between...Cool Kids....and......Ladyhawke? Something like that...
     
  7. joemister1221
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    I'm a freshman in highschool. (From Massachusetts)

    Can't really help because I'm a guy and don't pay much attention to fashion. My sister reads Seventeen magazine. For the most part, kids in high school wear Abercrombie(and Fitch), Hollister, American Eagle, Aeropostle...

    Haha, I can help with this unfortunately.
    PDA: Things like hugging, holding hands, and kissing are exceptable. If two people are making out and about to have sex by the lockers, people might get annoyed.
    Cell phones: It's assumed you have one. Usually people use them during class to text. Nobody really calls using a cell phone, but some kids never stop texting.
    Video Games: Not much in high school. If so, mostly guys playing Xbox or Guitar Hero/Rock Band.
    Smoking/Alcohol/Drugs: Sadly, it's common haha. Mostly cigaretts and weed (I think) but one kid I used to be friends with got high one day and came outside looking for a needle in a bush to do heroine. As I don't do drugs, I don't know much, but drugs and smoking/alcohol are VERY common. No "gossiping" starts when someone hears another person is doing drugs because it's so common. Most kids don't see anything wrong with drugs.

    Gays: I can only think of 2 guys that have actually came out in my school. But gay guys aren't widely accepted. The word 'gay' has become synonymous 'stupid'. There is actually a school organiztion called "Gay-Straight Alliance".
    Lesbians: I can't think of one girl who has fully came out as a lesbian but many girls claim to be bi. When showing 'bi-PDA', girls are open about. I have a couple of friends who are bi and walk down the halls holding hands.
    Cliques: Although nobody is part of specific 'cliques', the way people separate is noticable. Chorus/Show choir kids often have Chorus/Show choir frinds, Hockey kids have hockey friends, "Emos" stay with "emos", "preppy girls" with "preppy girls"...It's just that friends share common interests but there aren't any said 'cliques'. (Emo is not really dead but has been replaced with "punk","rock" types. They are the kids who usually get into drugs, play guitar and dye their hair various colors.
    If you need help just send a message.


    -Sorry if this is alittle scattered. I just wrote as it came to mind.
    I'm 14 if it helps and I live in Mass. and in a relatively 'rich' town but I'm anything but rich.

    P.S. There's a lot of drama. If you need examples I'll help : )
     
  8. bumboclaatjones
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    bumboclaatjones Member

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    depends on what part of the country you are in, and what your class/racial demographics are. I coached wrestling at my old highschool up until a year or two ago, but that was in a rural and economically depressed area where most kids sell drugs because there isn't any other type of job, and there are a bunch of kids in the KKK or in Hammerskin cliques (Hammerskins being white supremacists with alot of Nazi rhetoric). I had no idea Emo was dead, though. Thank the lord. I guess enough of those douchebags got beaten up by kids like me back when emo was big (Five years ago when I was still a highschool student). We also didn't really have cliques when I was in school, but then, it was a really small highschool. Maybe your best bet would be to visit a highschool. Explain to the office what you want to do, get a visitors pass, and look/ask around. Most kids probably won't talk to you, alot of them (If they are anything like the delinquents I used to hang with) will call you a fag, or at least think you're a fag, but you'll get the research you need.
     
  9. SilverWolf0101
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    Being a teenager myself that just escaped the dramas of highschool about a year ago I might be able to help. But then again I'm not so sure since I was one of these "outcast" teens that tended to be hated by jocks and preps alike.

    Cellphones are more commonly used by preps, who in my personal opinion wear too much make up and perfume. They can often be found in these big named clothes(American Eagle, Gap, Tommy Hillfiger, etc.). The girls wear short skirts and tight tops and a lot, lot, of pink. They have their hair always pulled back and god forbid they don't have a purse on them. The guys wear just about any color, though they seem to have something against black, and wear their pants slightly loose but with a belt that constantly hugs their hips. Btw, preps is the ones that's widely known for cellphone usage, otherwise the other "groups" don't use them.

