In the last several decades, teen clothing has become an independent industry – from retail stores advertising the latest fashions to Instagram models forming the new trends with each post. This wasn't always the case, though. Long before the '90s birthed the denim oddity that was JNCO jeans, and even before Seventeen ran its inaugural issue in 1944, "teen" was barely a word in the common vernacular. In the early 1900s, high school clothing trends were essentially smaller versions of whatever was worn by adults. So, how did teen style manage to define 20th-century fashion? Perhaps accessibility – such as the wave of shopping malls in the 1980s – played a pivotal role.
Clothing in the 20th century constantly changed along with beauty standards, which inadvertently always managed to cycle back around. The '20s and '60s celebrated boyish figures with flappers and Twiggy-inspired shift dresses respectively. The '10s and '50s championed cinched waists and hourglass figures. As soon as the Great Depression ended and technological advancements made fashion more accessible to the masses, people stopped making their clothing out of chicken feed sacks and began experimenting.
These are the cutest outfits for high school by the decade – from '70s bell bottoms to the outrageous hats of the early 1900s.
1990s: 90s Teen Fashion Saw The Rise Of The JNCO Jean
1980s: Big Hair, Big Shoulders Were All The Rage In 80s Teen Fashion
1970s: Bell-Bottoms, Denim, And Midriffs Were A 70s High School Fashion Dream
1960s: 'Mod' Style And Mini Skirts Were The Height Of 1960s Teenage Fashion
1950s: Circle Skirts, Pastel Sweaters, And Leather Jackets
1940s: Pleated Skirts And Menswear