• Thu, Aug 14 - 4:21 pm ET

13 Fashion Mistakes You Made At 13

Being a teenager was a wonderfully awkward time. In addition to the chaperoned dances and pointless school courses (hello: geography), you probably had your fair share of style mishaps. Since you were just learning about makeup, you made a few beauty mistakes too. You thought glitter should be an essential part of your makeup routine and you had 50 butterfly clips you decorated your ponytail with, among other more serious tween hair disasters. You weren’t entirely at fault for your questionable choices because you styled your outfits around cartoon characters. Though they were very fashionable, the looks didn’t work that well in real life.

Let’s take anther trip down memory lane and remember the 13 fashion mistakes that you made at 13:

1. Piling on the accessories.

You had never heard of Coco Chanel, so you definitely didn’t know her style suggestion of taking one accessory off before you left the house. Even if you knew it, you would not have listened anyway. You had a plastic jewelry box filled with Claire’s accessories and you wanted to wear them all. At once. And you didn’t just stop at bracelets and necklaces. No outfit was complete without an anklet, toe ring, belt, corsage pin and maybe a headband–or three.

2. Experimenting with weird layering combinations.

You had the same ideas about layering as you did about accessories. The more layers, the better. It had nothing to do with keeping warm, it was all about style. You weren’t content with simply putting a cardigan over a t-shirt, you went for more fashionable (read: outrageous) combinations. Think a skirt over your jeans, or tights with two pairs of different colored socks. Oh, and never forget about the scarf belt.

3. Mixing too many patterns and colors.

You were a proud maximalist. No color or print was too crazy for you. In fact, the crazier they were, the more you liked them–especially if they were pink, because that was your fave color. You didn’t want to wear black head-to-toe because that was boring. That was something business people did, not a fun girl like you. You mixed rainbow prints, stripes and polka dots with such confidence, that you were convinced you would one day be a fashion designer because you had such a great eye.

4. Attempting to look like a grown-up and failing miserably.

You certainly didn’t want to look like your parents, or your older sister, but you aspired to look like a grown-up, aka a 17-year-old. Those older girls were soooooooo cool with their cut-off jean skirts and UGG boots. You took your knee-length junior’s section skirt your mom bought you and cut it in half. You accessorized with your best pair of jelly shoes and slapped some glitter on your cheeks. Then you went out to play. It was only then you realized that you might have cut your skirt too short, and discovered you could see your panda print underwear from the back. You still remember the look your dad had when he saw you. You’re surprised one of his eyeballs didn’t fall out of its eye socket.

5. Not knowing how to dress for most occasions.

You didn’t have separate wardrobes for school, birthday parties and summer camp. Each place was a runway, and you would wear your favorite outfit to each and every one, regardless of what older people told you about “appropriateness.” You didn’t believe in boring style rules and dress codes. Those were for grown-ups with jobs, not kids. The only rule you had was that you had to look super duper cute.

6. Dressing like twins with your best friend.

You always wanted a twin sister, but instead you got stuck with a stupid older brother. What good was he? You couldn’t swap clothes and coordinate super cute outfits with him. Luckily you had your BFF who you called your sister because you two were “thisclose” and you knew each others deep, dark secrets. You thought there wasn’t anything cooler than going to Aeropostale and buying the exact same outfit, and purposely wearing it on the same day. Sometimes you would even purchase the same top in two different colors, to switch things up.

7. Finding the weirdest things cute.

The most sparkly, brightest, fluffiest thing in the store was always your favorite–especially if you had never seen anything like it before. You could picture yourself in those cow print pants walking into to school on Tuesday morning and watching all of the other girls’ mouths drop to the floor. You were a magpie and too blinded by glitter to see that those feathered bell bottoms were more ugly than unique, and it would take a few more fashion flops before your realized the difference.

8. Showing off your duck print bra under light-colored tops.

You were so pleased when you started wearing little training bras. Things got even more exciting when you moved on to proper big girl bras. They were a new thing you could buy in a million different prints and fun colors. And they even had lace ones! You were too distracted by all of the pretty designs to realize that a bright blue bra with peace signs on it will be visible under 90% of the things in your wardrobe. That didn’t stop you from wearing it though. You would never have bought a white or nude bra, because that was grandma underwear.

9. Never bothering to try your clothes on before buying them.

It was the first time you were allowed to go shopping without your mother and spend some of your hard-earned allowance. You were too excited by the new-found freedom to check if your clothes actually fit. Besides, you knew that you were a size medium. The only time you used the change rooms was to perform fashion shows with your three BFFs, much to the annoyance of the sales associates.

