Monday, 1 October 2012

Image Issues

I used to be streetwise, many years ago, but then I changed into an embarrassing mother of an almost teenager and now I'm uncool. Thing is I still feel young and streetwise and a little bit cool. I got dressed up on Saturday into what I'd class as trendy clothes and tried to make myself look cool so as not to embarrass Amy. But she didn't mention my efforts. What she did mention however, was that she thinks she has a fat tummy (which she doesn't) and there's no way she's going to wear her denim jacket in public unless it's fastened to hide said fat tummy. I found this quite upsetting. I'm not naive enough to think kids of Amy's age aren't self conscious but the fact that when she wears jeans and a t'shirt, she does actually look very attractive. She's very tall for her age and would easily pass for a 16 year old but I try my best to buy her clothes suitable for her age range. Ironically, she isn't streetwise like I was at her age, but she is trendy and keeps up with all the latest pop singers, though I wouldn't say she was into fashion as much as the next 12/13 year old girl might be.

We went to the Metro Centre in Gateshead which is a huge shopping mall, far too big and bustling for the likes of a country bumpkin like me. I know anything goes in the fashion world these days but some of the clothes worn (or not, in most cases) by young girls were enough to make your eyes water. We buy lots of Amy's clothes in New Look, a rather trendy but reasonably priced fashion shop, and she managed to pick out some nice things. But she tried one dress on that although looked very nice on the hanger, looked absolutely awful on her. If she'd stood on a street corner in a red light district, she wouldn't have looked out of place. I ordered her to take it off immediately and just said it didn't suit. I don't want to be an uncool mum who won't let her teenage daughter choose her own clothes or wear the hottest trends, but some clothes on these rails are just simply inappropriate for a child of Amy's age. I'd rather be the embarrassing country bumpkin mum who wouldn't know cool if she put her head in a freezer than spend my money on tarty clothes and have my daughter walking round looking like a trollop.

My blogging friend, Vegemitevix, has a daughter the same age and recently wrote about a similar subject concerning emotional issues in teens.

39 comments:

  1. I so agree. As a teacher (secondary) I find some of the clothes the kids wear on none-uniform days very unsettling. Like you said, you want your child to look 'trendy' but you don't want (and I imagine this is especially the case with girls) them to look considerably older than their age. Sadly, it can attract the wrong type of attention. I've seen 13 year olds with false lashes/ tan/ skimpy clothes who would readily pass as first year university students- I find it unnerving. I think you seem to have struck the right balance.

    PS- totally agree with the metrocentre! I have a handful of shops I visit and just shuffle between them as quickly as possible then get out! Found it saddening that there are so many shops yet the Waterstones had to shut due to lack of business.Rx

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    1. False eyelashes?!! Blimey, think I need to come out from the arc, lol.

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  2. So far I've been really lucky with my girls, my oldest is sixteen and even at that age she doesn't really go for the trollop a la street look. But some of the clothes even very young girls wear are horrifying. I'll never forget when I first arrived here and saw a young five year old girl wearing fishnet stockings, boob tube, and tiny mini skirt with heels and big earrings. I think she even had makeup on. It was awful!! Stick to your guns and join me in the un-trendy but still very cool Mums set! Vix NB/Thanks so much for linking to my post. Us Mums of tweens/teens have to stick together.

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    1. Never?! I'm a prude. I would have had to look away if I'd seen that. Surprised social services don't get involved with that sort of thing - they interfere in everything else.

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  3. I can totally relate to this Kathryn. When Kevin and I go out on Friday or a Saturday night, the number of young girls that we see, dressed in usually nothing more than a belt(that's a term used to describe the shortness of their dresses) and high heels that they can't walk in. Their faces are caked in make-up and the false lashes far too OTT. I'd never dream of going out in some of the outfits they wear. I do however like to look nice and make an effort, but some of these girls just look like complete tramps.x

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    1. It often makes me wonder if they look at themselves in the mirror and if anyone actually tells them how ridiculous they look!

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  4. I don't own a girl, but I have to say like Vegemite Vix, when I first arrived in the UK, I was really shocked at the way some girls dress here. It's frightening to me.

    I know I worry every time we see a music video or some advertisements that my 3 year old boy is getting the wrong idea about girls already.

    I don't think girls should be in crinoline frocks locked out of sight but some of the fashions are just scary.

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    1. Don't get me started on music videos. Amy downloads them on her iPad and some I've had to ask her to delete because they're just disgusting.

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  5. I so agree with you. There is too much pressure on kids and teenagers to conform to be stick-thin or wear inappropriate outfits.It seems that childhood is very short indeed these days and even 5-year olds are parading about with slogans like SEXY on their t-shirts. You do what you feel is right for Amy.

