You want to stand out one day but will do anything to blend in the next. Welcome to the teen years, where your physical, moral and intellectual self is growing rapidly-- not to mention your fashion sense. Dressing appropriately means gaining acceptance, respect and second looks from the people who matter: your peers, parents, teachers and your boss at work. By using some dress tips, you can feel confident and prepared for any situation.
Tread Trends Lightly
Just because the spring issue of GQ has a fashion spread of mismatched plaids and argyles, don't go crazy just yet. Understand the difference between a magazine pictorial and real life. A good rule is to take one of-the-moment fashion trend and mix it with a classic piece. For example, if stripes are in, pair a striped tee with solid-colored pants and shoes in a complimentary color. If scarves are in style, purchase one in a solid color that mixes well with your patterned sweaters. A best bet is to choose trends in accessories, such as watches, belts and knit hats, and keep classic with your pants and shirts.
Pair Down to Essentials
Sayings on t-shirts are cute when you are five years old, not 15. Anything with loud graphics or obnoxious sayings might be cool to your classmates, but not your coach. Solid colored, long- and short-sleeved tees are essential, but make sure you also own collared shirts like polos and button-downs. One thick, hooded sweatshirt is enough. Instead, pair dark jeans and flat-front pants with sweaters, trench coats, jackets and cardigans to make a fashion statement. Learn to layer with a vest, a tee under a button-down shirt or a sweater over a long-sleeved crew neck.
Shoes should be supportive with an arch to ward off foot problems as an adult. Consider your weekly routines and purchase a pair of shoes for each activity. While you'll need specific shoes for playing sports, every teen dude needs a pair of everyday tennis shoes, like Vans or Converse, a pair of boat shoes and a soft, leather pair of brown or black slip-on loafers. Flip flops and Timberland-type sandals make a splash in the summer months-- just be careful about showing your toes on a date, at school or at work.
Wear the Right Size
Saggy pants and jeans that fall off the back are for rappers in videos, not your average teenage boy. Invest in a belt, and tuck in your shirt when the tail is past your behind. Remember, also, that club wear belongs in a club-- too-tight shirts are not appealing. Think fitted but never tight when it comes to shirts and pants. Unless you are a literal rock star, skip the leather pants and strangely skinny jeans. As a general rule, your clothes should not pucker anywhere on your body, and sleeves should end at your wrists. Also, tailor your pants to be 1/2 to 3/4 inch longer in the back.
Discover Your Style
Read men's fashion magazines and browse department stores to find your style. It's also a good idea to assess your daily schedule and lifestyle. Do you practice basketball four times a week? Invest in a good pair of sneakers and some elastic-band shorts that easily go from classroom to court. Do you go from school to work? Make sure your wardrobe has a few pairs of khaki pants or colored jeans that are easily paired with a collared shirt. Thinking about what your daily life consists of and how you want to be perceived goes a long way in getting the right clothes on your back.