10. Owning every single slogan t-shirt out there even if you don’t understand them.

A witty slogan on a t-shirt was almost as good as a sparkly unicorn design. Did you only buy tees with sayings that applied to you? No. Did it even matter if you understood it? Not really, other people would. And that was why you ended up with a t-shirt that said “Moustache Rides” on it. What did you care about the saying, it had a handlebar moustache on the shirt. Awesome.

11. Wearing waaaaaaaaay too much sparkle.

Just like with glitter makeup, sparkly clothes were appropriate for every time of day and for all occasions. And the more shine, the better. A sequined top could only be improved by a sparkly skirt. And you would always remember to complete the look with a dazzling bracelet–or five. If someone told you that you looked like a disco ball, you took it as the highest of compliments.

12.  Looking like a clone of every girl in school.

This one isn’t entirely your fault. The mall you had in your hometown had about six stores that catered to teenage girls and only three of them were considered cool. It didn’t help that you wanted to look like every girl in your class to begin with, especially your best friend. Your entire grade probably would have had that exact same ruffled skirt if they had not sold out.

13. Dressing like a princess for all formal events.

You sort of looked like a modern day princess most days thanks to all of your sparkly clothes and penchant for pink. However, when it came time to get fancy, you brought out the big guns, aka your tiara. Who cares if you weren’t the birthday girl, or the bride, you were going to wear that crown and the puffiest dress you could find. You had no idea why adults considered “getting dressed up” meant putting on a plain black dress. That was boooooooooring.

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  • Samantha Escobar

    I am guilty on so many counts.

  • Sara Steinfeld

    I distinctly remember one of my outfits for the first day of school included black and white plaid pants paired with an owl-print shirt. So yeah, this is pretty accurate.

  • Hanna Kasik

    I’ll just leave this here. 7th grade buddy picture. And our shirts say “El-Moo.” on them. Ugh. What a terrible idea.

    • Heather C

      Love it! Were those boot-cut jeans too?

    • Hanna Kasik

      My friend’s yes. Mine were like really early grey skinny jeans (not as tight as the ones now) that I bought at Limited Too of all places. You can’t see our shoes, but she and I were both wearing these chunky style vans. Mine were black with neon green skulls. Back in the day I fancied myself sort of an “emo” kid. Ugh. Glad that phase is over.

  • Anne Marie Hawkins

    The only saving grace of my adolescence was that I hated the color pink and shopping so everything was kept pretty muted. I did have the unfortunate middle school fashion goal of wanting to walk down the halls and clank, and I repeatedly tried to wear my steel-toed boots to school.

    • Heather C

      That is a great goal. At least it was intentional, unlike that awful squeaky sound people’s wet shoes would make.

  • OptimusPrime*

    Clarissa!!!!!! Who else, when younger/dumber, wanted to be her when they grew up? I still like layering a bit more than I should, thanks to her. My layers coordinate, though.

  • CW

    My oldest is entering 7th grade in a few weeks, and what I’m noticing with her is that she wants what the popular style is regardless of whether it actually flatters her figure. She’s got an hourglass figure, and not all styles are flattering on girls who are curvy (she’s at a perfectly healthy weight for her height, but she does have curves). Skinny jeans in particular are not flattering even if you are 105 lbs. and wear a size 2P. She won’t listen to me because what do middle-aged moms know???

  • JJ

    The glitter oh the horror of glitter. I don’t know why we were so obsessed with it especially myself but we were. In the worlds of a comedian, “glitter is the herpes of the craft world”. And yet I rubbed this clear gross, jelly like shit that had glitter all in it on my eye lids like it was eye shadow and all over face. I’m surprised I never broke out in a rash seeing as it was super cheap Claire’s make up full of chemicals or worse dollar store brand. Looking back I realize we probably looked like awful Cirque de Soleil rejects with our faces and bodies covered with gunky, sticky spray on glitters. Nothing says cool like looking like a bad walking and talking craft glitter project!

  • jsterling93

    Some of this fits but I was 13 in the early 90s and there was no glitter or pink. I wore a lot of flannel over short dresses and clunky boots. My make up of choice was dark purple and matte so I basically looked dead.

  • Elisa

    My worst one, and the one thing I loved above all else, was a pale blue-green short sleeved sweat shirt. The shoulder were cut out, with white and grey leopard print insets sewn in. Along the edges of these weird shoulders, whit fringe. Honestly, the thing was fugly. I wore it almost every day. Usually with white culottes or white jeans. And some cheap-ass flats since i thought sneakers were for kids. Pretty sure 13 year olds are blind when it comes to clothes! I know I was.