Generation Z cares about style and price over brand names, according to a 2016 survey by Business Insider.
While they shop both online and in stores, their eclectic style is harder to pin down. These teens and tweens will describe their look as “something between classic and casual,” “chic and trendy,” “sporty bohemian chic” and “modern, slick, chic, simple.”
They may not have credit cards yet, but kids in junior high and high school have buying power, and retailers are paying attention.
“For teens and many others, the trend in fashion right now is all about self-expression and athleisure. It’s about making a statement by wearing your brand’s favorite logo or a catchy head-turning saying. Comfort, attitude and style is the name of the game,” said Stephanie Muehlhausen of Macy’s Fashion Office.
Denim, casual is in
Style-conscious kids look to celebrities and fashion insiders for inspiration in how to express themselves sartorially.
“With today’s speed of information, teens have an enormous pool of resources for style inspiration,” Muehlhausen said. “The best way to translate this inspiration is by adding personal flair to make it your own and stand out in the crowd.”
Denim is a constant for both boys and girls.
“So many of the newest trends are being worn back to denim. We are seeing a lot of really cool customization with patches, pins and doodling. Destructed denim with stepped hems and frayed waistbands are a must-have in anyone’s closet. We are also very excited about the revival of ‘90s denim ideas like vintage-feeling Levi’s, ‘mom-jean’ silhouettes and lighter washes,” Muehlhausen said.
One look that’s sticking around — yet evolving — is the legging as pants.
“Athleisure has evolved to feel a bit more like streetwear. We are seeing the legging, which will forever be an important staple, shift into track and sweatpant silhouettes. We are seeing the emergence of sweatsuit ideas mixed back to denim jackets and a statement shoe, whether it is a sneaker or a heel,” Muehlhausen said. “The idea is that these active-inspired pieces are being integrated into the daily wardrobe.”
Slogan T-shirts, especially those with positive and fun messages, are all the rage for boys and girls.
“Considering the importance of self-expression and the many parallels of bold logos and the athleisure trend, slogan and graphic T-shirts are great way to share your personality and express your current mood,” Muehlhausen said.
The color palette for fall leans more toward warmth, like pale pinks, bright blues and classic autumnal shades of navy peony, butter rum and tawny port, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, Pantone Color Institute.
“Tonal earth tones are all the craze right now, whether they are worn all together or as a monochromatic look,” Muehlhausen said. “Metallics are also great to implement in your fall wardrobe. It’s a fresh way to add a pop.”
Getting down to the details, “accessories for the season are all about expressing yourself with embellishment, embroidery or personalization,” Muehlhausen said. “Backpacks are the ‘it’ bag of the season. Every teen should have one that shows off their own individual style through floral prints, studding or fun pins and patches.
“A new pair of fashion sneakers or ballet flats paired with a statement sock is a stylish way to start off on the right foot. To complete any outfit a girl needs a tech watch and a new choker with velvet, lace, denim or leather.”