Until recently, boys' fashion choices have been much more limited than girls' -- rather the way men's selections have been much smaller than women's.

But that is changing. The past couple of years have seen an explosion in the number of designers specializing in boys' fashions and in the variety of styles being offered. At the same time, boys are becoming more fashion savvy.

"Jeans will be around for ever and ever," said Cheryl Miller, editor of the trade publication Kids Fashions. "But boys' clothes are starting to resemble men's. They're becoming dressier, more stylish."

Boys are starting to experiment with fashion, just as their sisters have always done, said Jackie Walker, a publicist for JC Penney.

"They're accepting new styles. Instead of jeans and T-shirts, they're into pleated pants and printed shirts -- a real junior GQ look," Ms. Walker said.

As a result, JC Penney is offering dressier boys' looks this year, such as pleated pants and printed dress shirts, in addition to the usual jeans, T-shirts and sweats.

"The little guys are getting picky. They're getting a sense of fashion. It's probably coming from Dad, who's also more into fashion these days," Ms. Ingstrom said.

The use of bright colors is also new to boys' fashion. Not primaries, not neons, but hot, rich, unusual shades and combinations.

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