How TikTok took over our teenagers’ wardrobes
Your gap hoodie? Check. Daddy’s jeans? Yes. Surely not his underpants? Don’t ask … Laura Craik takes a look at some of the weirdest fashion crazies sweeping the teenage planet right now
Teens get their fashion inspo from TikTok
All parents know not to understand their teen’s behavior. Teens wouldn’t be teenagers if their parents understood their musical tastes, endorsed their amazing screen usage, or wanted to buy the same low-slung, tattered, enormously oversized jeans. But even by teenage standards, today’s teenagers seem to be following a set of ideals of fashion and beauty that are mind-boggling to say the least. In your day, pedal pushers were the strangest thing you wore. OK, so they were pretty weird. But they weren’t as weird as half the things your beloved daughter rocks in.
Where does she get her ideas from? Tick tock. Don’t you like her style? The social media phenomenon is to blame. With 732 million active users and counting it every month, it has already infiltrated your teenage wardrobe. Read on to learn how …
She keeps asking if you have something “Y2K”
Why two what? This is not the first time your daughter has spoken in tongues. Apparently, Y2K is her term for the 2000s, the distant decade that feels as distant and antiquated to her as the 1960s did to us when we were teenagers. Inexplicably, brands that were once ridiculous (Von Dutch, Billabong), brands that are so commonplace that they don’t attract much attention (Timberland, Gap), and brands that were loved by Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are The Simple Life (Juicy Couture, True Religion) are now desired by your teen. To increase my standing with my daughter, I told her that I was the first person to interview the founders of Juicy Couture in 2000, and I used to have quite a collection – sorry, get – but got it all a long time ago for given to charity. She looked horrified. ‘WHAT?’ she screeched. It turned out that the velor drawstring jogging pants and matching hoodie that I wore during my pregnancies have a real seal of approval these days.
Paris Hilton rocked the Y2K style back then
She spends all of her free time shopping for second-hand goods
“We set our alarm clock for 8 o’clock in the morning,” my then 13-year-old daughter announced on a Saturday. Did she have a hockey game? No – she and her friend were headed to Brick Lane market in East London early for the best bargains. Four hours later, she returned triumphant with a baseball jacket that reeked of pee and a pair of dog-eared Nike high-tops for a fiver.
Topshop may have been the retailer of choice as a teenager, but charity shops are the new go-to place, a trend driven not least by TikTok, which is inundated by videos titled “Come on Second-Hand Shopping with Me”. When your teen isn’t scouring charity stores and markets for bargains to resell at Depop (a friend of my daughter’s has a lucrative sideline buying Miss Sixty jeans for £ 10 and selling them for £ 40), she turns them over , a practice that means buying something high quality and cheap and at the same time seeing the potential to make something “bang” (more attractive) out of it.
The hashtag #thriftflip has 1.7 billion views on TikTok, and the site has endless tutorials on how to pair a calf-length skirt with a bandeau dress or a stale blouse with a teen-approved print: check from @nelsybopx for inspiration.
She has an amazing obsession with the Slazenger skort
In the 1980s, when ancient relics like their parents used phrases like “the latest craze,” Slazenger was all the rage. It was when Bjorn Borg was big. Who? Forget it. You used to have a very elegant white Slazenger tennis skirt with pleats, but unfortunately you never had a black and white Slazenger skort. Which is a shame because your teen wouldn’t be forced to search the internet for one right now. Marnie, Molly and Mabel all have one, and she wants one too, only Sports Direct is out of stock which means she’s forced to look at Depop, whose markups are ridiculous (it’s £ 11 new but is bought in bulk for profit from users who then flip it for £ 35). The hashtag #tennisskirt may have over 85 million views on TikTok, but suggest she buy another brand of tennis rock at her own risk. It has to be Slazenger, mum.
Slazenger skorts are back in style
… which she will completely refuse next month
No, that was definitely not their trawling Depop and Ebay for a Slazenger skort. You’re getting senile, mum. Or maybe you’re in menopause because she hates Slazenger skorts. Wouldn’t be seen dead in one. Last month too. Huge eye roll.
