This is an APB to all moms of little girls, and anyone who plans to be a mom in the future. There has been a generational EPIDEMIC and I need your help to stop it!!!
Whoa!! That might be my most dramatic writing yet!!!…But it got your attention didn’t it 🙂
In all seriousness ladies, I took a survey of some friends and asked if any of their mothers took the time to teach them how to dress. The results, NOT. A. SINGLE. ONE. SAID. YES. And that’s counting myself as a survey participant.
I’m not going to attempt to discern the reasoning behind this for any of them, but I will share my own personal experience.
My mom was a highly intelligent, incredibly accomplished woman. She had several degrees, a distinguished military career, spearheaded numerous charitable organizations, and was herself, quite the snazzy dresser. But she never took to time to give me any pointers, or tips on how to get dressed. Not in any form. Knowing the type of person my mother was, I recognize this was a simple oversight. She religiously planned every aspect of her life and to say that she was organized would be to grossly understate the facts. So why didn’t she “plan” a “how to” get dressed session with me, or organize a day out to give me any tips? It’s because she never thought about it, it was, as I said, an oversight. It wasn’t on her radar or on her extensive list of things that MUST be accomplished.
This seems to have been a common occurrence, at least among my piers.
We, as women, were taught what to do when the red wench emerges and haunts us until menopause (again, dramatic, but holy #&!! Wouldn’t you agree that it’s about as accurate a description as I can give to the onset of menarche?) We were taught table manners ( I hope), how to say please and thank you, but why is it such a common oversight, that most of us weren’t taught how to dress ourselves?
Self respect, strength of character and strength of spirit, are ALWAYS on the top of my list to begin any discussion with my girls. Having said that, It is my belief, that giving them guidance on how to dress themselves, is also an important hallmark in my journey as a mother raising daughters.
I don’t mean getting dressed as in, take your right leg put it in this hole, this button goes in the buttonhole, the zipper is on the left or right. I’m not even saying that our moms should have said, “ok honey, here’s how to have great style”. Great style is deeply personal, comes with life experiences, and is refined repeatedly over your lifetime. I’m referring to the most basic principles on how you SHOULD be getting dressed.
Stop reading now, if you think this is total bunk, but, don’t you think it IS absolutely imperative, that we arm our little girls with the most basic information, about how they present themselves to the world? We can yell girl power until we’re blue in the face. We can instill any, (insert here) female empowerment mantra, all day long. But, if they’re walking around with their breasts spilling unflatteringly out of their bras, while trying to be taken seriously on their first job interview, because mommy never told them they had to be fitted for a bra, at minimum every 6 months, then you are doing her a great disservice.
I slipped that one in there, but can you remember the last time you were fitted for a bra? If you can’t, haul it to the closet bra fit specialist. And I don’t mean at Victoria Secret, I mean to someone who has had extensive training on how to properly conduct a bra fitting. Usually in a specialty boutique or major department store.
Sitting down with your daughter while she’s young, to have a discussion, or twelve in my house, giving her some fundamental principles on getting dressed, is not teaching her to be shallow. It’s not teaching her to be materialistic. It is not about teaching her to focus only on the external. It’s about teaching her to take PRIDE in her appearance, in my book should always be a high priority on your “must do” list.
Your little princess going through puberty and has developed, shall we say, an ample posterior? Time to toss those My Little Pony panties, opt for seamless undies. Panytlines are not cool…at any age! Take the time explain, that if she is wearing white or light colors, she should be wearing nude,seamless underwear. PS, by nude, I mean, HER nude, not what the package calls nude. Can you imagine me in so called, “nude” underwear? I might as well wear neon pink and call it a day. It should be almost invisible. These are my personal favorites.
Period undies, versus everyday undies, simple, easy, do it.
Have her “buds” grown into full fledged “flowers?” Time to get a real, sized bra. I’m talking numerical band and alphabetical cup size. The fit will be better and more smoothing under her tops, especially t-shirts and keep in mind, this bra should have at least minimal padding to minimize “headlights” This is a modesty issue, you want her to feel as comfortable as possible, and not be conscious that she’s drawing attention to her changing body. Some girls may be able to get away with wearing a sports bra with padding. It just depends on their shape. Bra straps are not “cool.” I know this is controversial among some women, but it’s my personal opinion that undergarments are meant for, well… “underneath” your clothes. I like these for a great starter bra. There are some exceptions that can work, when done tastefully. But, teaching her the basic principle is probably a good idea for now, then leave the rest to her when she’s older. Same “rule” applies to nudes. When wearing a light or white shirt, only a nude bra should be worn. If she hits that teen angst age, wants to wear bright purple under her white band tee, just to spite you, that’s her business, you can rest easy knowing that it’s not lack of knowledge on her part, you’ve done your due diligence, she’s just pissed …usually for no reason, and she’s got to “express” herself somehow!
