Continued from page 1

Where parents put their foot down depends on their income, Miss Klaris says, and though a wardrobe of Prada might be too much for parents to handle, they might be more willing to spend on accessories.

“They want their kids to fit in,” she says. “They’re still buying T-shirts at Target, but still having that [luxury] handbag.”

Bloomingdale’s fashion director Stephanie Solomon says teen shoppers at the department stores nationwide are clamoring after $300 Chanel sunglasses, designer handbags by Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloe — which can cost between $900 and $1,250 — and $200 to $300 Tory Burch shoes.

“It’s really about the accessories,” she says. “The fact that you can wear sunglasses every day and carry the same handbag every day justifies the expense.”

Miss Solomon says the recent surge in lower-priced lines by designers — Marc by Marc Jacobs, for example, or Proenza Schouler for Target — help teens afford designer fashion but also have made them aware of the higher-priced lines.

“They’re a segue into the designer sectors,” she says.

Elle Girl’s Miss Nasser also says accessories are the entry point for teens buying luxury items.

“Handbags are huge,” she says. “They are definitely a status symbol. So whether it’s Marc Jacobs, Luis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent or Chanel, girls will want the hot bags that they see all the celebrities carrying.”

Mr. Celente, publisher of Trends Journal, says that although teens might not have full-time jobs, they don’t have many expenses, either, so they spend all their money on themselves.

The youth research company Teenage Research Unlimited, says teenagers between 12 and 19 years old spent $179 billion in 2006, or $102 per teen per week.

Teens “don’t have mortgages to pay, and they don’t have rent,” Mr. Celente says. “They have disposable income.”