Posted: June 18th, 2021
Let us imagine a world where it was acceptable to roam the streets unclothed. Would you still conform to the norm that stated that it was usual to wear clothes? Most would, but there would be a minority who would take the liberty of going out naked. They would be viewed by the majority as anti-conformist and it could have spiralling effects on other aspects of their life – such as their identity.
If a teenager wants to rebel against norms, it is very easy. They simply need to turn up to a dinner party in jeans and a t-shirt and no more need be done. They would have firmly set an impression in the minds of the other “black tie wearers”. It could lead to exclusion from the group even if they knew each other previously because it is showing a side of the person that may have previously been hidden.
There isn’t a human being who doesn’t take appearance into account when getting a first impression of someone. It is what initially attracts one person to another and can give an idea as to what the person may be like.
However, identity can be established in many ways and clothing is just one of these methods. When looking at a particular group of people, it is usually possible to examine the trends that they exhibit and spot people who look out of place and may be trying to change or enhance their identity through their clothing.
Describe the connection between one particular trend in pop music and what its followers wear.
“Mom. I wanna be just like Britney Spears” were the eight words which rang across the world when Ms. Spears released her saucy “Baby One More Time” video. Suddenly, it was trendy to dress in school girl uniform and the boys were instantly turned on by teenage girls dressing just like Britney.
Had it not been for Britney’s video, dressing in uniform at any time other than in lessons would, most likely, still be very “un-cool”. Since her first single, Ms. Spears has been an international jet-setter and trend setter. With each premiere, awards ceremony and after-show party she has attended, she has been the subject of miles worth of newspaper columns. Teenage girls everywhere have been unable to avoid the tactless and shameful promotion that Jive Records have elicited from Britney and living in the 21st century, it has become almost impossible not to be influenced by the publicity surrounding America’s most famous Virgin.
From controversy to contraception, Britney has been linked to everything. The initial hype surrounding her showed that she was popular amongst teenager boys and this was, no doubt, one of the main reasons thousands of teenage girls began to idolise her. Her sweet and innocent image meant that it was cool to be like Britney and this soon led to an explosion in mini-Britneys. There was a risk that she wouldn’t catch on though and that she would fizzle out as another one-hit wonder. However this was soon disproved when she was pursued quickly by the other pop teen queen Christina Aguilera. Just when parents thought that Britney would be a temporary phase that their kids would go through, Christina pops up onto the scene. Bringing yet another set of catchy pop tunes, Christina enforced the idea that it was necessary to look gorgeous, be a size 8 and have a perfect body.
Pig-tails were in and pony-tails were out; short skirts became even shorter and breast enlargements were being ordered left, right and centre. Despite their persistent denial of buying the plastic treatment, private clinics saw an enormous increase in their waiting list around Christmas time.
It became cool to wear tight tops, to dress in leather and run around school doing Britney and Christina style dance routines. However, times change quickly and schoolgirls are already becoming bored of their teen idols’ style and as Britney turns unfavourable in their eyes, it is now necessary for them to look at the older and more respected artists.
Singers like Jennifer Lopez, Samantha Mumba and Janet Jackson who all have unparalleled style are the new trend. As teenage girls want to mature into appreciated women, their dress sense also proceeds in parallel and they begin to move away from the “bubblegum” image into a more adult look. They will however, all too often find themselves pre-occupied with the idealistic look of women in beauty magazines and on screen. Although this shouldn’t be the case, it is an inevitable consequence of living in the midst of technology as we do and at least through these more mature artists, teenagers are growing up quicker.
It is ironic to think that Britney is now modelling herself on her fans in order to please them. As they mature and advance in their ways of thinking and styles and trends, Britney is now evolving into a more mature and focused artist more in the style of Janet or Madonna.
What is worrying though is that there doesn’t seem to be another level to which artists like Britney can go to after her fans get tired of her present scheme. Unlike the real divas, Britney has a shelf life and it is almost up. Unless she can creatively reinvent herself with yet another new style, her fans will have to look elsewhere for inspiration and it may well be to an anti-conformist who exhibits qualities that are rebellious and not in line with conventional trends.
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