Having the right staples makes the foundation for trendier pieces.

Teen Fashion Checklist

by Kay Ireland

Fashion can be a touchy subject for teens -- and their parents. While the two might not agree on trends, styles and hem lengths, both parents and teens can agree that certain wardrobe staples are essential to a teen's closet. Whether your teen is shopping for back-to-school or packing for a summer vacation, a closetful of the right pieces can end wardrobe wars and keep your teen feeling well-dressed and confident.


There's a good chance that if you asked your teens to pick a favorite piece from their closets, jeans would be the first to make the cut. It makes sense -- jeans are comfy, trendy and versatile all in one easy piece. Of course, your teen will need more than one pair of jeans. Luckily, there are tons of options to choose from, thanks to colored denim, different washes and many styles. A straight-leg or skinny jean are among the most classic, while dark-wash denim will go with the most stuff to get more mileage out of a teen's wardrobe.

Closet Staples

After a solid denim wardrobe is in place, it's time for your teen to start checking some of the staples off her shopping list. T-shirts are a must-have for teens who crave casual comfort, while sweaters and hoodies work for the cooler months. You can also add in staples that will maximize a teen's wardrobe, like a dark-colored blazer to dress up jeans or go with more formal looks. "Seventeen" magazine also lists basics like a black dress, colorful tank tops, canvas sneakers, button-up shirts and a couple of coats in its list of must-haves.

Trendy Accessories

If your teen doesn't want to break the bank buying clothes, trendy accessories can help round out a more basic checklist. While jeans and tees make up a pretty common teen uniform, adding things like scarves, jewelry and shoes can make an outfit look more current without much cash. Go for printed scarves to layer over plain tees or cheap bracelets and cuffs that allow teens to express themselves via their wardrobe. Even colorful and cheap canvas sneakers can make your teen's wardrobe feel more distinct.

Wardrobe Wars

As your teen checks certain items off her list, you might want to step in and give your opinion on what is and isn't appropriate. But before you speak out about that Gothic tee or a pair of ripped jeans, decide whether it's a battle you want to fight, suggests Metro Parent, an online parenting community. If the clothing doesn't violate family morals or belief systems -- such as a specific threshold for modesty -- it may be worth your sanity to allow your teen to choose her own styles and trends. This gives your teen plenty of room for self expression and independence via her appearance.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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