Unlike so many looks that trickled down from designer runways to mass retailers and into teenagers' closets, the almost electrifying shades of pink, green, yellow and orange have been hanging out in high school hallways for a while. And they're back again for the new school year.
"Teens stayed with neon because for them, it's so easy to wear. It taps into youth, emotion and standing out, which they like doing," says Seventeen senior fashion editor Marissa Rosenblum.
The highlighter colors have evolved this season into accessories, beauty products and outerwear. There are still the T-shirts, colored jeans, hoodies and athletic apparel, but Rosenblum says the way to wear neon is as a single bright pop, not head to toe.
It's probably a safe bet that lots of pint-sized athletes will buy into the bright footwear that has made Nike's track and field sneakers one of the most buzzed-about looks of the Olympics.
Try mint green jeans with a yellow neon tank with a gray cardigan. said Anu Narayanan, vice president of women's merchandising for Old Navy. "Neon looks best as a surprise within a look."
For its largely grade-school customer, The Children's Place will pair neon with navy as the cooler weather moves in. "The children have a sense of humor about their clothes," said TCP senior vice president of design Michael Giannelli.
Elena Klam is creative director and co-owner of the jewelry brand Lia Sophia, which is launching a fashion jewelry collection called Sisters aimed at the tween and teen set. It includes neon, preapproved by Klam's teenage daughters and their friends.
Klam said that even schools with strict dress codes will likely allow superbright friendship bracelets or earrings.
"You don't have to be the 'pink girl' when it's neon. That has a bit of an edge to it," Klam said.
The skater-snowboarder-surfer look has brought brights back into favor for boys. "Skater kids and surfer dudes are wearing bright pinks and deep purples, and they're also getting into orange and banana," Giannelli said.
Seventeen editor Rosenblum cautions: "You have to choose the color that looks good on you. That funny off-green is definitely an important color, but it's not for everyone."
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