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Old People Analyzing the Style of Today’s Youth

March 21, 2011
tags: ,

Ally: In today’s post, I will be playing the part of Joan Rivers as she is seen on E!’s Fashion Police. In that I mean I will be offering my uneducated opinion on the state of young people’s fashion sense.  Specifically, I will be be focusing on my new favourite guilty pleasure. The teen drama “Skins”. Now I’m watching the North American version:

I hear the UK version is a must-see.

One of the things I have noted is that the kids on this show actually dress like…kids. By that I mean, their clothes are largely distasteful, thrown together and perhaps a little…slutty. Basically, how we all dressed when we were 15/16/17.


My favourite character is Tea, who dresses totally bad-ass.

You can't see it, but she's wearing beat-up converse in this sceen. Love.


I also love Cadie. You know what’s annoying though? I’m trying to find photos to provide some proof for my thesis up in here, but all I’m finding are images from MTV’s stupid ad campaign promoting this show. Like this:



Cadie would never wear that in an actual episode.

My point is that this series paints a portrait of teens in actual teen garb, unlike say, Gossip Girl where Prada is a right of passage.

Have any of you watched this how? Thoughts? Many critics felt it was far too inappropriate (likening it to child pornography – which I think is ridiculous). I think it’s a quite accurate portrayal of the teen years and the crazy melodrama that takes place.

I’m going to pause, let L-A weigh in, and regroup in the a.m. Parents are in town from rural NS and I’m sure they would rather not have me on my computer googling images from teenage dramas.

L-A: Hilariously, while Ally is watching a show about teens drinking and having sex, I was watching a new BBC/PBS series of Upstairs, Downstairs. And that is why I’m the geek. But let’s focus on the series I haven’t seen yet. Because based on this…

…and these…

Want this outfit. Will take my booze in a glass though. This is the upside to being an adult.


I can guess that they probably dress like teenagers: ill-advised and sometimes inappropriate. I can also guess that I will totally dig this show.

But I’m not scandalized by their outfits. Sure they’re kind of slutty and ill-advised. But any outrage I could muster up needs to be tempered by memories of this:

Yep, that was 1995. And the fashion worn by kids of the day? Often ill-advised and sometimes inappropriate. And this was the same year Clueless was released, so I can safely say that minus the AIDS, most kids in the mid-90s were more Kids than Clueless – in the same way kids today are more Skins than Gossip Girl (or any show on the CW. Or even ABC Family).

So kiddies on TV: You be  you in your short skirts and low cut tops. I save my moral panic for something else and spare your choice in clothing. I even spare your heavy focus on drinking, sex and drugs. Because based on my own experiences, some kids are going to do that without the aid of the TV and others are not going to be influenced by TV. And if anyone’s going to influence them, it’s the kids who were already drinking and sexing before MTV remade this series.

(p.s. I think this show will get me through the withdrawal that’s going to happen after tonight’s season finale of Pretty Little Liars. Is it weird that I seem to watch only TV shows about teenagers? I do watch other things. Like Upstairs, Downstairs. I bet you can count the number of teens voluntarily watching that on one hand).

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 10:31 am

    I’ve never seen the show since I cut off my right arm, I mean got rid of cable. But wasn’t everyone morally outraged by Degrassi, too? And we all know how fantastic that show was (nope, didn’t have cable growing up either).

    • L-A permalink*
      March 21, 2011 11:20 am

      I think any TV show that has teens being teens causes a moral panic. But seriously? Teens studying and participating in wholesome extra-curriculars makes for boring TV. and is somewhat unrealistic.

  2. Diana permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:35 am

    I read the UK version is great. The American version gets two big thumbs down from me though…just a complete waste of time. I choose Gossip Girl in all its Prada glory any day.

    • L-A permalink*
      March 21, 2011 11:29 am

      Why the thumbs down? (just curious) I’ve only seen one episode of the American version and none of the UK version, but it wasn’t that bad. I like my Gossip Girl, but I think I’ll like Skins in addition to that.

  3. March 21, 2011 11:50 am

    You have GOT to try the UK version. They change casts every few years a la Degrassi, and the first two seasons are AMAZING. The fashion is best in seasons 3 and 4 though (lots of cute bows and crazy layered necklaces).

    • L-A permalink*
      March 22, 2011 1:01 am

      The funny thing about Ally bringing this up is that I had only just heard of the UK series over the weekend (my research on actors in Brontë & Austen movies somehow led me to discover it) and then she mentions it a day later.

      I’m going to work through the US version and then on to the UK. So far, I am totally digging the American version. The Torontoness of it is very Degrassi (I know, it’s supposed to Baltimore or something, but it’s so Toronto that even I can recognize it based on my visits to the city).

  4. Anthony permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:21 pm

    I lived on the UK version for years. I agree with Ally to a point – the kids dress like kids but I don’t tune in to shows like Skins or, a few years ago, The OC to see kids dress like kids. I’m watching to see rich, sexy teens wear clothes that I as a young adult can’t afford.

    And then I rip off that style. And I look good doing it.

    • allygarbs permalink*
      March 21, 2011 2:49 pm

      Hmm. Good point, Anthony. I do enjoy the clothes porn on parade.

      • L-A permalink*
        March 22, 2011 12:58 am

        Who doesn’t love a bit of clothes porn on parade that you can maybe sort of steal as an adult? I just like that some shows have kids looking like kids.

  5. March 22, 2011 9:44 am


    Stop whatever important thing you’re doing and download (umm legally or something.. whatever…….) series 1-4 of the UK version of Skins.
    You’ll thank me later. So effing good.
    Way more realistic than GG or anything on American TV. It’s still totally outrageous but all the kids dress like kids, hate school, love to get messed up and party and are just well, kids. As for all the uproar about the “inappropriateness” of the American version? Eff off moral right. Seriously. Ever take a stroll in the local mall on a Saturday afternoon? THAT shit is offensive.

    • L-A permalink*
      March 22, 2011 10:00 pm

      I need to get through the American series first, but I am totally going to legally obtain myself some UK Skins. That show is killing me. I love it.

      I think the outrageousness is just an amplified version of how teenagers feel. My teen years were pretty clean cut, but there was still sex and drinking and hating the world. It’s the feeling, not the accuracy that they’re getting right.

  6. March 22, 2011 3:53 pm

    Great post! I’ve been hearing a lot about this show. But lets face it, ppl will be watching this show for the drama, not because it’s realistic. Well at least my teen years weren’t full of sex and drugs like the kids on this show. I mean I did my fair share of stupid, irresponsible stuff but not quite to that extent. That being said I wasn’t exactly the coolest kid on the block ;) I do applaud the show for not shying away from the things that many teenagers do in their spare time. I don’t get why parents/old people get all up in arms about teens drinking and having sex and such because I’m willing to bet they did it way back when! Anyone who says they didn’t is full of shit

    • L-A permalink*
      March 22, 2011 10:03 pm

      Oh, it’s all about the drama. But I feel like there is something more realistic about it than say a CW teen drama. It’s definitely not my own teen years (oh sure, I drank, but I was far from being a bad ass), but it is an amplified version of mine (plus drugs. There was no pill popping in my teen years). I think it’s the feeling I had when I was a teen that they get that. And the people up in arms? Clearly just forget what it’s like to be a teenager.

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