There is one myth about teen style that i will not try to disprove: teenage girls (or girls of any age, for that matter) are physically drawn to things that are cute. This used to be a very fine line to find, much in the same way that "cool" is today (and that is why you adore helpful people like me called coolhunters... but that's another story), but now is seems to be much more simplified. All you must avoid is being to "cutesy," which basically means all you have to avoid is combining a cute image with pastel coloring. Brights are essential to obtaining a japanese-pop look rather than a Precious Moments look.
ANYWAY, seeing as "cute" is so easy to come by these days, it is very noteworthy when something, such as this adorable tee shirt from palmercash.com exceeds the boundaries of everyday cute and does something actually new and innovative. Japanese anime-style is not new, patterned shirts are not new, but the two concepts combined in duo-color (and BRIGHT, not PASTEL, pink) is just enough to make this shirt stand out. I can also easily picture both the preppy girls and the punk rock girls in my school wearing this, meaning that it has achieved something practically impossible. Hats off, PalmerCash.
for more cute, pop-culture all over prints, i recommend Andy Warhol Famous at Chocosho.
for more Japanese-inspired fun, i recommend Lucky Flower from Cute Salad.
It is no secret that i am obsessed with all things graphic and pattern-y. Umbrellas are not exactly an untapped source in terms of cute design surfaces, but this one is particularly cute without being cheap and cutesy. It's duo-tone style keeps it from seeming to childish but leaves it interesting enough to add spark and fun to any gray day. I don't know what else to say, it's just awesome, and i'm pretty sure everyone i know would agree with me on that one. But maybe it's my inner naive, self-assured teen talking.
The Andy Warhol craze is a little trendy for my tastes, I'd prefer the banana-toters invest in an art book rather than show their "appreciation" by buying what happens to be hot. But hey, I'm a cool hunter, I guess I don't have that much right to go anti-consumerism on you. So anyway, these shoes are the bomb. I know the bags are everywhere, available from such sites urbanoutfitters.com, fredflare.com, and delias.com, not to mention the stores, so perhaps you need to branch out a bit in order to retain individuality. Admit it, the last placce people expect bananas is your feet. $125 plus shipping. (I know what you all were expecting me to say so here it is: this shit is bananas.)
Teens today have too much stuff. It's a wonder they don't get radiation poisoning with all the technology they carry around. Blah blah blah. But yes, you have to admit that toting around your PSP, iPod, and Razr isn't always a treat. But it would be if you had a supercool Citana bag from Ochobags.com. With three unique sections, ranging from personal organizer to reading material to textbook-sized, it's really the best multi-tasker around. And get this-- you can buy multiple bags and mix n' match the pouches for a totally unique look. Normally i'm not all for the "collect them all!" mindset, but come on. So cute.
Okay, kids. I make no claims to have cool-hunted this one. Apparently, most of the hipster universe has already found out about the amazing work of Chuck Klosterman. No, this goes out to the teen universe, which apparently has no idea who Klosterman is. The teen universe is seriously missing out, though. Klosterman has a writing style which, while i cannot say it is exactly unique, possibly because it resembles the conversations we all have with ourselves every day, is brilliant. He exposes that which we take for granted, that which we ignore, and that which we have not yet recognized its full potential or stupidity. Buy this book, IMMEDIATELY. Once you do, erase everything from your calender... this is a book you would gladly lock yourself in a broom closet in order to read. Forget school, man.
A common misconception about teenagers is that they have no respect for the styles of yesteryear, the cultures of the past, or old-world craftsmanship. Not so. The truth is that there is a fine line between sporting classical styling and looking like your grand-mere. Fashion is all about re-working the trends of years past, and we get that. That's why any girl in my age group would squeal with joy over this bright Berrybraid Scarf by NotOnTheHighStreet.com. It is 100% wool with handmade (See! Old-world techniques!) tassels and comes in two citrus-y color choices. It costs £81, which i'm not sure exactly what that translates to in USD, but come on. It's so completely adorable and features such timeless Scandinavian patterns, even grand-mere would like it.
Don't even try to tell me you're not sick of stud belts. I mean, Hot Topic is really trying its hardest to keep you interested, by changing the color of the studs, the shapes, their arrangements, but really they're just prolonging the inevitable. Stud belts are getting to be tired, too run-of-the-mill. They don't even hint at any underground aesthetic anymore, any punk rock sensibility. They only say, "hey, i have a mall near my house." Stop playing around and get something cooler, something like the amazingly rad Seascape belt from Yummy Industries' Woven Drawings series. They'll set you back about $39 plus shipping, but isn't it worth it to stand out again? Take back the belt.
I also recommend this belt if you really want to stir up the scene.