Teenagers usually want to feel they fit in with their friends and peer groups and feel accepted by them.
One important aspect of this can be looking the part so that they feel in sync with those around them. For many teenagers, this can be very difficult if they lack confidence in their looks and feel unhappy about the way they dress because they don’t know what suits them. Even worse, they can feel resentful because their friends look great which can bring down their self-esteem even more.
Instead of reveling in their own sense of style because they know what styles and colours look fantastic on them, teenagers often wear the same clothes as their friends as they look to them and other peer groups for inspiration, acceptance and direction in how to dress.
Unfortunately, most high street fashion, especially teenage fashion, is designed for ultra slim, waif-like figures. This can be great for girls who have that bodyshape, but as we know, teenagers come in all shapes and sizes and many find it frustrating and impossible to find the right clothes that flatter their bodyshape and lift their confidence. Therefore, they can end up wearing completely the wrong styles and cuts because they don’t know what else to wear.
At The Glass Slipper, we’ve styled many teenagers over the years and are fully aware of their and their parents’ frustrations in finding the best styles for everyday casualwear and for going out.
That’s why we’ve put together this special Teen Style Guide and packed it full of our tried and tested advice and top tips on how to help your daughter make the right style decisions based on what suits her bodyshape and colouring. This way, she’ll feel much more positive about developing her own unique sense of style and find it a enjoyable experience because she’ll know exactly which cuts, styles and colours make her look amazing.
Thus, she’ll always know what to buy and what to leave in the shop, thereby saving herself (and you) a small fortune. She’ll also cut out that awful angst-filled learning curve most teenagers have to go through to find out what suits them.
And, most importantly, she’ll develop fantastic styling habits that will last her a lifetime.
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It’s what’s in your daughter’s wardrobe that can make or break her confidence. The only way to begin is by getting the basics right.
These cores pieces should be simple garments that are easy to layer, create into outfits and accessorize. As they will be easy to mix and match, thereby making them ideal for dressing up and down to suit the occasion, each item will get plenty of wear, helping to squeeze the most out of your teenager’s shopping budget.
An Example Of A Basic Wardrobe:
- Dressy jeans for going out
- Casual jeans for everyday
- Vests for layering
- Plain tee shirts
- Long-sleeved shirt(s)
- Dressy tops
- Jacket for summer/ coat for winter
- Leggings or slim trousers
- Casual trainers
- Flats (pumps, man shoes or low-heeled smarter shoes)
- Sandals or flip flops for summer, and boots for winter
Keep to a simple colour palette of two or three neutral colours and one or two accent colours that will easily create these key items into numerous co-ordinated outfits that will take your teen from super casual to super smart in a matter of minutes.
Smart Jeans (New Look)
Casual jeans (Uniqlo)
Tee (New Look)
Cardigan (River Island)
- Tailored trousers for day and night
- 2-3 tee shirts with prints or slogans
- Denim jacket
- Skirt or shorts
- Jewellery, headbands, hats
Printed tee (New Look)
Printed tee (New Look)
Printed tee (New Look)
Day or night trousers
Denim Jacket (Topshop)
Denim gilet (Miss Selfridge)
Knitted beret (Forever21)
Earring (New Look)
Skirt (American Apparel)
(this can be worn as a knee length skirt too)
Scarf (Urban Outfitters)
When you see someone looking amazing, it’s because they know they look great and are therefore feeling comfortable, relaxed and confident. Your daughter will also feel confident and comfortable in her skin when she discovers how to shop for and wear clothes that fit well, and flatter her bodyshape.
The secret of how to achieve this is to create a balanced silhouette. This will bring her body into balance and show her how to disguise certain areas and bring attention to others, therefore boosting her self-esteem.
First decide what her shape is. There are two ways to do this:
- If your daughter is happy enough with her overall size, get her to look in the mirror either in her underwear or something very slim fitting that shows her shape and proportions.
- If, however, she is extremely unhappy with her body it might be advisable to do this in a more discreet way.
Have a look at her shoulders, bust, waist and hips.
