Does your family or school have any specific rules when it comes to clothing and modesty? If you're a mom of young girls, this is a must-see post. Read on for three helpful tips for teaching your daughter how to be modest with her clothing choices.
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I realized the other day that when I look at my daughter, I no longer think, "Wow...she's getting so big." I used to fawn over toddler photos that would pop up on my screensaver, looking back to when she was younger. But when I look at my daughter now, I think, "Wow...she's growing into an amazing young lady." My girls have changed and now I find myself looking forward more and more.
Every day, her personality shifts slightly as she grows into...herself. My daughter’s senses of both style and humor have surely blossomed and sharpened in the past few years. I am awed by the determination and will she has to succeed [much more than I ever had at her tender age]. I continue to realize how many things I want to teach both my daughters before they head out into the great big world.
Cue our parenting discussion of modesty for today...
I admit, I've been dreading going back-to-school shopping this month with my kids. Like most "tween-age" girls, my daughters are exposed to high-fashion styles for teens and adults that are not always appropriate for kids their age. I realize that friends, pop stars, and teen idols will soon have a stronger influence on my girls' shopping choices than I would prefer. All this to say that I've been struggling with searching for clothing options that make both my girls -- and me -- happy.
So, I've been asking other parents, "Where does your daughter shop?"
After multiple chats with friends, I realized that the question is not: "Where do you find modest tween girls' clothing that is age-appropriate?" The better question to ask is:
How do you build self-confidence and honor individual expression and teach your daughter modesty while getting your back-to-school shopping done?
I soon realized that I needed to stop myopically looking for the perfect store that could protectively do all this for them, and instead adjust my search outward -- to look forward -- to give my girls the opportunity to learn how to make good shopping decisions... all on their own.
Below are three tips I found helpful when shopping and teaching my daughters how to be modest with their clothing choices.
1. Hard-and-fast rules often fail. If this is going to be a learning experience, you need to leave room -- a LOT of room -- for discussion. So bring your wallet, but also bring your patience and be ready to take a deep, cleansing breath when she pulls something off the rack that makes you purse your lips till they turn white. Let her try it on and decide for herself that it's inappropriately tight or too revealing. Won't YOU be the proud parent when she comes to that conclusion all on her own.
2. Keep the conversations focused on the clothes, rather than on her body. It's hard to do sometimes, but try not to discuss the clothes in terms of her body parts. We want our daughters to exude self-confidence, not shrink in shame or find faults with their bodies. So before you comment, think of framing the conversation using phrases like: “where that hemline falls on you,” “how that seam seems stretched right here,” and “how in the back the shirt/skirt is more see-through than you can probably tell from the front.”
3. Use questions (lots and lots of questions) to empower her to make her own sound choices. Just last week, my girls and I headed to Justice to do our fall back-to-school shopping. Here are a few examples of empowering questions I asked my girls:
- When you sit pretzel style, are those jeans still comfy or do they feel too tight?
- Is that shirt long enough for when you're on the monkey bars? Does your tummy show if you raise your hands in the air?
- Does that skirt have shorts built into it so you can still play on the swings and do sit-ups in gym class without anything showing?
- Can you remind me what your school's rule is for tank tops again -- is it that the straps have to be at least 2 inches across on top to wear them without a shirt over the top?
Now, I need to pause here to let you know this wasn't just your average shopping trip. The retail store Justice invited us to tour their headquarters so my girls and I could learn about their new fall line and then go on an exclusive back-to-school shopping trip.
To be perfectly honest, I was hesitant when they contacted me about this opportunity. My girls have always loved to shop at Justice, but me... not so much. [Eek!] I said it. Frankly, I'd found the store to be overwhelming at times: the styles, the pricing, the glitter... So. Much. Glitter. But when they told me they were making major changes to their store this fall, my curiosity was peaked.
I learned that one of their biggest (and parent-requested) updates is that Justice now offers styles for every girl every day. In other words, it's no longer just glitz, glam, and glitter. Whether your daughter feels like being a girly-girl, a tomboy, or a mega-athlete, Justice has her covered. The store now also offers coordinating separates so girls can mix and match pieces to create their own unique styles. Check out some of the store-wide changes on the new Justice site or in the latest catazine. (And if you like to shop online, there are now FREE in-store returns, too.)
As a parent, being able to chat with the Justice clothing designers was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. I learned that their designers take shopping trips across the globe studying adult fashion and seeking inspiration for their own lines. They come back to their teams and find creative ways to transform these adult trends into tween-friendly styles.
The design team focuses on keeping the clothing lines stylish (so girls are happy), but also modest (so mom is happy, too).
An example from their latest line is the Button-Front Knit Denim Skirt in their back-to-school collection. Super-short button skirts have been trending this season. Justice modified this style to be bit more tween-friendly: They lengthened the skirt and gave it a tad more flare; they also added built-in shorts for modesty and comfort. Perfect for my active lady!
If you check out Justice styles, you'll also notice that their designers focus on keeping girls playful. You'll find all of their traditional skirts offer built-in shorts, so girls can feel confident doing cartwheels in the yard or swinging on the jungle gym. You'll also find their graphic t-shirts to be the perfect length -- even while hanging from the monkey bars and plain-old-fashioned goofin' around.
Justice’s new line is not only diverse and tween-friendly, but also übersoft. The t-shirts, the leggings, the sweatshirts, even the denim flare dresses…they’re all so very soft. One of my ladies is super sensitive to different types of material, so she was jazzed by their cozy tag-free pieces. I absolutely love that the back-to-school outfits they picked out while shopping at Justice will make them feel good -- both inside and out.
What I enjoyed most while touring the Justice headquarters was learning how much the individual people at Justice care about our daughters. When talking about their design process, they often endearingly referred to their customers as “our girls,” which made me smile. It’s nice to know that while we parents go through this transition to the tween years, there are people watching out for our girls' best interests as they make the leap from shopping with us in the children’s section to making independent shopping choices all on their own.
So let's get back to our original chat, shall we?
I know we all have different perceptions of what modesty means. Does your family or school have any specific rules when it comes to clothing and modesty? Let's chat in the comments.
I'd love to hear your input and ideas: How we can continue to build self-confidence, to foster individuality, and to teach our daughters modesty? In a world where our girls are constantly being pushed to grow up too quickly, this is a topic that parents need to discuss -- over and over again. I realize this is just the first of many more shopping quandaries to come!
P.S. Teaching modesty is but one of the many lessons I want to teach my girls. Below are a few book recommendations I've received from friends on empowering girls (affiliate links below). What titles would you add to the list?
- Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World
- Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
- The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
- Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood
- A Smart Girl's Guide: Drama, Rumors & Secrets: Staying True to Yourself in Changing Times
Thanks again to the Justice crew for such an insightful learning (and shopping!) experience. Find deals and style inspiration for your tween by following Justice on your favorite social network: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
Disclosure of Material Connection:This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”