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    1. Definitely. I don't want to keep Amy looking ridiculously young, but I don't want to encourage her to wear inappropriate clothes either. It's very difficult at this age! And those t'shirts are absolutely awful. I went to a family 40th birthday party once and one girl who was about 7 or 8 had a t'shirt on (I kid you not) it said, "Who wants this bitch?" She was the talk of the room. It was really awful and I felt so sorry for her. At that age, she doesn't have the capability of choosing appropriate clothes for herself so that must have been bought by a parent or whoever - but why would a parent want to put their young daughter in a t'shirt like that? Unbelievable.

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  6. As a wearer of hot pants, very short & very tight dresses and micro mini skirts on nights out...
    ...I completely agree with you!

    I know the kind of attention that girls get from getting their legs out (or cleavage for those lucky enough to have it!) and I think a girl should be at least 16 before wearing those sorts of clothes. I don't recall being much of a skirt wearer when it came to school but I certainly used to find the tightest school trousers to cup my bum! But that was when I was about 15-16.

    I think you are doing the right thing to encourage your daughter to dress to suit her age. She can still be trendy without being tarty. Perhaps you should buy a magazine for her age group and point out some of the more (shall we say) conservative outfits and try to buy her something similar?

    I'm sure you are still as cool as a cucumber!!!

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    1. Emma, I remember the mini skirts and skin tight dresses - oh them were the days, sigh - Now I have a magnificent cleavage and lots of curves. Another sigh!

      Seriously though, I agree, 16 is a more appropriate age for these types of outfits.

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  7. So agree with you. I have an 18 year old and a 13 year old daughter and I despair when trying to find clothes for the 13 year old. Elder sister sorts herself out now thankfully.

    I wander into places like New Look and immediately feel that I am being judged or laughed at *what the hell is that lard arse middle aged woman doing in here". And then stuff is short and arse exposing or low cut and boob skimming.

    Or if i go to M and S Ellie says "I am not going to be seen dead in any of this".

    I am not unreasonable when it comes them making their own style statements but I do refuse to allow that statement to say "tramp".

    PS I bet you look fab.

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    1. I think it's a thing with 13 year olds! It's a very difficult age to buy clothes for isn't it. I don't tend to buy Amy's clothes anymore unless she's with me because you can guarantee anything I buy is wrong!

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  8. I think you're absolutely right! Some parents allow their teenage daughters to walk round looking like hookers and in my opinion that is just inviting trouble.

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    1. It is inviting trouble. We live in a world where men in particular aren't as shy about approaching young girls anymore. I think it's a very line between what we should wear and what we should feel we should be able to wear. For example, I wouldn't walk out the door in a boob tube because I'd look ridiculous. I would let Amy wear one if we were on holiday somewhere hot, but definitely not in town.

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  9. we have to teach our kids....they get the same screwed up message on what beautiful is....and if we are not teaching them the world surely is...

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    1. Absolutely, Brian. It's our job to teach our kids what's appropriate and what's not. The 70's were such a carefree decade weren't they (maybe you don't remember them!) but there's something different about this era in my opinion.

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  10. My sentiments entirely! It shocks and saddens me to see children (Cos that's what they are) dressed in such adult tarty clothes. I have a daughter the same age and would like her to remain a child for as long as possible.

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    1. Children are not adults and it's wrong to dress them in such clothing. I get called a fuddy-duddy and an old fashioned saddo, but I'm not bothered. I'm the same, I'd like Amy to remain a child and at 12 going on 13, that's exactly what she is.

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  11. My daughter isn't quite 4 yet but I'm with you on this all the way. I'm taking notes for future years. xx

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    1. Taking notes now is a very good idea!! Goodness knows what fashion will be like when you're daughter is a teenager!

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  12. I think we're just coming into this stage with Liv, she's 10 going on 16. Noticing what her friends are wearing and beginning to want to throw out clothes i get for her. WE're not well off so a lot of the time i get 2nd hand clothes from friends in bulk. I don't always know whats in them but i weed out the worst offending items before she comes home.
    Recently she had a clear out and left herself with very few suitable clothes for the winter, and very few practical clothes. I'm trying to instil some snese into her regarding her logic of clothes. She doesn't really feel the cold so will go outside in shorts and a t-shirt in the winter, she refuses to wear a jumper and doesn't consider that just because it may not be raining now it doens't mean it won't be later. She'll wear desert style boots with shorts (i admit i did this too) and if cold she'll add black tights to the equasion.
    I just wish that shops and fashion designers would stop encouraging our children to grow up so fast. I remember playing with barbie and dolls until i was 14, now they stop this around 10 as its not "cool"

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    1. They want to grow up so quickly don't they. We can't do right for doing wrong half the time - trying to hold them back so they don't get into stuff they can't handle, whilst trying to give them independence so they can learn about the outside world. It's not surprising I get headaches!!

