Style

It's Not Just Parents Saying No Skimpy Clothes

Above at right, Nancy Edmundson and Nicole Madden, both 14, try on clothes in an American Eagle dressing room. Bottom photo at left, Daisy Diaz, 17, is fourth in line for a dressing room at Forever 21.
Above at right, Nancy Edmundson and Nicole Madden, both 14, try on clothes in an American Eagle dressing room. Bottom photo at left, Daisy Diaz, 17, is fourth in line for a dressing room at Forever 21. (Photos By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)

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By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 4, 2007

There is a line of decency that falls somewhere between the knee and the top of the thigh. Exactly where it hits is debatable, but the teenage shoppers made one thing clear: Stores have definitely crossed it this season.

"All the shorts are soooo short," said Mary Anne Daymont, 13.

"Shorts are too short," concurred 13-year-old Jessica Marino.

"Micro shorts," offered Nicole Madden, 14.

The steamy days of Washington summer may be upon us, but these girls, all from Burke, were definitely not getting skimpy. For a generation bombarded with news of pantyless celebrities, most of the girls we interviewed were surprisingly modest, more Hilary Duff than Lindsay Lohan.

"I try to stay with styles that look good. I try to go for classic styles," said Kate Bolton, 17, of McLean. "My mom has really slammed that into my head."

William Strauss, co-author of "Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation," said teenagers are faced with the opposite social problem of their baby boomer parents. They are growing up at a time when sex is talked about freely -- perhaps too freely.

"Modesty is a reaction against the sexualization of the culture, including fashion," he said. "What tends to happen in history is generations correct for what they perceive to be the major excesses of previous generations. . . . They're trying to reestablish a zone of privacy."

Reyna Dunlap, 12, of Burtonsville thought some of the tank tops didn't have quite enough top to them. She showed off a white one with spaghetti straps and royal blue flowers that she'd just bought from Forever 21. Then she pulled out her second purchase.

"This," she said as she held up a black T-shirt that could go under the tank, "is so I can wear it to school."

But Jessica didn't find anything she liked at the store and was distressed at its selection of flimsy underwear.

"They're too skimpy," she said. "There's no point."


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