Ambercrombie, American Eagle Out; PacSun, Wet Seal In

by: Retail Eye Partners

Bye bye, Miss American Pie!

This season sees a major shift in teen girls' fashion cycle moving away from preppy Americana towards fashion forward looks for the first time in years…and the result brings into favor a whole new selection of retailers.

Hello, Fashion!

After years of the preppy, Americana look dominating teen girl’s fashion, we are finally seeing a major change in style which began to show relevance starting with the spring season, and has only grown more popular as summer sets have arrived at retailers.

Our 115-member proprietary Teen Panel tells us that the new look involves more fashion and runway trends, with the overall style looking reminiscent of 80s rocker styles, and emulating more and more celebrity fashion.

In the malls and at school, teen girls are choosing shorts with a printed/graphic tank or tee, skinny jeans or leggings with a flowy, printed top, and dresses, dresses and more dresses. Shorty shorts are the shorts length of choice, paired with a variety of top options, with tanks being the teen favorite. Key colors are no longer muted and vintage, but brights and neon with sparkle, studs, acid-washed and metallics important in detailing. Solid colors are out and prints and patterns are definitely in for teen girls this season.

Most interestingly, brand logos are on the wane, with fewer logoed looks being popular at schools. And for the first time in quite a few years, we are seeing teens accessorizing looks with bold jewelry, scarves and trend-right footwear. This is the first season where the flip flop is actually seeing competition as the primary shoe choice with gladiator sandals, ballet flats and wedges all providing dressier options to match with the more fashion-forward looks.

Look Out, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) and American Eagle (NYSE:AEO)

In a nutshell, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle are “out” (and in fact, both companies missed Wall Street expectations for May same store sales metrics), and Forever 21, Charlotte Russe (CHIC), Wet Seal (WTSLA), Buckle (NYSE:BKE) and Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN) are the “in” teen stores of choice this season.

While teens are still searching for the most bang for their buck, they are shopping at more varied retailers this season: from Target (NYSE:TGT) to Macy’s (NYSE:M) to Forever 21 to find the right pieces at the right price and create their own unique looks.

We think the shift in teen girl’s fashion will continue through the summer into the Back-to-School season, with skinny jeans and fashion tops being the look of choice, mixed in with more dresses and long tunic tops with leggings. And that means that we will likely see the Americana-oriented brands continue to fall from favor for BTS unless they make major updates to their offering.

Bye bye, A&F and AE; hello, fashion forward retailers!

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