Put Your Clothes Back On

In my formerER life, in the 90s, I lived in small town Iowa about 2 years after grunge made its messy plaid debut. In the Heartland, that look kept us going until at least 2001. My dad must have breathed a sigh of relief while his 3 daughters were entering adolescence, because we dressed a mess. In the 1990’s, we didn’t wear clothes that flattered our bodies, or even fit our bodies. My absolute favorite go-to outfit my senior year was some black boot cut Levi’s coupled with an XL red flannel button down from the GAP.  Things are different now…

By the time my former life was happening, circa 2002 or 2003, things had really changed. While I spent my 20’s transitioning to clothes that fit my body (oh wow-novel idea!!), high heels with jeans, and then eventually boots over skinny jeans, kids and adolescents began dressing in ways that in other countries would be illegal.

Thanks a lot Abercrombie and Hollister for providing unsuspecting teens and college kids with soft porn, too tight shirts, and booty shorts delivered straight into their mailboxes and local malls. In my years as a youth minister, I had WAY too many talks with kids about what they were wearing and if it was appropriate.  Now that I have my own little girls, I have already had one conversation about modesty and foresee many more.

Really, I’m not a fashion prude, but I am constantly shocked that teenagers and even little girls are allowed to leave their homes in shorts that display the cellulite just below their butts. I mean, SERIOUSLY, where is your mom? What our kids wear SAYS something about them and it invites others to form opinions about them. WE are the stewards of that while they are under our roofs.

So what now?

1. Be a good example in the way you dress. Kids look to us more than we know-even through the teenage years. If we dress like the real housewives, they will, too.

2. Tell your children that they are beautiful inside and out.  Wardrobes are an extension of our personalities, not our personalities. Teens have a tendency to hide behind clothing, whether it’s too many clothes or too little clothes. Remind your children first of WHO they are inside. Talk with your girls even as littles about the fact that more skin and more makeup is not what makes them beautiful. On the other hand, telling our littles that they are pretty is important, too (I wrote about this here).

3. Dress your child in a way that is age appropriate.  I think dress up is great, but set an age for makeup, heels, and so on. Let them enjoy childhood while looking forward to the day when they can wear heels.

4. Go shopping WITH your girls. Make it a tradition that you can enjoy with them through their adolescence. Let them explore their style within the boundaries of your guidance.

One of our first Mommy/Daughter shopping trips
One of our first Mommy/Daughter shopping trips

5. It’s ok to say No! Talk to your children honestly about their wardrobes, set boundaries, and stick to them. This might mean being the bad guy when hoochie shorts and bikinis are “in”. Welcome to parenthood. Most of us chose this role willingly.

6. Creepers are of all ages. If your daughter is attracting attention from her peers because of her clothing, she is likely attracting attention from all ages. We live in a different age: an age of cameras in every pocket, YouTube, twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Gross. Shiver. Gag.

What rules do you have in your family for dressing kids in ways that are respectful?

Anna is wife to Matt and mom to two little ladies: Charlie and Georgia, and dog mom to the best dog ever, Attie, and the worst little Beagle ever, Toby. Besides chasing around her girls full time, Anna spends her spare time running her business, Fit4Mom SW Fort Worth. And can be found enjoying British TV, dark chocolate, and a good cup of coffee with her husband.


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