If you want some insight into what fashions are popular among people ages 12 to 15, you need to go right to the source: junior high school.
To seek out expert advice on what styles and clothing brands are hot these days, we ventured to Southwest Junior High School, 2511 Inverness Drive, last fall on what turned out to be Picture Day for ninth-graders.
While they waited in line to have their photos taken, several students served as our fashion panel, offering their thoughts about what's in style now.
Shea Jaenicke was wearing cargo shorts from Abercrombie & Fitch that cost $45, a Hawaiian shirt from No Fear and Nike running shoes.
"Abercrombie & Fitch is popular. It's comfortable, it's rugged, it's kind of baggy, and my friends wear it. Their clothes last a long time," Shea said. "There's two types of people: You either want to be comfortable, or you want to be popular and wear Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy and Abercrombie."
Standing next to Shea was Michael Herrera.
He wore olive-colored painter's pants and a pale-blue, casual collared shirt from Old Navy along with a pair of skater-type shoes from Emerica.
His sense of style comes from the fashions worn by skateboarders.
"I like to wear skate clothes. They're comfortable, they're baggy, and I like the way they look," Michael said.
Jenna Garber wore a pair of flared, Lucky Brand jeans that cost $75, Dr. Martens leather sandals she paid $110 for and a brightly colored, short-sleeved top.
She buys most of her clothes at The Buckle, 805 Mass.
"I love it because they have a variety of clothes; they're not all the same, like Abercrombie," Jenna said.
She likes the Lucky Brand jeans sold at The Buckle. "They fit me good. They're cute jeans."
Another store that's popular among Southwest students is "Old Navy, because it's less expensive than The Gap, and it's the same clothes," Jenna said.
Jillian Hill had on flared jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch that cost $49, a light-blue, sleeveless top, thong sandals from Old Navy and a beaded necklace from Urban Outfitters.
She tries to pick clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. Urban Outfitters, 1013 Mass., is where she often winds up shopping.
"I have a bunch of their shirts. I love their bracelets and purses," Jillian said.
Sarah Miller likes clothes from The Gap, Old Navy and Adidas.
"The most popular brand (at school) is Abercrombie & Fitch. I don't wear that stuff. They don't have my kind of style. It's too unoriginal everybody has it," she said.
Sarah was wearing roll-on glitter on her eyelids and under her eyes another popular trend, she said. "It just makes my face shine."
Jonathan Ross was among the many fans of Abercrombie clothing at Southwest.
He was wearing a pair of Nike Air Max SC running shoes that set him back $140, Abercrombie & Fitch cargo shorts he got on sale for $35 and a $30 Abercrombie sweatshirt.
"I like the look of Abercrombie, and it's really comfortable. I usually get everything on sale there," Jonathan said.
Same goes for Alex Ayre who was outfitted in a $15 wood-and-bead necklace, a maroon sweatshirt and a pair of cargo shorts, all from Abercrombie.
"All my clothes are from there. But I wear sporty-type stuff, too. Nike is popular," Alex said.
There's no doubt about it: Getting dressed is something junior high students put a lot of thought and money into.
"Everyone wants to look good. Why would you go to school looking ugly?" Jenna said.