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Teens and Their Clothes

Dealing with Fashion Fall-outs
Bare midriffs... belly piercing... blue hair. When you're fifteen, appearance isn't just about how you look. It's who you are. But moms worry about their daughters wearing trendy, body-revealing attire. When it comes to your daughter's clothes, where do you draw the line?

We asked three mother-daughter duos to share their different perspectives on fashion.

Kathy and Caitlin
Kathy (Mom) & Caitlin (age 16)

Caitlin: I like tighter clothes but my mom likes to get them a couple of sizes too big.

Kathy: I wouldn't say that!

Caitlin: But usually when I go to school I get to wear what I want. A couple of times in the winter, though, I want to sport sandals and socks and she doesn't like me doing that. But I put them in my bag and wear them anyway!

Kathy: Now I know! (laughs). I just think the sandals look stupid in the winter. The bare midriff was a bit of an issue this summer. I'd always tell her to pull her pants up.

Caitlin: It's just like if you reach up, your stomach will show. I'll just pull the pants up, no big deal.

Kathy: This issue is not high on the priority list, though. She certainly isn't dressing in an extreme way. I've found that insisting that she does anything always backfires. What works is picking out something I know she'll like but in a size larger.

Caitlin: That doesn't work. If I really, really like it I'll wear it. But most of the time I won't.

Toni and Mary
Toni (Mom) & Mary (age 13)

Mary: My Mom doesn't like really baggy pants. I guess she thinks they look too sloppy.

Toni: Bingo. She doesn't own a pair, though.

Mary: And I don't have the $60 to buy them myself! I might get my belly button pierced for my birthday. You have to be 14 to have it done because if you grow, it stretches out.

Toni: I don't think getting the belly button pierced will be the end of the world. But the tongue – that I object to. That's one thing she can do when she's older.

Mary: My mom does really well with this stuff. She's cool. I dyed my hair blue last summer. She bought the cream for me and my dad helped me with it.

Toni: She wanted to dye her hair but didn't know what color to pick. We both agreed on blue. I hated the green. She looked pretty with the blue.

Mary: If she said no to everything I wouldn't listen to her at all.

Toni: If she wears something I object to – if it's too low cut, I'll say button it up.

Mary: And I'll keep it buttoned.

Toni: I have no problem with the bare midriff because it's their way of expressing themselves. In fact I gave her a couple of tube tops that used to be mine when I was a kid. A kid her age isn't looking for trouble. It's just the fashion.

Joan and Kayla
Joan (Mom) & Kayla (age 15)

Kayla: I guess what we argue about most is the length of skirts, or how tight shirts are. Also sometimes she'll complain that I'm not dressing fancy enough.

Joan: I worry if she was to sit down, her skirt will hike up, and being old fashioned, I wonder what signal that sends. I have told Kayla that I trust her but you do set yourself up for people to be rude or harassing.

Kayla: I think that's not true because I don't take it to the extreme. The rest of my personality doesn't send a signal. Anything you wear sends a signal but I think the message about my clothes is positive.

Joan: Remember the great high-heel fight?

Kayla (laughing): Yeah! Once when I was working at her job I was wearing high heels and she got upset, like no, that's not appropriate here. And my hair – she likes it the way it is but I like to straighten it.

Joan: I feel like clothes and makeup don't transform your life. You transform your life.

Kayla: It doesn't make big changes, but your clothes can give you confidence to go out and improve your life.

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