I write this as a mom of two girls, but I know others out there feel my pain. What in the world is going on with tween/teen fashion these days?? Girls walking around in a 1920’s swimsuit and calling it a semi-formal dress? I’ve seen more tight, short, and low cut garments on kids under the age of 16 than ever before. And because it’s so prevalent, it’s hard to convince our girls what is truly “appropriate” for various events and activities. Our school even just sent out a 12-point set of rules for “appropriate dressing” for middle school Field Day! What?!
Here’s the deal, we all know they want to look “cool” and wear something in line with what their friends are wearing. The problem is the lack of selection for this age combined with their lack of knowledge on how to make good fashion choices that are both appropriate AND flatter their individual body types. Let’s see if we can demystify this formula a little and help our girls look and feel their best!
Rule #1. PICK. A. POISON. It’s quite simple really. Pick one “edgy” detail you want to be a focal point. Is it tight? Is it short? Is it low cut? Is it strapless? Etc, etc, etc. Pick ONE. The train goes off the rails when we have too many “poisons” because the look feels confused and like the person is trying too hard to be noticed (and let’s not settle for negative attention just because it’s attention…I digress…). By picking one design element, you draw all focus to that one detail, and it becomes more alluring and flattering overall. This seems to be a particularly hard rule to follow for our older tween/teens. They truly just want to fit in, but also be noticed in some way. One way to combat this is to point out the “edgy” detail on a garment they love and let them know that is the focal point. Other details about the look need to be secondary to that one focal point or the whole look is confused and, in many cases, just downright tacky.
Rule #2. Know your body type and understand what flatters what God gave YOU. This is a universal rule that applies to all ages really, but if our younger girls can learn this early, they will be better for it in the long run! Did God give you a long, lean, athletic build? Maybe an hourglass figure? Or a pear or apple shape? Learn what flatters your curves and lines. Find the part of your figure you love the most and that can become the focal point. I will use myself as an example – I am and always have been a pear shape. I like to find pieces that highlight my waist and elongate my legs. A great pair of high waisted, bootcut or flare jeans paired with a more fitted shirt will always look better on me than a blousy maxi dress with no shape. Talk to your girls about what looks best on their individual body types. Point out where that line is between the skirt being short and flattering vs. short and not, etc. And while they may not appear to be listening, you are planting a seed. A seed that will grow and help them to know how to dress long term when they are an adult.
Rule #3. Colors matter. Maybe this is a PSA to moms and daughters (and really anyone) – but color tones are important. Have you ever bought a really cute shirt, dress, jacket, etc that you absolutely love and after you got it home you NEVER wore it (even though it fits like a glove)? Perhaps you have tried, but every time you put it on something just feels off? Kind of blah? I venture to guess it is the color of the garment next to your face. Do you have blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin? Chances are cooler colors (think blues, grays, blacks, purples, cool reds, magenta, etc) bring out your eyes and brighten your skin tone. If you try an orange or tan, you may be left feeling like something is just not quite right. Are you a brunette with brown eyes? I bet warmer tones (neutrals, blush pink, olive green, warm reds, etc) really accentuate your face and bring out all the warm beauty that is in your hair and eye color. This goes on and on because all colors have nuance and the nuance in the tone matters. I challenge you to try this on yourself and have your girls pay attention as well. I have found it’s easier to get my tween to love an outfit that is flattering and appropriate when the color tones flatter her. She can “see” it more easily. Otherwise, she’s searching for the wow and that usually ends with something less flattering because she doesn’t always see the color may be making it feel wrong. She sees it as it being “too long” or “not cool”. BAHHH.
At the end of the day, us moms just want to instill confidence and a positive sense of self in our girls. Helping them understand HOW to dress plays a huge part in that. At QUADSis, our greatest hope is that we have and will continue to create shoes that bring out strength and confidence and allow them to be themselves in an age-appropriate way. We would love to become part of your tween/teen girl’s fashion story.