The changing fashions of children and teens


How would you describe modern children and teen wear?

I find much of teen wear unattractive, unfeminine, immodest and often just plain ugly.

As for younger children's clothes — well, that is a mixed bag, some are lovely and pretty, others much more questionable, especially when they try to replicate ugly adult wear for younger girls.

The changes in children and teen clothing has been quite remarkable over the last 100 years. In this blog post I thought it would be fun (and perhaps some what depressing) to look at the changes that have occurred.  I think the two pictures above says it all - things have changed and perhaps not for the best!! Dainty is not a word one would use for 2015 as they did in 1920!

The 1920s
Indulging our children: There was a time when mum went shopping and bought clothes for her children, clothing was practical and mother only bought what she could afford.  Most mothers these days buy what their children want (even if they can't afford to), partly because they don't want the fights that usually occur but because they want their children to "blend in" with current trends and be happy.   They also know that if they buy something their child dislikes, it will never be wore. 

Our little girls are born into a glittering world of choice and many mothers are willing to indulge their daughters many requests, especially when it comes to clothes, accessories, shoes and make-up. Modern girls own more clothes than any other generation and mothers are willing to spend big dollars building their daughters wardrobes and changing them when trends change. As girls grow they begin to care more about their peers opinions that their parents. They are strongly influenced by teen fashion magazines, popular TV shows, music, movie and reality TV stars  - they want the latest fashions, the right brand-names, want to look sexy and make endless trips to the mall with their girlfriends. And parents are willing to indulge their children's many demands far more than ever before. Parents are willing to run up credit card debit simple to make their children happy (to indulge them).

No modern girl or teen wants to be seen in hand-me-downs, out of fashion clothing or home made outfits - these are simply as NOT cool. 

The 1930s 
Hand-made was considered perfectly ok once. I grew up in the 1970s and my mother made most of my wardrobe simply because she couldn't afford to buy lots of shop-bought outfits. Not only did mum sew, she also knitted all our jumpers which I doubt I appreciated as much as I should have. She wasn't unique, many mothers sewed and knitted.  For many decades children just accepted the clothing their mothers either bought or made — clothing had a practical purpose and wasn't about peer pressure or following trends. 

How times have changed, many modern mothers can't sew, don't want to sew or don't have the time required to sew and most modern children wouldn't be seen dead in home-made clothing.  With so many cheap imports from China and India, parents are willing to buy clothing that won't last to keep just to keep their children happy.  Funnily, I have returned to making my own clothes because it is cheaper, but because I can customise and make what I want and not follow the trends!! How we come a full circle! 

The 1950s
Feminine dress was all the rage in the the 1950s and 60s  for girls and their mothers alike. It was the trend of the time and one that many of us look back on with fondness and nostalgia. And thanks to TV series like Mad Men some of these styles have crept back into fashion. These dresses for girls were about looking pretty and nothing to do with sexualisation as we have today, they were modest, respectable and girls looked like girls. Even the fabric was pretty and girly.  It was also an era where girls didn't wear make-up, didn't need lots of accessories and were perhaps more content with a few fancy frocks. 

The 1970s
Sexualisation of clothing — Clothes today, especially for teens, is all about being sexy, looking sexy and acting sexy. We now live in a world that is sexually saturated and for many girls, they are now so desensitised to sexual material they have no idea what impression they are making. No wonder boys are completely and utterly confused. Just go visit a local mall and see the number of girls in very brief shorts, dresses that hardly cover their bottoms and don't get me started on leggings and jumpers that cover nothing. Not only are girls clothing becoming more and more sexual, sex is everywhere; the shows they watch on TV, teen magazines, the popular movie and reality TV stars they follow (and copy) and the novels they read (many teens have read and watched "Fifty Shades of Grey" and the vampire romance genre).

Parents have lost control over their children's wardrobes (and probably many other aspects of their children's lives) and in their mission to create "happy" children, they have been responsible in leading their daughters in particular down a dangerous path. 

