Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Teen-age Students' Styles of Dress

April 15, 1993

I read the article "Cracking the Dress Code" (Times, March 28) with interest. However, I disagree with equating a teen-age student's individuality with his/her attire as many of the individuals cited in your article seem to do. Perhaps it is understandable for teens to make such a mistake, but adult parents, teachers, and school administrators should not. People define their individuality gradually, over time--by what they say, what they do, the way they act and what they think is important. Defining one's individuality takes work and perseverance--and it cannot be purchased off a clothes rack. Adults should encourage children and teens to express themselves by active participation in family life, school, sports/hobbies, and community volunteer work. Expression of self through fashion is superficial and insufficient--adults know this to be true, right?

Whatever the local ordinance on school attire, adults need to remember that kids just want to be accepted as normal. In teens' terms, that means they yearn to dress "cool." In adult terms, this can be described as their predictable response to heavy advertising. Parents are the only ones who can counteract the advertising with an equally strong emphasis on shared family values.

One parent in your article helplessly observed that her daughter's current clothing taste (the baggy gang-grunge look) merely reflects current "style." In these times, parents must actively guide their teen-age children away from many "stylish" teen-age behaviors such as drug-use, tagging and unprotected sex. If parents don't tell their kids that self-worth comes from somewhere else, then the kids cannot be blamed for their actions.

CARMEN MATTOX

West Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|