Teenage girls are often thought to spend much of their time shopping, which is commonly perceived by society as a shallow and frivolous activity.
“I think there’s definitely a stereotype, and it just depends on the perspective of the person, sometimes people are like, ‘okay, girls like to shop. It’s okay’,” said junior Kailey Schuyler.
“But lots of the time I do feel that people are like, ‘oh, girls just like to shop, that’s all they like to do, they just like buying clothes’ but it’s like that’s not all we like to do.”
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/179551527″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
While many teenage girls do enjoy shopping, they don’t see the activity as superficial and silly. To sophomore Anna Kate Levesque, shopping is a way to spend time with friends.
“It’s just fun to spend quality time with whoever you’re shopping with,” she said.
Levesque added that she shops about once a month. Schuyler echoed the same feelings.
“You get to hang out with your friends [when shopping], and it’s like a social thing,” she said. “And you can eat food with them while you’re out, so it’s more of like a friendship thing and not necessarily just like ‘I want to buy clothes.’”
Senior Adriana Doyle sees shopping as an opportunity to develop her own style.
“I just really like fashion and I like having a diverse style,” she said. “I don’t really have a specific style or anything, I just like mixing it up. I think it’s fun.”
“There’s so many different looks you can achieve,” senior Ayla McNeil added. “You can be […] preppy one day [and] kind of like gothic but kind of cute one day. You can be kind of New Yorkish, like city girl.”
Shopping cannot simply be classified as “frivolous” because there are so many reasons for doing the activity, whether it is spending time with friends, creating a style, or something else.
“I think that everyone shops for different reasons,” senior Emma Bangs said. “I think that I shop for different reasons at different times. Sometimes I’m just stressed, and I want to go do something that takes my mind off of things.”
“I think that everyone’s different, they buy things for different reasons, and even if they do buy [something] because everyone else [is wearing it], that’s fine as long as they’re happy,” she added.
There also seems to be pressure for teenage girls to keep up with trends. Stores often advertise that their clothing is cool and stylish. New trends appear frequently, bringing with them the apparent need to “keep up.” And nearly everywhere teenage girls look, whether it be social media like Twitter and Instagram, fashion magazines, or even advertisements on TV, there is information about styles that are trending.
But this pressure is not felt by all shoppers. Schuyler finds her own fashion preferences to be more important than trends that are popular.
“Honestly, I don’t really know what the trends are,” she said. “If I like something, I’ll buy it and I’ll wear it. But I don’t really feel pressure to conform to what others [wear].”
Levesque also felt that following trends are secondary to choosing one’s own style.
“Trends will come and go. It’s kind of a waste to like throw away your old clothes just because a new trend comes out,” she said. “I think just wear what you want to wear. Even if the trend’s old, if you like it, just wear it.”
“ I think that as I long as I’m wearing something that I like and I look in the mirror and I’m happy with whatever I’m wearing that day, that’s something good, that’s positive,” said Bangs.
Instead of following trends, these girls choose clothes that they feel express their personality.
“I really care about my appearance, as much as people say you shouldn’t,” Schuyler said. “I feel it’s important and it’s a good way to express yourself and I like expressing myself through clothing and it makes me feel more confident.”
Bangs also believes that fashion “is a cool way to express yourself.”
Aside from self-expression, those who spend time shopping also do so for personal satisfaction. They enjoy shopping and fashion because it brings them happiness, not because they feel pressure.
“[Fashion] is a really easy way to make yourself happy, you know,” Bangs said. “I mean, just putting on something nice can automatically make you feel better and simple pleasures like that are something that some people don’t really take advantage of because they’re thinking, ‘oh maybe I should dress this way because it’s good, or maybe I just shouldn’t bother dressing a certain way.’”
And even though these girls do enjoy fashion and shopping, they also acknowledged that clothes and appearance are not the most important things.
“I’m totally for wearing sweatpants to school, and wearing heels to school, like whatever makes me happy,” Bangs said.
McNeil felt that, though clothes can express who you are, personality is even more apparent.
“I feel like you don’t have to dress up to show who you are,” she said. “It’s just through your personality, so if I’m just happy one day I just carry that attitude, so I don’t need clothes to keep up with that.”
Background Photo Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press