Show her how to properly launder and care for those undergarments.
Teach her the basics of how to dress for specific situations. This will be culturally specific, but it is important for her to learn how to dress appropriately in most situations, church, school, job interview etc. This is not to say that she has to conform to the “norm”, or be a cookie cutter idealistic form of what’s expected, or to give up her individuality, but, if she is going to church, maybe it’s not the best place for those jeggings, high top converse and crop top. After church… express all day long!
Have a chat with her about her body. This will depend on the age and stage of life she’s currently experiencing. For a younger girl, like my little one, it’s not the time to discuss what will flatter her figure and what won’t. But for an older teen, who may begin to be aware of certain physical attributes, that she may or may not like, this is the time to offer that advice. Before you go crucifying me for telling you that I’m encouraging you to “body shame” your daughter….that is the furthest thing from the truth. This is the time to SKILLFULLY assess how SHE is feeling about HER body. Don’t criticize her. Encourage her to love the skin she’s in. Let her tell you, IF she is self conscious about something. This is the time to offer guidance, to enable her to feel more comfortable in her own body and to begin to feel secure in expressing her feelings about it. It is about encouraging her to feel COMFORTABLE discussing her own body. Notice I said comfortable discussing, not complaining. This shouldn’t be you encouraging her to be negative about herself in any way, shape or form!! It’s her body, why can’t she discuss it if she wants to, without fear or shame? If my mom had this talk with me, I would have asked her.. “how do I draw less attention to my giant ta-tahs!” (They seemed giant back then when I was a skinny beanpole..I’ve grown into them and now they’re my secret weapons in crime fighting, well…at least against my husband!:) If she is happy with her body, then DO NOT make any suggestions that will make her feel self conscious. But if she has an area of her body that she wants to learn how to accentuate, or maybe draw less attention to, then give her some pointers on how to dress for that specific area of concern. If you have no clue, enlist the help of a professional. I will always offer an ongoing list of tips and tricks on how to dress to flatter your body. The point here is to be realistic for your situation. Acknowledge her feelings and help her to proceed accordingly. Believe me, if you take this seemingly small step to help her, she will be armed with more self confidence for life! And PS….when you look good, you feel good!!!! Plain, simple and oh so true! Imagine your little girl as a grown woman, feeling confident each and every time she walks out that door, I know that puts a smile on my face, doesn’t it do the same for you?
If there are more deeply rooted issues, as it relates to your daughter and her feelings about her body, then PLEASE, DO NOT ignore them and hope she will outgrow them. Just as I suggested before, enlist the help of a professional to help her better manage those feelings. A healthy body image is serious business!
Finally, but of the utmost importance, teach by your own example. Our kids, regardless of their ages, are ACUTELY aware, of just about everything we do. Your little girl, will consciously or subconsciously, emulate you. My mother may not have specifically told me what to wear or how to dress myself, but she was a very modest dresser, a trait that comes very naturally to me. Although, sometimes I may have my neckline plunge a tad lower than she’d like…told you, they’re my weapons 🙂 But I have a specific outfit that she wore, when I was a child, eternally etched into my memory. It was a pair of high waisted, light wash, bell bottom jeans, she wore with a white peasant blouse and a cognac brown saddle bag. I remember it like it was yesterday. Can you guess my absolute favorite era in fashion?…the 70’s!! And did you notice, jeans and a white shirt? My all time favorite combo!! Trust me, that’s no accident!
*** I am not a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. I do not have a degree in any sort of behavioral sciences. I am expressing my personal opinion, based on years of experience dressing women, hearing their complaints, and insecurities, most of which, date back to their childhood ***
This post was a bit more serious, but necessary, in my opinion….back to fun fashion shenanigans next Tuesday!!! Please share this with any #girlmoms that may find it helpful. Don’t forget to subscribe to be notified each time I have a new post. Please feel free to contact me or leave any comments or questions down below. I’ll respond as quickly as I can.