Dressing for hybrid school schedules, small gatherings and backyard events has amped up teen style.
"Teens are certainly getting dressed," says Jill Oralevich, the divisional merchandise manager of trendy retailer Lester’s in Greenvale. That may sound sort of, well, "obv," but the fact of the matter is that for months, just like their adult counterparts, teens were quarantined at home, many of them living in pajamas and sweats. Now that they’ve returned to school on hybrid schedules or full time, Oralevich says, "They’re not stepping out looking like they just rolled out of bed."
Teens’ passion for fashion is anything but squelched and there’s a real thirst to update and adopt new trends, whether it’s going to school or participating in small, distanced gatherings.
"There’s definitely a resurgence of looking for freshness and newness but the trend still is going toward comfortable, casual attire but more elevated than it’s been," she says. "Fashion now is very lifestyle sensitive and the lifestyle now is very cozy, comfy, backyard, outdoor living."
At Ooh la la Boutiques in Sayville, Babylon and Bay Shore, owner Jenny Montiglio, whose customers range from teens on up, says, "We did not have a normal summer. We usually sell tons of dresses and we didn’t. We didn’t even have fashion pieces in the store. Everything was about cozy, cozy pieces." But now that the weather is cooling down shoppers’ lust is heating up. "Any day the temperature drops below 65 degrees, we see a huge interest in fall transition pieces — it’s out of control."
On a recent chilly Saturday, she says, "we sold every knit piece in the store. I think teens want fashion pieces to come back in their lives." Montiglio is on a fourth reorder of a fuzzy topper and says corduroy, sweats and tie-dye in darker wintry palettes are all the rage.
At Lester’s too, they’re feeling the love for fuzzy-wuzzy outerwear pieces including teddy bear styles, Sherpa and faux-fur. "My instinct with teens is that we want to make sure they can spend as much time outdoors as possible," says Oralevich. Other greatest hits, for now at least, include rock ‘n’ roll tees and sweatshirts, plaid and animal prints including snake. "Denim — still ripped and distressed — definitely has a place but it’s not ruling the roost," says Oralevich.
It's the same at Macy’s, where Matt Sebra, senior director, Macy’s Fashion Office says, teens still have "the desire to put on something that’s special — even if it’s a tie-dye hoodie." He adds that while they’re really into getting back to fashion, "teenagers are both the earliest adapters and the hardest audience to attract." Sebra says that authentic influencers and celebrities "resonate the most," with teens and that the number of micro trends "has only ramped up. One week everyone is bleaching one leg of their jeans and the next making DIY tops out of old sweatshirts. TikTok has certainly helped drive that too."
That seems to be the case for young fashionista, Carys Hyland, 14, a freshman at Manhasset High School who, in addition to her schoolwork, spent her time in quarantine dreaming up outfits she might wear outside someday instead of the sweats and leggings she donned daily.
"I was seeing how fashion was sort of evolving. I would watch videos on TikTok — like girls in really cool outfits and take inspiration from them but not copy them," she says.
During the shutdown, she made her own tie-dye sets, watched her favorite TikTok stars (hers happens to be @IateyourKalechip) and even ordered items online. "I think fashion is kind of a creative outlet for me even though I’m not the best artist. I express my creativity by planning outfits in my head. I was so, so excited to finally go back to school because now, I finally had a place to wear them." She goes every other day and prefers wearing little tiered skirts topped by bulky rock ‘n’ roll sweatshirts.
"The day I go to school, I go extra and really dress up and because I’m wearing a face mask, I feel I have to overcompensate," she says. "My home days, I’m wearing pajamas." Sometimes says Carys, there are "outside gatherings of 8-10 people sitting on someone’s porch. Since I only see half my friends at school, that’s another chance to show off my outfit."
10 trends for teens that are blazing hot these days:
- Tie-dye (yes, still)
- Plaid (a touch of punk)
- Fuzzy jackets and coats (in materials like Sherpa and faux fur)
- Rock ‘n’ roll-themed tees and sweatshirts (and they like vintage — bands from way back)
- Tiered little skirts (florals and patterns)
- Bike shorts (not for biking)
- Animal prints (leopard, zebra and snake)
- Lounge sets (particularly in tie-dye)
- Ripped jeans (especially “mom jeans” with high waists)
- Rubber shoes such as Crocs (now cool)