The Great Wardrobe Debate
In the past I might have mentioned how the husband and I are pretty strict on what kinds of clothes Bebe can wear. When she was little it was the debate of too much “pink” in her wardrobe. “Spice it up” the hubby suggested and so I did with purples, denim, blues, and complimentary colors that didn’t scream Pepto Bismal.
I’ve always tried to respect that my husband doesn’t want his 11-year-old daughter dressing older than her age or wearing clothes that might be considered questionable. At first I thought he was nuts; does he not understand women’s fashion? Clearly he has not walked around in the girls section of a department store… EVER. And so at first I balked at some of the suggestions he had but then I started watching other girls, what they were wearing and how they looked. And it became clear to me that my husband didn’t want to suffocate her individual style, he just wanted to help her maintain some dignity in the way she looked. I don’t agree with the fashion styles for girls today and I’m often looked at like I have two heads and purple glowing eyes.
The issue we’re having today is not from other parents but from Bebe herself. I was always able to dodge the wardrobe issue with her by explaining that seeing your belly button when you raise your arms meant the shirt didn’t fit anymore. Then they started making shirts that purposely exposed her belly button. When skirts were what her dad and I considered too short (do they make a skirt or dress that rests at the knee anymore?), I would explain that when she bent over, people would see her bottom and being that she was younger and didn’t understand fashion just yet, she quickly agreed that no one needed to see her panties.
Unfortunately, now she’s a tween and she is starting to “get” fashion. She sees what her favorite television and movie stars are wearing and she wants to mimick that. What she doesn’t understand is that we still say "no."
This year we’re battling the wardrobe issue with layering and accessorizing. Dad and I still get to keep our rules and she gets to try out her developing sense of style. Shirts that are too short or sit too low (Really? Cleavage on an 11-year-old is just not fashionable!) with layering a longer shirt, like a camisole or tank top, underneath. Skirts that are too short are either not worn at all (we’re not budging on this one) or they are worn with leggings. The only way she gets around the skirt rule is to wear skorts and sometimes she even dresses those up with leggings.
I don’t consider myself a fashionista (jeans and t-shirts here) but I’m clearly raising one. She likes to express herself and her dad and I definitely don’t want to crush her creativity but we’re learning that the older she gets, the harder it may be to enforce our rules. I don’t want her to rebel completely so I try to find ways to compromise with her and I also buffer the dad end of it by taking daddy dearest through the girls section when we shop. He hates it there and is learning to let me take the lead. As she goes from tween to teen, I think the wardrobe debate will have to be something we address every year.
Do you have any rules about what your daughter is allowed to wear? Are you giving into the fashion of today or trying to hold onto some control? I’d love to know what your experiences are and how you’re handling your own great wardrobe debate!