Pressure on Teens to Wear Fashionable Clothes

If your teen scoffs at the clothes that you think are perfectly wearable, don't worry that she is the only adolescent who wants to wear the latest fashions. Teens may feel pressure from an array of sources -- such as friends, non-friend peers and even the media -- to follow the current trends and wear fashionable clothes.


Peer pressure doesn't only apply to underage drinking, doing illegal drugs, smoking or engaging in sexual activity 1. The pediatric experts at the Kids Health website note that as teens grow more independent, their friends gradually exert a greater influence when it comes to how they spend their leisure time and the choices they make. While your teen's friends might not pressure him to smoke or drink alcohol, they may influence him in others ways -- good or bad. As your teen develops his own personal style, he may be taking his cue from his friends on how to dress and what is considered fashionable.

Non-Friend Peers and Cliques

Your child's peers aren't just the kids he hangs out with. Acquaintances at school or a community or church group -- even kids on TV who are around the same age as your child -- are part of his peer group. The influence they exert on your child doesn't have to be direct; his own ideas about these groups, such as his perceptions of the "popular kids" may make him feel that he has to dress in a certain way to be accepted. Or, your child may adopt a style of dress to indicate his sense of affiliation with something, such as a style of music or a sports team. For example, if your teen daughter wants to fit in with the popular cheerleaders, she may opt to ditch her old style of dress for something closer to their ideas of what constitutes fashionable clothing.


Friends and other teens don't have a corner on the market when it comes to putting pressure on your adolescent to dress in a fashionable way. You, as the parent, and other adults can also have an equally important influence. If you are a fashionable adult, you may -- even without realizing it -- push your teen towards choosing certain styles of clothing. Additionally, other adult relatives -- such as aunts and uncles -- or even employers may put pressure on your child to look a particular way. Keep in mind, sometimes this pressure isn't totally unwarranted. For example, if your teen gets an after-school job at a stylish store at the mall, his boss may pressure him to wear the clothes that the store deems fashionable.

The Media

According the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children website, four out of every five advertisements in teen magazines includes clothing or beauty items that are "fashionable." Between magazines, movie and television shows, the media puts a strong pressure on teens to dress in a certain stylish way. When your teen sees her favorite TV star or a perfect-looking model wearing the latest trends, this puts pressure on her to imitate the media-made ideal. Anything less than dressing like the magazine, or other media source, pictures look like may seem like a dud to your teen when it comes to what she wears.

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