What we found:
Nearly three-quarters of the girls and just over half of the boys on our panel felt that personal fashion and style were important in their lives. Boys and girls agreed that the duds you don are a good way to show others how cool you are and often reflect an individual’s personality. The boys showed some skepticism when it came to what clothing said about a person, noting that clothes are often an indicator of financial well-being, as well as personality.
Finding fashion cues
Kids take fashion cues from a number of sources: Friends, celebrities, sports stars, magazines and ads on TV. Both the girls and the boys, however, stressed their personal sense of style as well. Both named personal opinion as having the most influence over what they consider fashionable. Second on the girls list were models and celebrities such as Britney Spears, *NSYNC and Christina Aguilera. The boys named friends as the second most influential fashion factor, followed by TV and magazine ads.
Threads that make the grade
We also wanted to know what’s in and what’s out, fashion-wise. The girls in-list was led by capri pants, followed by baggy clothing and little tank tops. On the boys list, specific brands surfaced. First was baggy clothing, followed by anything branded Tommy Hilfiger, Nike or Fubu. When asked what was out, the girls named anything too baggy or too tight, followed by straight-legged jeans. Boys named tight pants and short shorts as fashion faux pas.
Favorite brands for the girls included Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger. The boys named Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Old Navy as their faves. Top athletic shoe brands for both girls and boys were Nike, Adidas and Reebok. Non-athletic shoe favorites for both girls and boys were Skechers, Vans, Candies and Timberland.
The majority of the kids we spoke to were satisfied with their wardrobes. The boys were less concerned with their current closet contents, saying that new clothes are purchased rapidly to keep up with how quickly they’re growing.
Most kids reported clothing expenditures of US$26 to US$50 per month, with a huge majority reporting that the money comes solely from mom and dad. (The kids say they spend under US$10 per month of their own money on clothes.) However, when it comes to making the decisions on the articles purchased, kids play an extensive role. Three-quarters of the kids we spoke to say they have an equal if not dominant say when it comes to the clothes that are purchased. Less than one-quarter say they have little clout in the decision-making process.
What kids said:
We asked kids if their parents generally agree with their taste in clothing. The result was a 50/50 split: Half of the parents agree, half don’t. The most common disagreements are over the cost of cool clothing, and a taste for clothes that-in parents’ eyes-are too baggy or too tight.
‘My parents and I disagree about the clothes I wear. I like wearing my shirts untucked with no belt and my baseball caps backwards, but my dad thinks it makes me look like I’m in a gang.’ David, 11, Georgia
‘I sometimes want to wear what the other kids do, and my dad says it looks stupid.’ James, 12, New Jersey
‘My parents and I agree, because they think they are cool too-my mom and dad wear cool clothes.’ Dane, 10, Ohio
‘My mom thinks that what I want to wear is too old for me and shows too much, like the handkerchief shirts that tie in the back and tight pants and shorts.’ Brittany, 11, Maryland
‘It doesn’t matter. My mom lets me buy the stuff I like even when she doesn’t like it!’ Phoenox, 13, Kansas
‘My parents and I agree on almost everything. The only things we disagree on is if they cost too much and if they are too old for me.’ Katherine, 11, British Columbia, Canada