By Olivia McGuire // Photography by Hannah Sourbeer
Teen style is unique. One of a kind.
The things teenagers wear today come from every time period of style imaginable. And the key word to describe it is “drip.” Your grandpa’s jeans—those are drip. The Birkenstocks your dad wore in college—those are drip. Your vintage Rolling Stone t-shirt that’s 30 years old, well, that’s as drip as it gets! As teenagers, we express ourselves with our style. It’s what makes us feel good. It’s how you fit in—or stand out. It’s what makes you, you.
I’m here to give you—the parents—a little insight. Insight into what drip even means, and why your kids think jeans that are ten sizes too big for them are cool.
First, let’s define the term “drip.” To you, it may seem like your kids are speaking a foreign language. Drip essentially means that you have on a good outfit. It’s peer-approved. You’re doing it right. You look cool. Any of these phrases can be switched out for the word drip, but let’s be honest, drip is so much cooler to say and saves you a couple of breaths.
When teenagers use the word, they may say something like, “Your fit is drip today” or “I like your fit, it’s drippy.” But drip doesn’t always apply to your entire outfit, oftentimes your shoes can be drip. The sweater your teenager took out of her dad’s closet can be drippy, or even the camo pants she bought from the thrift store. This phrase is used freely and widely when it comes to teenage style and slang.
Teenage girl and boy styles vary so much, so let me differentiate the two.
In 2023, if you catch your teenage daughter wearing her grandpa’s pants, her dad’s oversized band tee from college, and an old worn-out pair of Chuck Taylor Converses, she’s probably got drip. She’s doing it right, even though sometimes she may look like a little skater.
Generally, in teenage girl style, there’s one rule of thumb: Little shirt, baggy pants, or baggy shirt and leggings. There’s really no in-between when it comes to this rule. And, as much as we would love to dress like a boy every day, part of us still wants to look like a girl with good style. So, when you see your daughter dressed in big pants and a little crop top, she’s pulling it off no matter what, and she looks cute.
Teenage girl style doesn’t vary much from girl to girl. Look at a handful of them, and I bet they will all be wearing the same thing with just a little difference. Unique, yet one of a kind. We know. You get the point.
When it comes to teenage boys, the rule of thumb is: “I don’t really care, as long as I’m comfortable.” Nine times out of ten, you will see a boy wearing sweatpants and a hoodie—maybe with a vest over it—and the newest Nike Jordans that just dropped, because they need to make their “basic outfit,” look—well—“not so basic.”
Every once in a while, you might see a boy pull his nice Dickies pants out of the bottom of his drawer, and a band tee he got at Pac Sun a few months ago. If so, congratulate him for dressing just like his girlfriend! (Nothing new there.) Teenage boys aren’t too diverse or one of a kind. So trust me, next time you tell your son he’s leaving the house looking homeless, every other boy his age is dressing like that, too.
Finally, we are onto the shoe category. This topic can truly start a disagreement within the teenage population. We take shoes so seriously! So, what are the drippy shoes in this day and age?
Well here’s one popular option: Nike Jordans—low or high—are in, and most teenagers own at least one pair. What’s so special about these shoes? No one can put their finger on it. Maybe it’s the wide variety of colors available? Maybe they just look retro old-school? We may never know.
But what we do know, is if you don’t have crease protectors in your shoes, you’re not doing it right. (Like my brother.) The world might just end if you don’t have a small, plastic splint in your shoes to prevent the annoying, non-appealing crease at the toe line of your shoe. We don’t care if you’re walking weirdly, the crease is nearly unacceptable!
In teenagers’ minds, shoes are worn to be cool, not for the practical use of protecting your feet. Duh! They are strictly for style; nothing else.
So … now that you understand teenage drip, and what to expect, you should have no issue deciphering your teenager’s style before they walks out the door in the morning.