The 1990s
Copying what was on TV became quite the trend in the 1980's and 90s. This wasn't the era of feminine dress and if you did wear something pretty, you really did stand out. The internet hadn't taken over our lives at this stage, but TV shows were starting to have a big impact on what girls wore and of course they all wanted to look like their favourite star. My desire for a demin jacket was strongly influenced by what I saw on TV. It was also the start of magazines dedicated to teens and through these magazines marketers aimed directly at an untapped market — children and teens. 

Now - children's wear
Brand products such as Frozen for girls and superheroes for boys have been all the rage for a number of years but I think they are swamping the stores far more now than ever before. Famous characters now appear on babies clothing and continue throughout the child's life, however no longer just covering the fronts of T-shirts, you find them on baby and children's accessories, shoes, dress up clothes, birthday party themes, endless toys, books, manchester for the bedroom, even food from breakfast cereal , lollies to school lunch box items. For example, you can get almost anything with a "Frozen" character on it at present which is ok, until your daughter suddenly falls in love with the next character that comes along! And did I mention how expensive all this branded items are?

Modern parents are on the brand-name treadmill and for many there is simple no end to it and in the effort to keep their children happy, they are willing to go along with their endless demands.

This makes life tricky if you wish to avoid such trends and buy generic. 

How clothing has changed from one of practical wearing to just another consumer item to keep up with the latest trends. Clothes aren't about comfort any more, they are about impressing peers and looking like their Hollywood hero. 

Now - teen wear
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Comments

  1. Looking at the way fashions have changed over the past 100 years just makes me shake my head. People went from looking decent and pretty to looking ugly and whorish and indecent! It's awful! I see no point in trying to keep up with fashions. I just don't have the time and energy to devote to such silliness! I think when it comes to my wardrobe and my likes and dislikes, I pull a little bit from many different "trends" and basically make up my own style. :) Of the pictures you've included in this post, the ones from the 30s, 50s and 70s (the dresses) are my favourites.
    As for my daughter? She hats the trends and would much rather wear feminine, pretty (and old fashioned) clothing. She loves history though, so I suppose it's no surprise.

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    1. Sometimes I will see a pretty young teen and her dress is very nice however it is SO short it ruins the whole look. If only she knew how much better she would look if it was longer.

      Homeschooling does help with avoiding many of the peer pressure problems that girls in particular run into - your daughter doesn’t have those issues which means dressing the way she likes isn’t challenged by those nasty kids that are always at school that love to tease people who do things differently.

      I use to dislike “casual dress day” when we didn’t need to wear our uniforms, I always stood out as different and I really struggled with it - on occasions I turned up in uniform and pretended I had forgotten :( I went to a very posh school where all the girls wore expensive trendy clothes and I stood out!!

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  2. So sad what our world is coming to. We need renewal and revival and a return to God's Word & ways! Pray for us over here in the U.S.

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    1. At least we have someone to look forward and hold onto to which is such a comfort :))

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  3. Mum gave me all her lovely knitted jumpers her mum made her. They are sooo warm during the winter months :) I keep thinking I need to learn how to sew/knit, even if it was minor things like how to replace a button (totally clueless).

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    1. What a lovely gift, my mum knitted all my jumpers when I was young, I just wish she could knit for me know as I would appreciate then far more now than when I was young !!

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  4. I agree. I am in 11th grade at a school of over 2000 kids. I just posted my modesty post on my blog and thank goodness it is summer else I am sure that I would hear all about it from my friends in the comments and at lunch. Lol. Gotta love em :)

    Here is the link, if anyone is interested: http://majesticgoldenrose.weebly.com/blog/the-modesty-post-why-be-modest-faithhacks

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    1. Good for you to stand up and write for what you believe in, so many young people are game too (because of the teasing) - you are very brave:))) The thing I think about modesty - so many young people don't realise you can still look cool and modest - modesty doesn't mean wearing something shapeless and ugly. I have seen so many great examples posted by other young bloggers that show trendy clothing that still remains modest.

      have a great week .

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  5. With only boys, there is not much I sew for them. However, I fondly remember picking out patterns for a dress for my mom to make at Easter and Christmas. It was never extravagant, but it was new. While I sew, I do not sew nearly as well as she or her mother could. I am great at finding deals on second-hand clothing though. Thankfully my boys are thrilled with 'new' clothes, especially if they get to help pick them out.

