Where does fashion come from? - Where do trends get started? - Where do teens shop? - Where do teens get their fashion inspiration? - Where do YOU shop?

Fashion has been around for thousands of years, in the form of today's stiletto boots to yesterday's bellbottoms to the ancient skins of animals. Developing cultures hunted animals and used their skins to protect them from the elements-- a necessity thousands of years ago when such materials as wool and polyester weren't around. Native American cultures, like many others, used animal skins and bird feathers to differentiate normal tribe members from Chiefs, Elders, warriors, or other leaders, and in this way, fashion became more than just a method to protect one's body-- it became a statement.

Fashion has been used for hundreds of years to differentiate between people of different jobs, classes, ages, genders, races... Hundreds of years ago, only European royalty was allowed to wear the color purple, as it was considered a royal color. Another fashion fact: until recently, women's position in society was so controlled by men that they couldn't even wear what they wanted-- it's only been in the last two centuries that women have begun to wear pants and drop the idea of corsets and other "restricting" clothing.

  • The color purple used for royal clothing was extracted from boiled oysters!
  • Seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show, for fear it may bring bad luck!
  • It was Thomas Alva Edison (inventor of the lightbulb) that first used the idea of a curvy-figure for dolls-- not Mattel!

Trends are everywhere-- in almost every aspect of daily living, but most especially fashion. Every month, it seems as though there's a new style to adopt, a new trend to mimic, a celebrity with the newest "look!" For every teenager on the planet, there are clothes and styles, fabrics and colors of varying sizes, shapes, patterns-- an ongoing combination of ways to look! For many years, fashion was used as a signal as to what one's class or job was. Women were given few options of how to dress, as they were controlled almost entirely by the male mindset. Remember the 'hourglass' figure that was so sought after, for so many hundreds of years? Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but the design and concept of a waist-slimming, breast-enhancing device has endured time's passing. Even today, we have the 'modern' corset, known as the bra. Throughout the years, women did their best to look the way current trends asked them to-- until the age of rebellion in the 1960s, when 'bra burning' became popular, as did feminism.

The cycle of observation -- trend -- rebellion continues today; there are millions of people with styles quite unlike what the many fashion designers and marketers have to offer. Popular stores that teens are said to frequent include Gap, Old Navy, Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle Oufitters, Anchor Blue, and Macy*s. Obviously, not every teen goes to these stores, or even has access to them. Depending on a number of factors, such as personal style, cost, availability, or necessity, a teenager's wardrobe might come from as many as 30 or 40 stores. Department stores such as Macy*s, Nordstroms; Specialty Style stores such as Hot Topic; Brand Name Stores such as Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic; or Retail Stores such as Target, Marshall's, Ross, and Mervyn's-- each of these stores offer a wide variety of clothing in differing styles, for people of different tastes, sizes, colors, shapes...

Teenagers are no different. One might like dressing in black and wearing spike-studded chokers, while another might prefer clean-cut polo shirts and simple slacks. Each teenager's style and wardrobe is as different as their DNA from the guy next door's. As a result, it's impossible to truly say WHERE teens shop-- they shop everywhere. From upper-class, expensive stores like Macy*s, to thrift stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill, teens find their clothing everywhere. Some make their own clothes, or modify old ones to update their look.

Teens get inspired to shop for -or create- their own wardrobes from a wide selection of sources. The media provides a good deal of inspiration, in the form of celebrity advertisement and endorsement, movie or TV show appearances, or from runway modeling shows. Other teenagers prefer to stick to what they know and like, regardless of whether it's "trendy" on New York's Fashion Avenue or not. Everywhere in the world, cultural and class restrictions prevent people from dressing on the extreme ends of the spectrum from day to day. One won't dress in an expensive Victorian-style ballgown one day, and a Japanese kimono the next. For day to day life, one's wardrobe tends to have a running theme or style that defines each individual person, no matter how many hundreds of copies of that sweater were made.

Each individual on this planet --teens or otherwise-- comes up with their own outfit selections. Even if two people had the exact same sweater, doubtless each of them could find a way to look completely different, even if the both of them chanced to wear it the exact same day. One might decide to wear it over her shoulders, while the other might decide to wear it over a short-sleeved blouse. Likewise, someone might decide to wear jeans with that sweater, while the other might like a skirt better. One's style can't be charted-- each person's "fashion" is as individual as the person herself.

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Where do YOU Shop? - A Survey

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