10 Hallmarks Of A Popular Teen Girl: Mid-2000s Vs. 2014


I spent two weeks working at the Mall of America, a tourist attraction populated almost entirely by teenage girls. I work at a store that attracts such specimen, which means I had plentiful time to study the teens of 2014 and compare them to the teen girl I was in the mid-2000s. I feel old. Teenage girls have so much more access to everything than I did at their age. We had the internet, but it was dial-up. We had cell phones later on in the decade, but we couldn’t text message until like 2006.

Observe my research below.

Preferred loungewear

Then: Abercrombie & Fitch flare sweatpants, rolled two or three times for maximum midriff
Now: Lululemon everything

Trendy shoes

Then: Adidas shell-toe sneakers, kitten heel flip-flops, knee-high boots with pointy toes, Uggs
Now: Fake combat boots, Crocs with socks, Top-Siders. No teenage girl I polled can quite answer WHY the Crocs are so popular. Still wearing Uggs!


Then: Light wash, flared, low-rise. The lower, the better. Often from American Eagle.
Now: Black, high-rise, skinny. Often paired with crop tops.

Makeup products

Then: Lancome Juicy Tubes in every shade. Sephora has yet to hit every mall.
Now: Teenage girls wear red lipstick, purple lipstick, hot pink and orange. If I would’ve done this in 2002, the older girls would have had a field day.

Cool stores

Then: Abercrombie. Duh. Online shopping was something you COULD do, but nobody did because everyone paid cash for everything; none of my friends had debit or credit cards until college.
Now: Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, H&M. Anywhere, as long as you have a credit card. Abercrombie is NOT cool.

Style icons

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Then: Gwen Stefani, J. Lo, Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Lauren Conrad
Now: Jenner sisters, Lorde, Taylor Swift

Teen lit

Then: Gossip Girl series, as yet to hit TV
Now: Dystopian YA fiction, “The Fault in Our Stars”

Trendy hairstyles

Then: Pin straight. Thick, chunky highlights in corn yellow. Yellow-blonde hair in general. The flip. Prom-appropriate cornrow braids.
Now: Suuuuuuuuuper long. Seriously, these girls have hair down to the top of their jeans. Pretty braids.

Social media

Then: AIM. MSN Messenger. Email. DIalup internet. I got my first cell phone in 2006. Livejournal. Myspace in like 2005.
Now: Snapchat. There are probably a million apps and websites I don’t even know about, because I’m old. Apparently teenagers don’t use Facebook? News to me.

Memorable moments

Then: Digital cameras with giant floppy disks in the early 2000s. Disposable cameras – always make sure to order doubles to share with your friends!
Now: Literally everything is a camera. Your phone, your computer, your iPad…

What did I miss?