What Our Awkward Teenage Phase(s) Can Teach Us

When I was a youngling, I was a genuine purveyor of stylish excellence. Whilst most mothers try to emblazon their children in overly glittery, animal motif t-shirts, my sartorial destiny consisted of puffa jackets, denim dungarees and Kickers. Overall, I led an extremely happy life, filled with wonder and Turkey Twizzlers.

Then came the dark ages. In 2005, we were all summoned to a disdained future after Jamie Oliver’s success in banning Turkey Twizzlers from future production. With a swayed mother who suddenly agreed, I swiftly turned into a ten-year-old rebel with a cause. As a usual goody-two-shoes, I pitifully decided I would no longer be accepting fashion instructions from my own bloodline. Accepting without hesitation, my mother gave me complete free reign. (Although now, looking back, she probably did this for her amusement as the following incidents were undoubtedly hilarious for any onlookers.)

awkward teenage phase chav

Me, Myself & My Awkward Teenage Phases

As if choosing Twilight’s Team Edward or Team Jacob wasn’t enough of a decision for a pubescent, I had now set myself up with the overbearing task of choosing my new identity.

Beginning with a relatively short ‘Chav’ period, my go-to outfit consisted of Rockports, a canary yellow Berghaus and a gold coin ring my mum clicked-and-collected from Argos (she began to resonate with me after the Turkey Twizzler news began to blow over.) I had perfected the sartorial aspect but soon realised that I needed the loutish behaviour and violent tendencies to match. As someone who would frantically murmur “sugar” whenever I dropped my coin ring, the ‘Chav’ life clearly wasn’t for me. 

I then decided to become an ‘Emo’. With a fake lip ring, a winged eye executed in Collection 2000’s eyeliner and clip-in cheetah print hair extensions festooned in a backcombed nest, I had reached peak manifestation of the start-up rebel: everything could all be removed.

I then slowly transcended into what I refer to the ‘Watched-Too-Many-Pharrell-videos’ persona. Now, I don’t claim this accolade lightly. Whilst hustling the streets (as I completed my below-minimum-wage paper job), I was kitted in a Japanese-imported Billionaire Boys Club hoody. Bright aqua, an XL and displaying a diamond and dollar sign pattern in a ubiquitous manner, it had the potential to cause seizures. But I loved it, and regularly teamed it up with my tongue-twisting K-Swiss and New Era cap.  

How The Teenagers of Today Are Missing Out

With those outfits, only being a fraction of what transgressed, it’s clear I’ve reached mild to spicy levels of fashion experimentation. However, looking back, I am so grateful that my teenage life was full of awkward fashion experiences. Because, if anything, each period reflects an authentic yet witty story about how I began to attach significance to personal style. I strongly believe that vulnerable human experiences and fashion are, in many ways, inseparable. Fashion is full of mistakes and aspirations, choices and expressions of identity, doubt and surprise. Just like that thing we called life. If there’s anything fashion has taught me, it’s to not take life too seriously. Unless it’s a Japanese imported good.  

Did you go through any awkward teenage phases? Feel free to share below. Anonymous posting is available and highly recommended...

(Also special shout out to the beautiful Cicely for modelling this highly avant-garde look)