Rebel Teen Fashion

The teenage apparition 50m away and moving towards me exuded darkness.  Fierce, ruthless, wholesome darkness. She couldn’t have been more than 16 years old. She looked angry and confident in her gloom, seemingly levitating with the help of thick-soled ankle boots. Heavy-duty platform. They seemed to weigh down her waifish frame. Her assortment of jewelry, mostly chains, jingled with each step. Chains hang from her jacket, snaked their way out of her tinny short’s pockets, weighed down her arms and gave the jingle to her boots too. Her little black summer jacket had sleeves that had probably, with eternal purpose been chewed on by a mad dog - at precise internals. An impressive collection of rings adorned her left ear lobe and one more looped through her nose. Not a silent apparition at all.  

The left side of her head had been shaved to a glistening finish. The remaining (lucky) shoulder length mass of pink tinged dark mane was slickly swept across and to the other side of her head, ending in downward spikes. Completing a hairstyle I’m sure was meant to shock. The sneer taking residence on her young face was probably a well practiced ‘in front of the mirror’ expression. She had on deep red lipstick, heavy eye shadow and eyeliner so thick it seemed to weigh down her eyelids. Eyelids…eyeee…what?! THE EYES! It was jarring to suddenly encounter a blue doe-eyed look - totally in conflict with the owner’s ominous landscape. I had an instant feeling she wouldn’t hurt a fly.

I was incredulous that her parents would let her in or out of the house.  A friend later enlightened me…they most likely support or are resigned to accept her choice of self-expression.

An African teen, turning up home dressed as aforementioned white teen would set off a chain of events, hilarious only to an observer. African parents become vociferous at the slightest hint of anything they consider an offense.
Animated gesticulation is a well-horned skill.

My mum, God rest her beautiful soul, was one such comical parent. You’d often hear loud lamentations, complete with requisite gesticulations, of how her children were turning feral (ironed and previously folded laundry littered the floor), outbursts of how she’d squeeze my brother and I into the tinniest of balls and hurl us out of the window (we’d failed to keep it down as visitors watched a movie) or how one day, our older starving selves would regret having ever rejected food (we’d failed to finish our dinner). An outsider would have been hard pressed to believe she was the softest of parents.  

The teen would have an inkling of what awaited her.  

Well, see, the show would start way before she got home. An African neighborhood is like a huge family running on gossip. The first adult to clap their eyes on said teen would clutch at their chest, take a deep breath and exhale a resounding tut-tut (one could be jailed for this in Europe). With a pained expression, they’d shake their head in disapproval and rush to the nearest neighbor’s house. The teen would instantly become a lost cause. The spectacle before them would be almost unbearable to watch for any length of time. The disturbing memory of it would be stored for later; to be prodded, dissected and torn apart at the local watering hole.

The neighborhood kids would skip alongside the teen, looking her up and down, hi-fiving, and gushing adoration, no doubt day dreaming of when they’d be old enough to express themselves this way but well knowing it might never come to pass. In that moment, the teen’s neighborhood friends would admire her confidence and strength. Such titles as bonkers girl, muscle girl or even, super girl would be carelessly tossed about. With false bravado, no less pumped up by encouragement from her peers, she would, with a new spring to her step make her way home - on a flimsy cloud.

Her confidence would start to crumble as soon as home came within sight. She would press on, having decided, “I’ll calmly tell them about changing times. I’m my own person. I have rights. I’m entitled to this outfit!”

Self expression…paaaauh!

The cloud would disintegrate as soon as her appearance assaulted her parents’ field of view. They wouldn’t let her into the house, let alone, speak. They’d make a ratchet. They would swiftly launch into a tirade against ‘these pig headed youths.’ They’d ululate (if they are the type), attracting a sizable group of spectators. They’d raise their arms towards heaven and callout to God to come save their child (the dramatic). They’d threaten to disown her in an instant. Frothing at the mouth, the dad/mum would grab the nearest hard thing and threaten to ‘thrash that attire off of you’ and in most cases, proceed to put the wielded implement to good use. Total humiliation for the teen. One way or another, the outfit wouldn’t see another day. An empty stomach and a night just outside the door isn’t uncommon.  

Self-expression?  No, thank you!

How did you navigate your teenage fashion years? 


  1. Since my dad considered wearing trousers or anything that caused adivision of the legs for that matter very sinful and an abomination to the household ladies, I didn't get to try anything. The men were not allowed jeans and any hairs cuts that were not of very equal length and not shaolin

    1. Hahahaha :)..That's hilarious. How is it now?

    2. It hasnt changed....i still have to find the largest skirt or dress to wear if i go home. Recently i had to go on bike with my bf so trousers are the only suitable attire for a 300km ride..i still had to change in abush nearby and am 29 yrs old. The boys can now wear jeans but cant grow hair nor have fancy cuts and some r married with 2 3

    3. Come on :D :D...we have to chat about this further :D :D...LOL

  2. thats very inspiring sister...we love your blog.

  3. My mother was quite liberal when it came to what we wore. As far as I remember I wore anything I wanted as long as it was clean. LOL A lot of tiny skirts and dresses to the club when I was finally let out. Fairly heeled shoes to parties in my teens. I was never very daring anyway so there was never anything so alarming. :-)

    1. You had it good :)...Trousers, shorts even tight dresses were okay...but what I REALLY wanted were teeny tinny shorts and skirts :D :D...

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