How important is fashion to teen-agers? What is the average amount a teen-ager spends on their wardrobe? What are some of the styles associated with various social groups? How much can you tell about a person's character from the clothes they wear? What is your fashion style and what does it say about you?

Fashion flair is everywhere. Fashion is importnat to those individuals who love the latest styles and expensive wardrobes. Teen-agers dress to impress. Leather, silk and suede means "I pay a lot to look good." Not all teen-agers are interested in dressing fashionably; some dress comfortably or casually, but less expensively than those fashion-conscious individuals.

You can tell a lot about a person by just observing the clothes they wear. If a person dresses simply but neatly, he is an ordinary person with his own style. If a person dresses sloppily, or wears unmatched clothes, his attitude may be seen as negative. When a person dresses expensively and matches from head to toe, he or she will appeal to the fashion-wearers.

Some teens spend as much as $200 to $300 a month on clothes, and that is okay for them. I prefer casual clothes that say I am more interested in looking neat and not overdoing things. NICOLETTE MAKUSON H.D. Woodson

To be perfectly honest, I do judge people on what they wear because I have found that clothes reveal a great deal about a person; from what kind of music people like, to what kind of mood they are in, to what type of personality they have.

There are those who are obsessed with fashion and style and pour endlessly over fashion magazines and spend hours shopping. And then there are others who are indifferent to fashion. They simply think of clothing as a means of covering the body and keeping warm. Most of us, however, fall somewhere between these two extremes.

I attend a school that requires a uniform, and I am most grateful. It is an agony for me on weekends to decide what to wear. I spend approximately $1500 a year on my wardrobe -- this figure would definitely be higher if I did not go to a school that requires a uniform. MARIME' SUBRAMANIAN Georgetown Visitation

Fashion is a very important part of a teen-ager's day-to-day life. Peer pressure has decided a lot of today's fashion trends -- whatever one person has, everyone else feels that they have to have it to be popular. In public high schools, fashion is very important in creating an individual "attitude."

Teen-agers spend a lot of money on their wardrobes trying to fit in, yet maintain their own individuality. Some teen-agers spend anywhere from $600 to $1000 on just one article of clothing such as a jacket. But it all depends on the individual.

Today, the drug trade has allowed many young men and women the opportunity to buy very expensive clothing that they would not normally be able to buy. Other teen-agers try to duplicate these styles so as not to become outcasts. On the other hand, some teen-agers choose to express themselves by wearing whatever pleases them. Clothes can tell you a lot about an individual; it may say they are strong, independent and different.

I love to buy nice clothing. I am not a very trendy person, but I do buy some of the latest fashions. My style of dress says that I am an individual, but I love nice things. KERRIE BROWN Eastern

Teen-agers pay a lot of attention to their wardrobes. That's how they get their boyfriends and girlfriends. In most schools, they pick the girl and boy for "Best Dressed" to be placed in the yearbook. All students try to dress nicely.

The average teen-ager spends more than they can afford to on clothes -- about $3000 a year. I spend $4000 to $5000 a year on my wardrobe. Some styles that students like to wear to school are sweatsuits, jeans, anything green and gold, and just regular clothes.

You can't tell much about a person by their clothes. Some people think that if they have expensive clothes, it means they have a lot of money. That is not true. I wear expensive clothes and I am broke. I don't have a fashion style; I just wear what I want to wear and what I can afford to buy. SALAH BENSON Spingarn

Fashion is an interpretation of a person's character. How you choose to express yourself is something that comes from inside. Many adults choose to believe that all teen-agers share expensive tastes well beyond their means, but I think this is not true.

Anything from jeans to silk can be seen in an atmosphere where different social groups live. That doesn't necessarily mean that the poor will dress poorly, it just means that, like the rest of society, teen-agers dress as well as they can within their economic range. I don't think we should be criticized for placing such an emphasis on appearance because America is an appearance-oriented society.

Like a well-dressed family man living one paycheck from homelessness, you can tell nothing by the way a person dresses. Clothes don't make the man -- a personality does. ANGELA FOX Anacostia

Teen-agers value fashions as highly as they value themselves and their families, which to me is an atrocity. The values of today's teen-agers have declined immensely over the past decade. The respect for human dignity has been taken away by the outrageously priced, high-fashion clothing in stores today.

Some teen-agers are doing anything from selling drugs to selling their bodies to get fashionable items. Crime nor pain matters to today's teen-agers where fashion is involved.

When I see teen-agers wearing $600 to $1000 rhinestone-covered jean jackets, I wonder where their priorities are. Nothing in the world should make a teen-ager want to spend close to a thousand dollars on one outfit. If teen-agers want to be naive and buy every fashion item that is marketed, so be it. Sooner or later they will realize they are foolish and become intelligent adults -- after all, we all learn from our mistakes. SHEILA FAUCETTE Roosevelt

What you wear has a lot of influence on the type of friends you have. Most D.C. youths, including myself, fall into the trap of buying name brand or expensive clothing. Most people will not admit to this, but just ask how many people will notice whether a person is wearing a Gucci or Used outfit instead of a wearing a Puma sweatsuit.

Usually, the people who wear expensive clothes are very popular in school and around their neighborhoods. This is one of the reasons young people sell drugs today. SEAN McEWAN School Without Walls

The teen-agers of the 90s feel that their wardrobes are very important. They feel that being in the "in crowd" depends on how they dress. On the other hand, not all teen-agers think like this -- all some care about is getting a good education; they feel that they will have plenty of time later for a fashionable wardrobe.

The amount of money the average teen-ager spends can range from $100 to $1000 or more. No one can tell you what the average teen-ager spends.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress. If a person had on something that doesn't match, they would be considered a 'bama. You can get different vibes from different people, but usually it is the right vibe. RESHAWNER MARTIN Wilson

Fashion is very important to teen-agers in order for them to express their individuality. Teen-agers dress to be different. Some are willing to pay any amount of money just to get something that is different -- that nobody else has.

My style of dress is influenced by the fashion of Mexico City where I am from. I dress differently from a lot of my school friends, but apparently they like how I look because they often ask me where I buy my clothes.

I have found that I can dress economically by mixing and matching a few articles of clothing to make many outfits. What does this say about my character? I guess this means that I am frugal, but I have a good imagination. MARTHA MARTINEZ Bell-Multicultural "Speak Out" Topic For April 19:

It has been proposed in Congress that Maryland should annex the District of Columbia in order to give District residents full voting representation in Congress. Currently, the District is represented by Walter Fauntroy, a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives (since the District is not a state, it has no representation in the Senate). This proposal comes in the wake of demands from District residents for separate statehood and has prompted strong rhetoric both for and against.

What do you think of this proposal?

Responses should be no more than 150 words in length. We are also interested in receiving cartoons on the topic. Cartoons should be drawn on posterboard.

Students should submit their responses by April 9 to: Weekly High School Section The Washington Post 1150 15th St. NW Washington, D.C. 20071

Selected responses from each school will be published in April 19 editions of the District Weekly.