The way your teen dresses might raise an eyebrow or two, but keep in mind that there are actually several factors that influence her fashion choices including the way her friends dress or the way the most popular kids at school dress. The good news is that as a parent can still have an influence over your teen's sartorial choices, but to avoid butting heads, you should also try to understand what else influences your teen's fashion perspective.
1. Musical Tastes
Your teen's favorite bands or singers have a large influence on his fashion choices. As the Disney Family website points out, it's your teen's connection to a band's lyrics that fuel his connection to his overall look. He might also display his musical interests and tastes to others by wearing a band T-shirt or dressing like his favorite singer. That, in turn, notifies other teens of a shared interest, which can become a bonding factor in a group of friends.
2. Celebrity and Pop Culture
Celebrities -- and particularly teen celebs -- seem to live charmed lives. With fame, wealth and of course, famous relationships, it's no wonder that pop culture icons and favorite celebrities play a role in how your teen wants to dress. Emulating a famous and successful star can help give your teen an ego boost. The bad news here is that teens often have a hard time deciphering between real life and what's painted to look like real life via movies and television shows. You might notice your teen dressing the way her favorite teen queen dresses for the roles she plays on the big or small screen -- and not the way the celebrity dresses in real life.
Advertisements often specifically target teens -- specifically teen girls, who show addictive behavior when emulating the looks and brands they see in commercials. This makes them especially valuable consumers to brands and the target of advertising and marketing campaigns. A December 2006 research article in the journal, "Pediatrics" indicates that brands allocate about $15 billion annually to market to teens and adolescents.
4. Family Values
While it can seem that your teen's fashion influences are external, you can help create intrinsic motivation to dress a certain way or uphold certain boundaries based on your family values. A teen that has guidelines for fashion -- modest hemlines or shirts without offensive logos, for example -- can learn to express herself within those guidelines. By talking to your teen about what's real and what isn't in the media, you can help her make better choices about her outward appearance.