The teenage style gene
Teenage energy often fuels creativity, rebellion and innovation - especially when it comes to how they dress. But how do today's teen styles differ from that of their parents?
Francis and Louise Kavanagh. Photograph: Trevor Hart
Trevor and Ethan Hart. Photograph: Trevor Hart
Roisin and Molly King. Photograph: Trevor Hart
Oisin and Ingmar King. Photograph: Trevor Hart
Carol and Lauren Bejaoui. Photograph: Trevor Hart
OISIN KING, schoolboy, 17
I like to keep things simple and classic. I wear dark trousers and jeans which are semi skinny. For shoes I wear Traffic and Adidas black and white with stripes – the original – or grey suede Fred Perry plimsolls. I don’t like logos and usually wear a bright hoodie. I have short hair now but it used to be quite long. When it comes to shopping I like to look online and then go out and look in town, mostly to H & M, Topshop and a few times to TK Maxx and charity shops. I am not a fan of Hollister or Abercrombie & Fitch, or their CEO. I am slightly informed by music, but my interest is only cursory. In his early 20s, my dad was a punk and wore a lot of leather jackets. My own favourite piece is a vintage grey trench coat that I bought a few years ago and wear a lot. I am the same size as he is, so sometimes he uses my jackets and I can fit into his T-shirts.
INGMAR KING, music producer/writer “on the wrong side of 40”
I suppose I was quite style conscious, and a punk, as a teenager. I was in a band and my girlfriend had a clothes shop and got stuff from London and we were all terribly up to the minute. Being in a band then was a form of rebellion whereas nowadays parents bring their kids to rock schools. When you hit your 30s being fashionable looks a bit desperate, so assuming you have some sort of aesthetic sense you settle on a style – it’s a matter of being stylish rather than fashionable. I am a typical middle-aged dad who doesn’t particularly like shopping. I don’t have to wear a suit to work, consequently I quite like wearing one occasionally and one of my best investments was an Armani suit – it works in any situation. The rest of the time it’s jeans and maybe a shirt or T-shirt and jumper. Kids don’t rebel these days through clothes the way we did.
LAUREN BEJAOUI, model, 17
My style is modern, feminine with a masculine twist and subtly sexy. My love of fashion has been influenced by my mother, but not my style. My influences come from my surroundings and I base a lot of my style on structure. I love Tilda Swinton’s style and [US fashion blogger] Leandra Medine’s. I buy a lot online and in Zara and Cos and though I used to love charity shops, I don’t feel they are for me anymore. I love palazzos and a fitted coat. My favourite accessory is a Chanel bag – a very generous gift from a boyfriend – it comes everywhere with me. We both love a good pair of skinny jeans – they are staples in our wardrobe.
CAROL BEJAOUI, self employed, 56
Lauren’s passion is fashion and mine is running my own business. All my life I have liked to dress well and being naturally slim when I was younger I wore pencil skirts, make-up and loved dressing up to go out. When I’m working I wear skinny jeans and a nice shirt and I will always have my make-up on. I always look after my skin and I like to be glamorous going out. My style probably comes from my mam who is 82 and still glamorous. Lauren is the youngest of my children and was always style-conscious, even as a child she knew what she wanted. She dresses mainly in black and wears very structured things. She shops online but when I was her age I wouldn’t have bought so much. I dress age appropriate.
ETHAN HART, student, 18
I always wear jeans and usually a pair of Converse runners, nothing too heavy, with T-shirts and bomber jackets. I shop in Topman, River Island and Urban Outfitters and sometimes just random places if I see something I like. I only shop online if buying a jacket. I suppose you could call my style laid back. In NCAD where I am studying we bounce ideas off each other – usually ways of wearing things like turn ups in jeans or on T-shirt sleeves. I’ve just had a tattoo done which I designed myself. It was done in Spilled Ink near the Rotunda and took two and half hours. I’ve always drawn tattoos and wanted to have one for a good while. My dad has a certain style and likes to buy something good that will last whereas I don’t mind where I get what I want. His style is smart casual but also sophisticated – though our styles are different we’ve never had a disagreement about clothes.