Your scarves have been stolen
Not your woolly winters: your silky ones. She tried to steal your handkerchiefs but found that they were too small for their purpose: their purpose was to fold them in half like a triangle and tie them around her body à la All Saints around 1997 or Beyoncé in 2000. Why? Possibly because she watched scarf tutorials on TikTok, of which there are thousands (if you want to try this out at home, check out @carolinafreixa whose demo has over 235k likes). The hashtag #scarftop has over 54 million views on TikTok, with users experimenting with all sorts of mind-boggling, carnivorous variations. Don’t even bother to point out that you can see your daughter’s bra straps – apparently “it’s a vibe”.
As a trendsetter, Beyonce wore the top scarf look in 2000
She can’t be guessed out of a gap hoodie that you haven’t worn since 1994
Usually their hoodie taste goes to expensive brands like Stüssy or Palace. But this month it’s Gap. Is it because the storied but troubled brand recently signed a decade-long deal with Kanye West’s fashion label Yeezy? Nope. That’s because 20-year-old influencer Emma Chamberlain (13.6 million Instagram followers; 10.4 million TikTok followers) recently posted two photos of herself in a thrift store. Gap hoodie. Four million likes and over 12,000 comments later, the ailing label, which came on the market in 1969 and was loved by supermodels in the 90s, is cool again. Gap recently announced that it will close all of its stores in the UK and Ireland. Can Gen Z Save It? Given that #GapHoodie tagged posts have garnered over 6.8 million views on TikTok, we wouldn’t bet against it.
She photographs piles of junk
According to Doja, cat rap is booming from the bedroom, which can only mean one thing: She is taking pictures of her prey again. It may look like a heap of trash to the untrained eye, but kudos for these Brandy Melville jeans; at least for today. This is how quickly your teen will accept and then reject any particular trend that the contents of the loot will change from month to month – or even week to week. In May it could have been Zara trousers inspired by the 70s that were considered “real Gucci”. In June it could have been an H&M bikini with a snake print. In July, it could have been a shell necklace or a chunky plastic ring.
On TikTok, the hashtag #fashionhaul has over 198 million views, with the most popular users being able to make articles go viral. Natalie Holland (@princxss_nj) got 1.4 million views and 204,000 likes for a video with her Stradivarius fashion haul, while @brookehwrs Zara-Haul got 1.2 million views. Who knows what’s going to be hot next month? A Shein-Merkin? An Asos thong?
Papa’s jeans no longer belong to him
When she was little, you loved looking forward to the day your teenage daughter would check out your clothes. You might even share some. Keep on dreaming. Mom’s clothes are tragic. Dad’s clothes, on the other hand, are very desirable. It doesn’t matter whether the scales haven’t done dad well in the meantime: XXL sizes are a bonus. No jeans are too big, no sweatshirt too baggy to be stolen from his closet: she simply holds the jeans up with a fluorescent laces that she stole from her little brother’s sneakers, or wears the sweatshirt like a dress.
As soon as her hands are invisible and you can barely see her legs, she is ready to leave the house. Or maybe she’s just wearing daddy’s favorite sweatshirt to bed. My daughter loves her father’s white Fruit of the Loom sweatshirt so much that he gave her her own for Christmas. But does it keep them from borrowing his? Guess what.
You found men’s boxer shorts in her bedroom
It happened. She met a boy. He was in her bedroom. He left his underwear. Oh God. Wait. These striped boxer shorts look familiar to me. You could swear they are your husband’s. Maybe you put the laundry in the wrong bedroom, but you never do that because you are a supermum, which can only mean one thing: Your husband’s underwear is not safe from the clutches of your teen either.
If you want to know how to style these inexplicably in-demand items, take tips from TikTok user @princxss_nj, whose video of herself modeling a three-pack Primark men’s boxer has garnered nearly 230,000 likes so far. But why buy from Primark – or anywhere else – when you can loot Dad’s pant drawer? What a wonderful time to be young and alive.
Additional reporting: Charlotte Vossen