Clothing is commonly used to indicate affiliation with a group, an organisation, or an activity, whether it involves wearing the clan tartan of your Scottish ancestors, the tie of your preparatory school in England, or a baseball jersey from your favourite team. Clothing style thus becomes a means of group identification. Individuals who want to achieve or maintain social approval, acceptance, and a sense of belonging conform to the group dressing norms.
One age group where conformity through dress is important is adolescence. Teenagers are probably the most fashion-conscious humans on earth and the most preoccupied with social acceptance and coolness associated with the clothes they wear. Fashion and image go hand in hand and both have a huge impact on a teenager’s lifestyle.
Peer pressure is very influential in clothing selection for the teenagers. They will dress in a particular way to stave off mocking and humiliation from peers. They feel that if they dress in inappropriate clothes, they could end up losing their friends. Teenagers want to fit in and duplicating the fashion around them gives them a sense of belonging in today’s world. Fashion is there to keep friendships and bolster their self-esteem by “mirroring”.
There is almost always enough diversity in group-appropriate clothing which makes it possible to simultaneously display our affiliation with a group while also showing our own uniqueness.