“Skinny jeans, plaids, and ballet flats!”
These words are key pieces teens are vlogging about during their back to school hauls. They want to own the school - cute and flirty one day, the next studious and laid back. The teen fashion market can be a hit or a miss. Companies may invest a ton of money into a product the industry deems the hottest item and the teen turns their nose, can anyone say flare jeans!
Television has become a major player in creating the various looks for teens. Have you ever seen an episode of the ABC family show "Pretty Little Liars"? Not a single character is styled the same. Preppy, cute, athletic or trend right, the characters can appeal to pretty much any teen girl. Sixteen and wearing heels to lunch in the cafeteria; buying outfits for school has taken on a whole other level of expectation over the last fifteen years.
How did dressing for school become so sensationalized? Sure, technology is easy to pass the blame to. Reviewing a few of the hundreds of thousands back to school hauls on You Tube, I wonder how I ever made it through the halls of high school in khakis and a button down. My daily school attire would not win big with teens presently. I used a backpack to carry my books and folders. Today, they roam the halls using the latest shoulder bag from their favorite mall based anchor for all of their school needs.
Not only do haulers talk about fashion, but also obsess over beauty finds - the coolest lip gloss or nail polish. Looking back, I barely wore makeup, and rarely wore nail polish, unless you include homecoming dances and proms. I had boyfriends and a pretty decent social life through high school, I guess I wonder what teens today are trying to accomplish with these hauls. Viewing them leaves me feeling a couple of different things. One, the vlogger is obsessed with communicating to the rest of the world what amazing finds she was able to get. This I understand, a great deal needs to be shared with everyone. Second, I feel the vlogging is a social outlet for the teen to feel gratification based on the number of comments or views the haul brings in. I do not think the status of video should be the end all be all of the teen's social status or success.
How much longer can we anticipate the teen hauler to continue to be an internet sensation? At some point hauls will become the norm, but exactly when, I think that depends on the teen. This generation is obsessed with the instant gratification of the individual, pleasing themselves first and family and teachers second. Whether it is heels or skinny jeans teens want to know and own what is trend right in the moment. The thing is, just like with anything else during high school, fads come and go; but tests, homework and school clubs will remain.