Hourglass shoulders in line with hips, curved bust, defined waist
Pear hips wider than shoulders, small bust, defined waist
Inverted Triangle shoulders wider than hips, small bust, no waist
Apple shoulders in line with hips, full bust, full tummy, no waist
Lean Column shoulders in line with hips, small bust, no waist
In order to create a balanced silhouette, simply use these key principles:
- Create interest and add detail to smaller shoulders to balance wider hips
- Create interest and add detail to smaller hips to balance broader shoulders
- Don’t add bulk and layers to larger areas
- Don’t wear oversized clothes to hide problem areas
How to achieve a balanced silhouette by bodyshape:
Hourglass Choose shaped and fitted lines that follow your teenager’s body’s line:
- Follow her body’s line by choosing clothes that define her waist, enhance her bust and highlight her hips and bottom
- This is the classic feminine shape and is the most flexible when it comes to wearing different styles and shapes in clothing
- Any styles and shapes that hide your body shape. They will add extra volume to her waist
Inverted Triangle Choose shapes that will make your teenager’s hips look broader:
- Keep details or anything that adds volume to her lower half e.g. hip belts, hip pockets or full skirts
- Keep her top half clean and uncluttered
- Necklines that broaden her top e.g. wide necks, halter necks, big collars
- Styles that extend or accentuate shoulders e.g. puff sleeves, shoulder pads
- Patterns on top
- Scarves around her neck or shoulders
- Narrowing hemlines e.g. pencil skirts or skinny jeans
Lean Column Create the illusion of curves around the hips, bust and of a waist:
- Use layering to shorten her long top half
- Create fullness around her extremities e.g. bubble hems, sleeves, turn up legs, scarves at the neckline
- Wear high- or low-waisted styles
- Create width around her shoulders
- Wear unfitted jackets, which slope to the waist
- Highlight her hips and bottom using pockets and pleats
- Figure-hugging garments
- Long straight fitted lines in dresses, trousers and sleeves
- Tops or dresses with square necklines
- Shapeless jackets
- Loose or droopy styles that hang from the shoulders
- Dropped waistlines
- Bulky, heavy textures
- Double-breasted jackets
Apple Follow her bodyline – avoid details around bust, tummy and hips:
- Keep the clothing line straight or slightly fitted
- Wear soft fabrics to avoid unnecessary bulk around the bosom, waist and tummy
- Keep detail around shoulders
- Keep details above the bust line and below the hip line – for everything in between keep it plain and simple
- The shoulders need attention so you should balance them from the front and side views
- Keep your silhouette fitted under the bust and as well below the arms and along the waist
- Splits at waist works wonders
- Wearing all belts
- Sleeves which finish next to the bust
- Any details, fuss and volume near bust, tummy or hip area e.g. no lapels, double-breasted coats or jackets, high-waisted trousers or waistbands
- Skirts above knee length
- Clothing that finishes at the fullest points e.g. cropped tops or jackets
- Excessive fabric in the mid section
- Gathered or tiered skirts, gathered trousers around the waist
Pear Balance your teenager’s top half with her hips by choosing clothes that make her shoulders look broader and bust bigger:
- Jackets and tops need to finish either above or below the widest point of the hips and bottom
- Layering on the top half creates visual interest and draws the eye upwards
- Volume, clutter, pattern and colour should be worn on the top half, so hips and thighs will seem narrower
- Wear fitted styles around the waist and to accentuate the waistline e.g. empire line, wraps
- Make the shoulders look broader with shoulder pads, puff sleeves or cap sleeve tees
- Narrowing leg, pleats or creases in the leg line, turn-up trousers, wide or flared legs
- Details, patterns, pockets or belts on thigh or hip area
- Straight or pencil skirts
- Bags that sit on the hips
- Mini skirts or any other hemline that finishes on her hips, thighs or any other full area
- Sloping or narrow shoulder lines
The most important aspect of helping your daughter to choose flattering clothes once you know your teenagers’s bodyshape is making sure her clothes fit her perfectly. This doesn’t just mean choosing the dress size on a label, it’s about knowing how an item of clothing should sit on the body and frame it in a flattering and comfortable way.
