Adolescent dress, Part II: A qualitative study of suburban high school students

Adolescence. 1991 Fall;26(103):679-86.


Through observation and interviews of high school students, the role of dress in a nonpsychiatric population was explored in order to provide data complementary to the first phase of a larger research project. Adolescent dress was examined in relation to three dimensions of the self: the public, private, and secret self. Due to the age of subjects and the length of contact with the interviewer, results provided most information about the public self, particularly descriptions of social types--categories based on appearance and behavior. These types included a modal, or "average," type and more extreme types including "punks," "freaks," and "nerds." Extreme social types appeared to offer valuable reference points for "average" adolescents in the development of their individual identities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude*
  • Clothing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Conformity*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Identification
  • Suburban Population*