TREVOR HART, photographer, 49
Growing up I always felt that life was happening somewhere else, so at 16 or 17 I was into New Romantics for a few years and I remember wearing black suede winklepickers with baggy trousers, gold and black ties and Victorian wing collared shirts from second hand shops – very Spandau Ballet. Later I was influenced by new wave bands Ultravox and OMD, and my father said I looked like a bank clerk. Then came Brideshead and second hand tweed suits from Oxfam. Now I am lazy about clothes – I’ve gone down the route of five pairs of jeans and five shirts, I’m afraid. I look at Ethan now and he reminds me of the way I used to dress. He never rebelled, but even at five or six he was really into clothes. The only items we share are Grenson brogues as we have the same taste in shoes.
MOLLY, 17, schoolgirl
I’m in a no-uniform school. I don’t put a lot of effort into everyday school wear, but when I’m out with my friends I prefer to wear leggings or shorts with tights. I would never wear jeans and I don’t like tracksuits, nor am I a friend of branded clothes such as Adidas or Abercrombie & Fitch. My mother can dress in flowy styles and if I saw it on others I wouldn’t like it, but the way she wears it suits her personality. We are quite different, but she has her style sorted out. I buy from Penneys because it’s cheap, and I love online shopping, but I don’t do it that often. I’ve been into a few charity shops, but there are not a lot around where I live in Howth. I have cut up jeans into shorts and I am going to dye my hair purple when I’ve finished school. It’s naturally brown but it hasn’t been brown for a good few years. I’m not influenced by celebrities but more by people in everyday life with style that I see on the streets.
RÓISÍN FALLON, restaurant manager and tour guide, 50
Molly is very particular about her style and is everything I wish I could have been at her age, when everything I wore was to cover up. She’s always been very individual and I could never dress her up – she was always a little bit alternative. Now she’s all shorts over leggings and boyfriend jumpers. She accentuates her cuteness in her dress. My own style is slightly bohemian and when I was a teenager I was very boyish and would have loved to have been a little girl in a short skirt, but I never wore anything tight or revealing and I wouldn’t wear what my mother wanted me to wear. We used to shop in Dunnes Stores and Arnotts as teenagers, or wore hand-me-downs. Like typical culchies we went up to town from Wicklow to do the shopping.
LOUISE KAVANAGH, 18, schoolgirl
“I like to dickey things up and I love colour. I am mad about shoes –Leia in Thomas Street has the best. I never wear flats apart from Nike and Converse, and my best bargain was a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes for 99c on eBay. My mam has better hair than me and looks like a cave woman except when she gets its done on Saturdays . I hate her kitten heels. She gets really self conscious about herself and doesn’t realise how pretty she is – it’s the same with a lot of mothers, I think. I won’t wear the pink tracksuits she wants me to wear, but both she and my dad are really free about what I wear and have always encouraged me. My influences come from music, 1970s disco and David Bowie, and I use tumblr for inspiration. Charity shops are really good for denim jackets, which I bleach up and stud myself. My favourite designers are Alexander McQueen and Jeremy Scott for Moschino and I am a big fan of Patricia Field (stylist for Sex and the City) and I am dying to go to her shop in New York.”
FRANCES KAVANAGH, mother, 53
“She has me tormented about New York, and her shoes are something else. She has her own style – sometimes I think I am the child and she is the adult – she is brainier than me and she’s unique. I’m 53 now and when my mother started working in Cadburys I would have had the best of everything – she would dress my hair up in chocolate box ribbons. Money was scarce then and she did a lot of knitting – I remember a three-piece in rose pink wool she made for my Confirmation. She had a friend who made a few dresses for me that would last the summer. Louise influences my style and sometimes if I am going out and wearing a certain colour, she will say, ohmigod, take that off! She hates clutter and for her everything has to be in its place. Her style is like that of Lady Gaga.