How Do You Find Age-Appropriate Clothes for Girls?

Fashions for the elementary school set are becoming more and more adult. Do you have trouble finding clothes for your little girls?

Does it make you cringe when you see 13- or 14-year-olds wearing booty shorts and T-shirts that say things like “future trophy wife”? How about the fact that the same attire is now marketed toward girls half their age?

It’s becoming harder for parents of young girls, not to mention teenagers, to dress them in what was long considered age-appropriate clothing. The Chicago Tribune reported last week that sociologists and retail experts confirm that clothes for girls are becoming more sexualized and are designed to look more like their moms'. And the recession has only spurred the trend, the article says, since parents are more willing to spend money on their children’s clothes than their own, and retailers have caught on.

A blog on Baby Center titled, “Why do girls’ clothes get slutty at age 7?” garnered more than 150 comments from parents commiserating with the writer’s dismay and offering ideas for stores that carry more traditional clothes.

What do you think? Do current fashion trends for girls bother you? How do you approach shopping for school clothes for your daughters?

Heather September 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I have a 7 year old and completely agree with this article. How I approach it is with a firm, No, that's not appropriate for a girl your age.". That's usually followed with, " my friend has that." my response is that I'm not their mom, I'm yours and I say no. Pick out something else. I also set the perameters of what she can get before we go out. Such as, no short shorts, no shirts that have a deep V neck, etc.
Merrill Medansky September 03, 2012 at 01:57 PM
My three sons are now 24, 19 and 16, and somehow I survived. And while boys tend not to be as fashion conscious as girls, we still occasionally had "discussions" about what to buy. My position was that as long as I was paying the bills, I was making the decisions. To minimize the conflict, I often shopped without them and purchased enough variety so they felt they could exercise choice. It required a return trip to the stores, but it made our lives much easier.
Dr. Jennifer La Civita September 03, 2012 at 02:06 PM
I remember when my daughter, now 20, and I used to go clothes shopping when she was much younger. We are both fashion lovers and enjoy buying clothes! Yes, back then, shopping for appropriate clothes was a challenge - and sadly, still is. It is important that we serve as a good role model for our daughters - not only in character, but with our clothing choice as well. Avoiding some of the stores where nearly everything is inappropriate may be challenging, but well worth the effort. I always used a gentle approach towards her choice in clothes and encouraged her to choose what was "classic..and would not go out of style." Luckily, we never argued over her choices - though her choices were guided by me - she just did not always know it! I think the poor choices young girls make are when they are at a mall, with money to spend, with a bunch of their friends - in the giddiness and excitement of being together, they may tend to make a "group decision" and all buy something outlandish - then they come home, thinking you will love it - and of course want to wear it. It is challenging -and it should not be this way!
Marie September 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I think the title of the article might beg the question at what age is it ever appropriate to wear booty shorts and tank tops that show more than they cover? But I get what you're asking. There are plenty of places both locally and online to find modest clothes that cover a girl. I don't really buy the argument that stores don't sell these items. I think really, if we want to be honest about, it is that parents don't or won't buy these items because their children refuse to wear them. That's not a sourcing issue but a discipline issue I'll leave for another article. Think about it though, how many time this year alone in Dist. 95 have parents been presented slideshows on the dress code? Obviously it's an issue that the school seems to spend an awful lot of time on, and yet the problem remains. Last night some parents in the district and I discussed the endless dress code do's and don't's we've gotten so far this year, and a funny thing occurred: many of the parents expressed a desire (and a strong one at that) to have some sort of "uniform" for the district. A certain pair of shorts or a solid colored polo shirt. Neither of these have to be expensive (Walmart can source both for less than $10 total). No more arguments about what is appropriate or not at school. No more kids changing in the bathrooms, or having to leave work to bring a pair of sweatpants, and actually (for me anyway) less money spent on school clothes. Thoughts?
Carmen Londono September 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I don't understand why what a 13 year old wears should be a discussion among parent and child. I only look to see what color she prefers. End of discussion. I am in awe when I go to certain stores and there is a convoluted conversation between mother and child as to what she can and can not wear. My oldest now 17 dresses pretty conservative and is very fashionable. Her friends are always raving about her clothes style and hair. Bottom line, it starts with the parents. I feel like the second parents decided to befriend their children everything went a bit sideways.
Marie September 03, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Carmen I agree!
melanie Lewis September 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Well said! I agree! That's predatory. Shorts that's too short exposes kids. Kids don't mind themselves like adults. So adults have too. SAY NO to those RETAILERS!
PHYLLIS September 04, 2012 at 04:05 AM
I believe the problem is with society......they accept this type of behavior; of people having no respect for themselves and where they are; in public, at school, church, a funeral. Fortunately for me, my 3 daughters are adults now. I grew up in Libertyville and remember my mother being called because my sister's skirt did not touch the ground when she knelt down for the principal ! As I drive by in the morning and see the girls who are wearing the shorts "up their butt crack" that cannot possibly get any skimpier, I sincerely wonder what parent would let their daughter go to school like that? or why would the school allow it? (Until this article, I didn't know they were called "booty shorts".) I have never been a prude, but this really disgusts me. I had a friend tell me that a grown woman attended her Catholic church wearing those shorts and a low cut top. The priest should have evicted her! My friend also reported sitting behind a man with a T-shirt decorated on the back........of jungle animals all urinating! The adults are just as guilty as the kids. At least I don't see as many boys walking around with their undershorts showing out of pants that are falling down! I think that uniforms would be a wonderful solution for the schools.
Brian L. September 04, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I don't think you're totally out of line with the societal points, but it still rolls back onto parents. Society helps form it's citizens, but we still represent the society. What Carmen said above is a very strong point. These are your children and for certain things there shouldn't need to be discussion. We have too many people that have lost the balance between being a parent and being a friend. They seem to "let the inmates run the asylum."
David Greenberg September 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I've got an infant daughter - when the time comes, she's not going to be dressed like a Nun, but nor will she be dressed like a street walker. I'm fairly certain there will be some pretty good arguments about it - but that's what being a parent is all about. Teaching kids limits, responsibility, and consequences. As long as they're living in our house, my wife and I will have the final say - or at least we're going to try to have the final say. Teens can be crafty - but as I said - "consequences", so if they get crafty and we find out - well, there's consequences to be determined at a later date :-)
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duncan faber April 14, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Thank you! Someone who gets it. We have 3 little girls, and it drives me nuts that so much clothing that is sold is so inappropriate. Girls grow up fast enough as it is. Can't we just let them stay young? We found a site that sells beautiful, AGE APPROPRIATE clothing for girls. Here's the link, if anyone is interested. www.twirlygirlshop.com


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