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What’s Hot and What’s Not: A Teen’s Guide to Fashion Forwardness

Gen Z is known for many things: their absurd sense of humor, short attention spans, and their incredible digital savvy. But they’re also known for their unique sense of style, which draws from a number of previous decades, subcultures, and fashion niches. 

Navigating Today’s Trends

Keeping up with teens’ fashion trends isn’t easy, but with a little bit of research, it can be done. Whether you’re a teenager looking for fashion inspiration and shopping tips for your senior photo shoot or you’re an adult stylist tasked with making teens look their best for a portrait, this is for you. 

We’re going to explore what trends are most popular among teenagers right now and then look at some fashion faux pas to avoid. So let’s go!!

What’s Hot: 5 Fashion Trends For Teens 

Currently, teen fashion has a little bit of everything in it. It can be grungy, girly, earthy, or preppy, it all depends on the person and what they like best. There’s a lot of room for experimentation and true self-expression. But there are some trends that rise above others. 

Here’s a list of five fashion trends we’re seeing in teen styles right now that can be incorporated into your senior photos for the perfect shot. 

1. Y2K Fashion

Y2K refers to the year 2000. For many teenagers today, the 2000s are a major source of fashion inspiration that plays a large influence in outfit trends and combinations. For example, bootleg jeans, rhinestones, late-90s knitwear, velour tracksuits, and chunky shoes all play into this unique aesthetic. 

Fashion icons from this era are used as templates for many Gen Z teens’ wardrobes, such as Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears.

Trending Style: Caleigh’s pairing of this white ruffled top, wide leg pants, and wedge sandals is a perfect soft look for your senior photos.

2. Layers, Layers, Layers 

Layers also form a big part of what makes current teenage fashion unique. Many of the kids in this age demographic are embracing the art of layered fashion, pairing jeans with miniskirts, shirts and cardigans, and heavy accessories to create a multidimensional look. 

When it comes to senior year portraits, layers are a reliable trend to follow because they can be applied to any gender and work well regardless of weather patterns. 

Urban Gilbert Senior Pictures

Trending Style: Bren’s layered look pairs her skirt and Tupac tee with a Style Closet fave…a fitted black leather jacket. Doc Martens are the perfect finishing touch for this urban styled outfit.

3. Bold and Bright Colors

Vibrant, eye-catching colors are in! Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold hues in your clothing choices, whether it’s a bright yellow jumpsuit or radiant red dress. Sometimes unexpected colors in an outfit create a fashion-forward look that turns heads and makes for a memorable photo shoot. 

Black Girls Senior Pictures Arizona

Trending Style: Bold and bright fit Keep’s personality perfectly. This lantern sleeve mini dress is vibrant red stands out against an urban graffiti wall for stunning senior portraits!

4. Statement Accessories 

The teenagers of today love their accessories. Belts, handbags, necklaces, lots of jewelry—it’s the small things that make up a great outfit. Often, when you’re not sure what an outfit is missing, it’s probably an accessory or two. 

Chandler Senior Portrait Photographer

Statement accessories are a favorite of today’s teens because they immediately elevate an outfit. They’re also easy to mix and match, making them great additions to a senior photo shoot. 

What’s great about accessories is that they work for girls, boys, and everything in between. They work for everyone, so you can enjoy creating beautifully textured outfits that teens look at with appreciation for years to come. 


Senior Photographer Chandler Arizona

Trending Style: Audrey styled this simple dress with the latest trending accessories, adding a touch of contemporary flair to her senior portraits. Oh, and the hat is an original Style Closet favorite!

5. Contrasting Proportions 

Another fashion trend that teenagers have adopted into their wardrobes is that of large, contrasting proportions. Where other age demographics tend to stick to consistent, proportional shapes, teenagers today tend to prefer bold sizing combinations for contrast.

For example, baggy cargo pants pair well with form-fitting t-shirts for a visual combination of big/small that looks surprisingly balanced and appealing. 

Some kids also like the opposite contrast: small bottoms paired with an oversized sweater. These kinds of contrasts are reliably fashionable and always look effortlessly cool. 

Senior Photo Ideas in Tempe

Trending Style: Madalynne’s classic fitted crop top looks amazing with her distressed denim jeans. Clean and classic with just a touch of lace makes this the perfect casual look for senior pictures!

What’s Not Hot: 5 Fashion Trends To Avoid 

When it comes to styling teenagers’ outfits for senior photos or any occasion really, it’s just as important to know what trends to avoid as it is which ones to embrace. 

Trends may come and go, but right now, these three are the ones that teens are avoiding like the plague: 

1. Pastel color palettes 

Today’s teens seem to have a strong preference for strong, bold, statement colors, not muted, pastel ones. While, of course, everyone has their own preferences, colors like mint green, baby pink, and beige are not likely to excite the average teenager. 

2. Skinny jeans 

Even though skinny jeans were at the height of popularity just a decade ago, this age demographic has ditched them rather unceremoniously. Generally speaking, today’s teenagers have a strong preference for baggy, cargo-style, and bootleg jeans, leaving skinny jeans almost completely out of the picture. Boyfriend jeans and wide legs have replaced the slimline look for now.

3. Excessive Logos

The logomania trend of the mid-2010s is taking a back seat to the now trending as ‘quiet luxury’, which fits into the aesthetics of Y2K culture.  People are more interested a brand’s efforts to produce sustainably and using their voice to direct change.

4. Monochrome Outfits

While monochrome can be stylish, avoid dressing head-to-toe in a single color. Mix and match for a more balanced aesthetic.

5. Neon Overload

While pops of color can be fun, excessively bright neon colors can be harsh and may not suit everyone’s skin tone. Use neon sparingly and balance it with more neutral tones that complement your skin tone and the natural surroundings.

Shoot The Look

Navigating the world of teenage fashion isn’t easy, especially in the crazy, fast-paced world of Gen Z trends online. But with enough attention to detail and patience for the constant changes in what’s hot and what’s not, finding great fashion combinations that are on-trend and photograph well is easy. 

With this guide, you can help your clients create gorgeous outfits for their senior portrait shoots and discover fashion combos that they love from top to bottom.  

Find an Arizona Senior Photographer

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for tons of inspiration for your senior photoshoot!

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  • Such great information – any senior looking for the perfect outfit combinations need look no further!

  • It’s amazing how the fashion trends change, and I love how you’re so in tune with the changes so you can better serve your Senior clients! I don’t think I can fully give up my skinny jeans though 🙂

    • Hey Ashleigh! It’s definitely not easy keeping up with all the senior trends, especially when some of them are from when we were teenagers! Haha! Also, I fully support you keeping the skinny jeans!

  • It is so funny to me that things I wore way back in high school are now considered cool again! These kids are much more trendy and wear it much better than we did though! Such great advice for your senior clients to help them stay on top of the trends!

  • Love this post on what is hot and what is not for Senior Portraits! So much great advice.

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