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Teens, Parents At Odds Over Racy Back-To-School Fashions

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RALEIGH — Back-to-school shopping often means back to the same old tug-of-war with your teenager over clothes you do not like.

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, Helaina Casabonne knows what she is looking for.

"Whatever's in, I guess," she said.

The problem is what is considered "in" may be out the window if Helaina's mom, Mary Ellen, does not like it.

"I don't like going to school in midriffs. I don't allow that, and I don't like showing cleavage," says parent Mary Ellen Casabonne.

Midrifts and other racy fashions are causing real rifts between parents and teens. Tank tops, halters and hip-hugger jeans leave bellies bare.

"I don't know what it is about showing your stomach now, but I guess it's back," says store manager Sandy Paro.

Frisky phrases are also favorites.

"The Princess and the Angel stuff, Hottie -- that stuff sells like crazy," Paro says.

Retailers say they are simply putting out the clothes that kids want. Now more than ever, teens want to shine like their favorite pop stars like Britney Spears, Madonna and others.

"We have a jean that actually has a "Mariah" waist, so a lot of the pop culture is definitely what's influencing fashions for teens," says Belk spokeswoman Tricia Conrad.

Teens may also be influenced by their school, when they head back to find a stricter dress code being enforced this year. That will help parents put their foot down, even though they admit they were once in their teenager's shoes.

"It is a lot of what we were wearing back then," says Carabonne.

"I've got a 12-year-old who's like, 'Hey, these are popular now,' and I'm like, 'If you only knew,'" Paro says.

In Wake County schools, clothing that is disruptive, provocative, vulgar or which endangers the health or safety of students is forbidden. Cumberland County has a similar policy.

Last year, Johnston County schools adopted a strict dress code. Baggy pants, short shorts and tank tops are not allowed. Students can only wear piercings in their ears and cannot have strange colored hair.