And Now, the Real Experts Speak

Ten teens tell us what their hippest friends will be flaunting this fall-and what it’s all really worth.

Cool doesn’t come cheap in Dallas, Texas, where bigger and newer are synonymous with better. For teens, consumers par excellence, cool can be outright outrageous. How do parents know where to draw the lines and stop the cash flow? We gathered a group of savvy public and private school teens from Dallas and the ’burbs to meet and give us a clue.

THE TREND: Big cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles, and 4x4s. Anything with bad gas mileage. Especially Chevies-the Blazer and the Suburban. It has to sound big.

THE TRUTH: “It’s pure ego. You have to have a big car to prove that you’re cool.” “It’s like a Beirut assault vehicle.” “It’s supposed to be safer, but it’s a safety hoax, You hit someone and you’re safe, but you kill them.”



THE TREND: Tag watches

THE TRUTH: “A watch is a watch is a watch.” “There are clocks on the wall [at school]. You don’t need a watch.”



THE TREND: Leather backpacks used as purses. Brown or black.

THE TRUTH: “You can’t even take it in to some places. They 4 make you check it because people can’t tell what’s in it.” “The DKNY backpacks are really expensive.”

THE TREND: Specialty beers. Red Dog, Red Wolf, Red anything. It needs to sound different and exotic.

THE TRUTH: “Every single guy at my school drinks beer. I’m like the only one who doesn’t get drunk every day and throw logs at people from the windows of my Bronco.”

THE TREND: America on Line. Cruise the Internet to get on the chat lines.

THE TRUTH: “It’s for losers.” “I know girls who really think they can meet guys that way.” “I have a friend who racks up $300 a month on it.” “Do the 10 hours free, then get rid of it.”

THE TREND: Bev keys. Worn on a key ring, these gadgets open bottles and beverages. The coolest ones are from colleges. The Duke bev key is the pick of the moment.

THE TRUTH: “You go on a college visit and bring back a bev key just to look cool.” “They promote drinking.”



THE TREND: 10-disc CD players. For the car, of course. With remote controls.

THE TRUTH: “You can’t even remember what’s in there.” “You can’t find what you want.”

THE TREND: Timberland boots. The more buckles and laces, the better. Lug soles are a must.

THE TRUTH: “People wear them around Dallas like there’s going to be a flood or something.” “I’m like a lumberjack ready for anything with 13,000 shoestring laces.” “Wearing these in Dallas is just like driving these big cars on city streets.”

THE TREND: Car phones, especially flip phones. Phones that automatically turn off your car radio when they ring. Phones that parents install in their kids’ cars for reasons of safety.

THE TRUTH: “The safety excuse is a hoax.” “You get it for safety first, but then it becomes a luxury.” “My dad had an accident because be was on the car phone.”

THE TREND: The road trip. Coolest destination: Austin.

THE TRUTH: If you haven’t equipped yourself with all of the above (except your computer, of course), don’t even try this one. It’s for the really cool. “Road tripping is in.”



OUR PANEL: Samar Malak, Aimée Pearrow, Nicole Gabona, Thomas Kirk, Katie Starrs, Alyssa Ortega, Jeff Brewer, Robert Spencer, Christian Charnaux, Will Klancnik

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