    And yes, emo is out. It's actually hated anymore in highschool. If your emo you're subject to being picked on and shoved in trash cans. Gays/ Lesbos aren't really liked, and neither is bis unless they all hang together. Although most of them can be found with the goths or punks.

    Goths and punks hang together and yes, it's all about dyed hair, hard music, chains and piercings. But do not, for the life of you, call them out for what they are. Surprisingly it's an insult to them if you call a goth a goth and a punk a punk to their face. The only way you can do that is if you are on the best of terms with them, by this I mean buddy buddy to the extremes.

    If your down south, rednecks and skaters are sworn enemies. I can't explain this one to you because I have no idea how this started. All I know is they do fight any way possible and often, and, you do not want to be caught in the middle of the two groups when they do.

    Otherwise, teens still curse, they still fight, they still create drama. And gossiping never dies. Drugs are big and so is alcohol, but it's kept hush hush for god knows what reason. But it's not a secret about who does it or why.

    If you'd love some personal counts of what I've seen as a teenager in high school I'd be glad to help. Just send a message.
     
  10. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is one of those things you get from people watching. To know these things, I think all you really need to do is go hang out at the mall and watch the teenagers.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    before you decide to write in the troublesome first person, go to your nearest major bookstore and check out what's on the teen section shelves... see how many are in 1st, as opposed to 3rd... if 1st is way in the minority, don't!
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Actually I think you'll find 1st are in the majority (or at least equal) in YA fiction. Not that what's popular should be your concern.
     
  13. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I find these things quite interesting as i'm from UK and whilst not a teen (anymore) do come into contact with them a lot (taught them on occasion) and it seems very different to the descriptions of high school. Every kid seems to have a phoen for instance, and i ahve no idea what a prep is, although we have our own clique group called chav's which quite frankly you guys do not want
     
  14. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure if you're even checking back on this thread, but anyway I'll just say that a good YA book is not really all caught up about fashion or attitudes. The focus is on real-life drama that could have happened when you were in school. I would focus on that and not worry too much about the other things. Also, most YA books use first-person narratives like arron89 said. And unless you already have a story in mind, I'd read a few YA books to understand the market.
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it is becoming more and more common these days.
     
  16. breakingwave
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    My suggestion would be to ask them, I think you will be surprised how adult like most teens are, I raise three and even though they are subject to lots of boundaries I try to be open to listening. For instance one young man who just recently visited our home made the off handed comment that he and most of his friends weren't looking for just sex but they really just wanted a relationship with a girl, now he was a very good student, common sense young guy but I nearly fell off the chair that he could be that outspoken. Ever want to have an experience, just visit your local high school at lunch time.
     
  17. LtFrankie
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    Atleast in Queens, the school cafeterias practically self-segregate, despite being highly diverse.

    Kids DO text alot in class. There's atleast 5 or 6 out of 30ish kids texting at any given moment during class. We don't use lockers here mostly, but there's a few in the back of some classrooms.

    In some of the worse schools, kids only go to school to buy and sell various things such as: electronics but mostly cigarettes and drugs.

    The mostly unattended bathroom in the basement near the men's gym locker room was closed (don't know if it still is since I don't have gym anymore) because someone was smoking weed in there.

    Oh, and alot of kids, for whatever reason will cut if there's a substitute (as if they won't take attendance) and cut Gym alot, which tends to screw them over since you need Gym credits.
     
  18. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suggest (well, I'm a teacher, so I would suggest this) finding a few schools in the type of area with the type of kids you intend writing about. Ring up and explain your problem to the principal and try and get an appointment.

    You may need clearance to enter the school, but hopefully, you won't have a problem getting it. Then go to the school and talk to a few teachers and pupils. Teachers generally don't need much encouragement to get going on their students.

    If you can't visit a school, then you may be able to ask a teacher to do a simple survey, at least on fashions let's say, with the students. You may be able to find, or already know, a teacher who would like to do some research like this for a project. Bear in mind what the kids say in a group is not always what they really think. Again, remember however good it is, YA fiction only shows the writer's viewpoint--it isn't a state-of-the-art snapshot of youth culture necessarily.

