Appropriate Teen Attire

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Appropriate Teen Attire

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My teen age daughter dresses in clothes that make her look too mature, and, I am embarrassed to say, a little too sexy. What do I do?

Before the school year ended, I had the opportunity to attend a high school prom. While some girls where dressed in traditional taffeta, many girls wore sleek, stylish and, yes, sexy dresses. Unfortunately, these adolescents looked mature beyond their years. These intelligent teens were able to push the limits of the school’s sensible dress code with heels that were too high, dresses that were too tight, and makeup that was too sophisticated.

Today’s teens live in a fast paced society and receive mixed media messages regarding acceptable attire. Yes, one can find appropriately dressed girls on the Disney channel, but these young starlets and their ultra‐thin model friends are frequently photographed in skin tight and skin baring clothes as they attend Hollywood red carpet events.

Today’s parent may find it truly difficult to influence their adolescent’s attire. No matter how your daughter dresses, a conversation about clothing trends is a great way to bond. Talk about the latest fashions and what was popular in your teenage years. Get out your senior yearbook and show off the styles of your youth‐ no matter how embarrassing. End the conversation on a positive note and reflect upon what you have learned before approaching this more serious
subject of clothing that is too sexy.

Clothing is often the way in which a teen will identify with their peers. In fact, most teen girls dress to be part of the group and not to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, appearances project preconceived notions. Many, especially teen boys, will judge a book by its cover. Have your teenager look in the mirror and ask what her style says about her personality.

Talk about how one can look fresh and hip without being overly provocative. If you run into resistance despite your sensible approach, remember that you are the parent. It is okay to “forbid” your daughter from wearing certain clothes. This conversation can, however, be accomplished in a positive fashion. Let your teen know it is okay to disagree but also work toward finding an acceptable middle ground. Then engage in some retail therapy and go shopping!!

Have your daughter try on lots of clothes and assist with choosing appropriate styles. If a top shows too much skin, suggest your trendy teen layer her outfit. If a dress is too short, ask your daughter to try it on with leggings or jeans. Be creative, have lunch, and buy her at least one new outfit. This shows your commitment to promoting a positive image.

Fashion has replaced sensibility, and young girls are exposed to trendy style-setting celebrities long before they hit the teenage years. It is truly difficult for today’s parent to educate their impressionable daughters in today’s multi-media environment. Voice your concerns but also listen before taking action.


1 Comment

Kim G.

January 28, 2012at 12:11 pm

Ah, the age old question! Every daughter undoubtedly went through a similar issue with her mother, who went through it with her mother, etc.

Clothing is a form of expression and can be a form of rebellion. It can also simply be a way to test the limits of what’s acceptable or a way to “try on” another personality. For those who cross the bounds into unacceptable, as determined by the parent, your suggestions are fantastic. I especially like asking a daughter what her reflection might say about her. Opening a dialogue is the perfect start to creating a resolution and forcing a teen into an adult’s idea of “proper” would most likely not help. Shopping together and starting a conversation are wonderful advice. Although parents may not always approve of teen’s attire, but they should stay flexible… within the limits each parent clearly sets for their daughter.

Great article and fantastic advice!

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