Here are the key points that can mean the difference between something fitting well and fitting badly:
- When clothes are too small or tight they will dig into the body, sit incorrectly, pucker, making your daughter feel uncomfortable
- When clothes are too big they will add inches to her silhouette. They won’t ‘hide’ problem areas, they will make her look larger than she is
- Jackets Armholes should not be too tight. A size bigger for outerwear is often needed especially if it’s a winter coat and will be worn with several layers underneath
- Sleeve length The sleeve hem should ‘sit’ where the thumb joins the hand
- Trouser/ jean length Trousers and jeans are cut too long these days so it’s well worth paying for an alteration to get the perfect length. A tip – make sure you wash jeans first as the shrinkage in denim can be quite high
- Waistbands on jeans, trousers and skirts shouldn’t gape when sitting down. A belt should not be needed to hold up trousers, jeans or a skirt, except as an accessory. If a belt is needed, the waistband is too big
- Bottoms and hips on fitted styles shouldn’t have masses of excess fabric over them. The fabric should rest gently on the hips and bottom allowing for a small amount of movement, even in skinny jeans. Anything more than this will look wrong.
Wearing the most flattering colours will help to make your teenager look amazing and garner lots of compliments. Dressing well means looking as put together as possible, even if she’s wearing a casual outfit.
As well as choosing clothes that mix well together, it’s important to get together a great colour palette that compliments both her colouring and the rest of her wardrobe.
To see if a colour suits your daughter, hold it up to her face, in as natural or bright light as possible and see if it lifts her skin and makes her glow. When a colour works, the whites of the eyes will appear brighter. When it doesn’t, dark shadows appear under the eyes and the skin will look sallow. It’s worth comparing similar shades one after the other, as despite looking very similar, shades can be very different.
A good wardrobe should be based around two or three neutrals and a few accent colours
- Neutrals can be grey, navy, brown, khaki, beige, cream, white and of course black. Black can be draining on many people though it is often a favourite. Try and introduce other neutrals into the palette
- Accents can be any brights, pastels or neons. They can take the form of print such as floral or stripes, slogans or images on tee shirts. Colour can also be added in vests, scarves, jewellery, belts, bags, shoes and hairpieces
- Wearing colours together: three colours generally look good in an outfit. Any more can look messy. Here’s an example of an easy and flattering colour co-ordinated outfit: blue jeans, pale grey vest, dark grey cardigan, red scarf, mid grey bag.
- Small prints e.g. small florals, polka dots, thin stripes look best on petite bodies and smaller girls
- Large prints e.g. bold florals, big abstract prints, large geometric patterns look best on taller girls
- Pick prints with your daughter’s accent colours
- Tall girls look best in smaller areas of print – wearing print head to toe can look too much
- Smaller girls can wear both large and small areas of print
Small floral print example for petite girl
Large floral print example for taller girl
When it comes to choosing and wearing clothes, most teenagers want to dress like their friends. But if the cuts, styles and colours favoured by her peer group are wrong for her body shape, causing her lack of confidence to plummet, what do you do?
Don’t focus on what not to wear, instead concentrate on what suits her and make her feel as though she’s picking out her best styles and colours.
Accessories are a fantastic, cost effective way for her to keep in with her peer group and to experiment with the latest trends without ending up dressed head-to-toe in pieces totally unsuited to her shape.
- Jewellery Every girl loves some sort of jewellery. Have an assortment of necklaces, pendants and chains, bracelets and bangles, rings and earrings
- Hats flat caps, trilbies, berets, wide brimmed hats, beanies
- Hair wear headbands, bows, ribbons and clips
Layering is really a fancy word for putting outfits together. Any garment worn under or over another is layering.
The key to layering well (once your daughter is aware of the right styles and colours to wear) is to be careful with the weight of each fabric. S
- Start with the lightest weight closest to skin such as a camisole and build from there.
- The more layers, the lighter weight they should be so avoid teaming a very chunky knit cardigan over more than one layer.
- Be careful with rounder, larger body shapes and make sure the under layers are closer fitting rather than flowing and drapey otherwise it will add inches.
- Experiment with longer camisoles or tops peeking out at the hems of outer layers. This is where flashes of colour and print can come into their own.
- Mixing fabric textures such as sheen with matt, woolly with shiny and leather with wool all add lovely touches to basic garments.
Shopping Try to encourage her to encourage your daughter to shop with you rather with her friends so you can gently guide her opinions
Research Encourage your daughter to research looks, ideas and styles she likes herself. When left to our own devices we are often instinctively drawn to what we like because it’s right for us. Without the distraction of her peer group, she might just find things she loves rather than the things she thinks she should love.
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- New Look up to size 24
- Forever 21
- Dororothy Perkins up to size 22
- Miss Selfridge
- Claire’s Accessories
- Urban Outfitters
- American Apparel
- Brand Alley
Please note: The items included in this article were all available at the time of writing the article.