    Face to face talk like this will be much more valuable than any research from books or the internet. For a start, teen attitudes and fashions change very quickly. Even teen magazines aren't always representative--I mean, only a particular type of teenager buys magazines, don't they?

    Otherwise, talk as much as you can to teenagers--your relatives and friends' kids, maybe?

    I've always kept teenagers I write about similar to my own kids, my cousins' kids, and their friends, or I write about past decades and my experiences. That way I have less problems with being realistic.
     
  19. LtFrankie
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    well, one thing I should also note is that it isn't just the 'older' ones who do things like sex, drugs etc.

    What's funny and sad is that alot of the sexually active girls at 14 in my school end up with alot of guys, but then mature when they're in their junior/senior year. Except, they still have that stigma of being a whore/slut.
     
  20. love2listen
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    gurl.com
    the mall, to look at teen fashion. Justice, Forever 21, Claire's, Hot Topic, and Aeropastle are very popular among teens. today's youth fashions seem to be a mix of the new with 90s.... and 80s.....dear god.

    I graduated from high school in 2003. not that long ago. at my high school, you were popular if you were nice. its not that way in movies. but generally the really popular people in school were the nicest and sweetest ones. hey, this is the South after all. I was friends with cheerleaders and geeks. I didnt stick to one clique. But mostly I hung out with the drama crowd and worked on the plays.

    I remember 2 lesbians going to the homecoming dance as dates and the whole school feasting on the gossip. it was horrible! and a gay boy was largely ridiculed.
     
  21. Makoto
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    Makoto New Member

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    The fashion will vary from place to place. Where I live, none of the things you'll find in magazines are actually worn. You should consider hanging out around a local high school for a little while, just to see what the students are wearing (this wouldn't help if they wear uniforms, of course). But don't do it in a creepy, stalker-ish way. ;)
     
  22. Sulac Sol
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    Judging by my school...

    Fashion: About 65% of the kids here wear the big-name brands (American Eagle and Hollister in particular), and about 30% solely wear band shirts (metal bands only, Disturbed and Slipknot and Lamb of God are the most popular). 5%, including me, throw on random t-shirts and jeans. A lot of guys wear athletic shorts or plaid shorts, and a lot of girls wear semi-fancy dresses (this time of year, at least) or short-short shorts. I can think of four goths of the top of my head, out of 900 kids.

    There are a handful of openly gay guys and slightly more lesbians. "Gay" and "fag" are popular insults, but no one ever calls anyone who is gay or lesbian them. Oddly enough, there isn't much bullying or anything at my school. Gossip and rumors are popular, as is drama, but I've never seen anyone get thrown in a trash can or even heard about it.

    Quite a few guys run an underground boxing ring in our gym locker room after school, and there's usually a fight every other week. Teens *love* fights, they flock to them like moths to a lamp.

    As to PDA, if you walk down the hallway you can see pretty much everything short of straight-up sex. I kid you not, sadly. Generally, people look upon this with disdain... unless they're dating someone, and they do it themself.

    And the good-looking, nice, girls tend to date the butthole guys at my school then complain about them being jerks.

    EVERYONE texts constantly at my school. Even in class. Half of our teachers have given up trying to stop it and just don't care anymore, while the other half futiley try to stop, only to have the students text anyways. We find a way.

    Video games are immensely popular among the guys at my school, though DS's and PSP's are barely used. Mostly its Xbox 360 and PS3 all around. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is the most popular game nowadays. Guitar Hero and Rock Band used to be fairly popular but fell out of style over the last summer.

    Drugs and alcohol are really common. Almost half the school drinks or claims too, even a lot of kids who are normally "good" kids. There are a lot of stoners, but they mostly stick with weed. There's been a case or two of meth, and prescription pills are commonly traded. (Its kind of funny how some kids try to smuggle them in.)

    The most common commodity in school is gum. Frankly, there's nothing you can't get someone to do for a piece of gum or a single dollar.

    Cliques have disolved lately. In fact, there's only one clique in our school: the band nerds. They have their own table at lunch, bite the heads off of anyone not in their clique who tries to sit there, and always hang out together. In that clique, even dating somebody outside of band is considered taboo.
     

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