“AREN’T YOU A BIT TOO YOUNG TO BE WEARING THAT?”
What’s appropriate and what’s too flashy or revealing for your teen when it comes to clothing? Nadhirah Othman takes on this prickly subject.
Guidelines for dressing your teen.
Some days when I walk around a shopping mall or pass by a hip cafe, I see a group of young girls hanging out and think to myself, “Wow, aren’t they a bit too young to be wearing those clothes?” Coming from a quite conservative family (or rather, a conservative mother and maternal grandparents), I remember not being able to wear any skirts or dresses that fell above my knees, let alone crop tops or deep V-neck shirts – I would been kicked out of the house! The thing with this generation is that everyone has become so much more vocal and expressive. And fashion? It’s a form of expression.
At their age, teens are looking for their identity. So, it’s okay to let them explore the way they want t to present themselves to the world. The tough part for parents, however, is the e influence of media and Instagram personalities (remember post-breakup
Miley Cyrus?), as well as their kid’s friends and surroundings. A lot of what’s available in stores can be quite skimpy and revealing, making it a bit difficult for you to shop for your teen. I believe everyone should be able to wear whatever they want – that is, when they’re mature enough to make those choices for themselves.
I’m not saying that you should wrap your daughters up with a blanket but with young girls, I feel it’s important to steer clear from showing any cleavage and bottoms that can get a bit ‘cheeky’ – so mini dresses or skirts, and hot pants, are probably not the best for going out. Besides that, opt for clothing that’s less formfitting. A-line skirts and skater dresses are usually more age-appropriate. It also depends on where they’re wearing those clothes. If your daughter has on a crop top or hot pants at home, there’s no harm there. If they’re going to the movies or a café with friends, it can attract unwanted attention.
If you‘re struggling with how your teen dresses, it’s important that you don’t body-shame her. Don’t say things like “you look like a tramp!” or “you’re a lady, so dress like one.” Try to say something like this instead: “I know you like wearing shorts but can you please wear something longer when we go out tomorrow?” It’s important to keep your cool while conversing with your daughter. Share with her your concerns when she dresses a certain way, and encourage or praise the outfits that you approve of. But ultimately, it’s important to note that you can’t control how she dresses when she becomes an adult. Personal style is called that for a reason – it isn’t yours.