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    1. I only have boys to, so clothing was never much of an issue compared to girls. I didn't sew much when they were young, partly because we lived in the tropics and they wore shorts and Ts all day (as it was warm all year round) and i could buy them at the local markets cheaper than i could make them!

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  6. This was such an interesting post. It's funny to think that those 20s fashions were considered daring at the time with the bobbed hair and shorter dresses. Clothing today is so depressing. I think most of it is really ugly, as well as immodest. I am thinking I need to learn to sew again.
    My mother also made a lot of my clothes before I was high school age. After that, I fell prey to peer pressure too.
    Thank you for the clothing history here. I am on a personal mission to quietly refuse to follow the cheap and ugly clothing trend!

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    1. I agree about todays clothing being depressing, especially the tight jeans :( I started to sew my own clothes in the last 2 years, whilst no expert, most people don't have any idea my clothes are hand-made and as far as I am concerned don't look too bad!!! and at least I get things that fit me!

      I join your mission and I am sure we am not alone.

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  7. Sometimes I look at what I use to wear and be so embarrassed. It been so hard converting from pants to skirts! I got rid of all my shorts or converted them into skirts. I find I get frustrated wearing them and change into pants.

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    1. I grew up only wearing skirts and dresses - in my 20s I went a little wild and wore lots of shorts and trousers, but have switched back for the last 15 years and now hardly ever wear pants. It is easier in summer but winter was a little more difficult - but now I don't even think about it!! It does become a normal part of your life after a while. I find pinterest is a great place for ideas if you get stuck for ideas of how to wear a skirt.

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  8. It's interesting to look at the changes in style and fashion. I'm glad you shared your thoughts. Personally, I never understood wearing jean shorts that are that short -- it looks really uncomfortable. And skirts? Well, they need shorts underneath!

    Thanks for sharing at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup ...I've pinned your post... hope you join us again this week!

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  9. It's interesting to look at the changes in style and fashion. I'm glad you shared your thoughts. Personally, I never understood wearing jean shorts that are that short -- it looks really uncomfortable. And skirts? Well, they need shorts underneath!

    Thanks for sharing at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup ...I've pinned your post... hope you join us again this week!

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  10. This is a great post and I appreciate you sharing it with us at Good Morning Mondays. I find it so hard to find clothes for my son (7) and daughter (10). I op shop for clothes but even now it is hard to find items without graffiti or skulls on them. I now make my daughters dresses and skirts and look online (eBay) for decent shirts and dress pants for our son for church etc. I love some of the fashions from years ago and a incorporate some of them for our children with nice fabric. Blessings

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    1. And in winter we all wear leggings under our long skirts to keep us warm. If they are 3/4 ones no one even knows because you can't see them.

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    2. I wear lots of tights in winter to keep my legs warm. Before I taught myself to sew, I bought quite a few skirts from eBay and on most occasions found really good bargains. I am so glad that my sons are all grown up as I didn't have as much trouble in finding them nice t-shirts :)

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  11. I'm not sure what is worse... these trends or parents purchasing them for their kids. I have to buy clothes often 3 sizes too big for our toddler so it isn't too tight. Even then, she outgrows it so quickly. I've found myself looking in the boy's section for her at times because some of the things in the girl's section are ridiculous. I need to learn to sew again... Visiting from Soul Survival today. :)

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    1. Parents seem to think it all ok it would appear as they keep on buying whatever their children want - I am sometimes amazed at what parents are willing to buy, especially for their pre-teens, I just shake my head :((

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  12. Yep...depressing. Ha! Well, we still have a choice. In this house, we will dress like ladies and dress modestly. Thanks so much for sharing at the Homemaking Party. I wanted to let you know that I’ve started a weekend link up on my new blog, Big Family Frugal (.com) and would love to have you join me there, as well. It’s up now and the new one starts every Friday.

    Hope you’re having a great week!
    Blessings,
    Sarah

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    1. I have just booked marked your new blog - looks good :)))

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