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  13. This is one of the many reasons why I support the no more page 3 campaign. It's just one of the many ways that girls and women are sold an unrealistic idea of beauty.

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    1. Hmmm, I'm not going to support the page 3 campaign personally because I don't mind The Sun's topless models, but I do know what you are saying. I think the majority of an unrealistic idea of beauty comes from the trashy celeb magazines rather than page 3.

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  14. But she isn't going to stand on a street corner. It very much depends on wat they team the clothes up with and how they are worn. A short denim skirt with very thick tights and flat boots. Looks lovely and trendy. A short denim skirt with a pair of shoes might be less appropriate. She is at an age now where if you dictate to her what she can't wear you'll spend a lot of time arguing. Better to point out how things might be worn or when they don't suit her body type then explain how the waist band is cut for a different shape and ten show her something that would suit her shape more. She'll start to learn looking nice and appropriate rather than trying to rally against a 'no'. When you're battling the big gun media and school peers (or jail bait) you won't win in a head on battle, you're going to have to get clever. Good luck.

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    1. No, she isn't going to stand on a street corner. But explaining to a neuro-typical child is very, very different than explaining to a child with autism. She is vulnerable, much more than your regular 12/13 girl is. With respect, I've been dealing with this for a long time now and she'd argue whatever my decision was. She needs more guidance than an average child and I'm her advocate, therefore the one to give her that guidance.

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  15. Oh, CJ, I don't disagree with you on this! Lots of the fashions are distasteful if not downright disgusting. I still for the life of me cannot understand why young men want to walk around with their jeans down around their ankles with their underwear - and their butt crack - exposed for all the world to see. I, for one, do NOT want to see that. :(

    However, that's not to say that there are many very tasteful things out there. Being petite, I don't like to shop in the actual petite department of stores because the items tend to be for someone older than me, and so I have begun shopping in the junior department, and have had lots of luck there because the sizes tend to fit me just as well as actual petite clothing and the styles I choose are much more to my personal liking. And I've gotten lots of compliments on the outfits I've put together; even my own mother has told me that she thinks I look nice (which is saying a lot, trust me)!

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    1. Oh god, that drives me nuts!!! Do they think they look cool? Honestly. They really don't know what that actually means - it was invented (allegedly) by gay male inmates as a sign that they fancied a co-inmate. I reckon most of the boys who wear their jeans like this would be mortified if they realised this!!

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  16. It really upsets and annoys me when I see children, especially girls this applies to doesn't it, dressed inappropriately for their age. Why can't mothers let their daughters be children, young girls, instead of dressing them way over their age. Maybe it's the mother's who can't get away with the younger styles living out their daydreams? Maybe they are all in just too much of a hurry for their children to be grown? Maybe it's down to peer pressure then daughter on mother pressure? Bad taste or no taste at all?
    Whatever it is, you are right to stick to your guns and hopefully your daughter will create her own, appropriate, style?

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    1. I think you're probably right there - a lot of these young girls have mums who dress like mutton. Probably wishing they could look as good in skimpy clothes at their age.

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  17. I think most of the store buyers need to be educated! Awful stuff in the stores these days....cheap looking.
    hughugs

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    1. There is a lot of cheap looking stuff in our stores, too, but I don't know whether that's just a cost cutting thing. So many of our clothes aren't British now unless we go in posh designer shops which I'm not buying from while Amy's still growing!

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  18. First time visitor to your blog, so hi. I totally agree, I was at the park with my kids the other day when I noticed the teens all seemed to be dressed like something out of an R & B music video. I don't think they were aware of the message they were sending to the teenage boys who were pushing them on the swings with their tongues hanging out !

    Sicily is only 16 months but I can say with certainty that I'd rather be uncool than let her dress like that when she is 12, end off.

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    1. Hi Purplemum, welcome to Crystal Jigsaw and thanks for stopping by.

      That's the problem isn't it. They don't understand the message they're giving and that's another reason why we have to be there to help them.

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  19. I got some shorts from one of those shops, which of course now don't fit because I've... well, developed in that area, and even back them were far too short. My mum generally lets me buy whatever I want clothes-wise (but will always offer her honest opinion), and even she was hesitant. One of the first things she said was that I wasn't to be wearing those at school. My cousin, born and raised in England, unlike me who only did the first half of thay, was gaping. I didn't wear them to normal school, only when I went there for exams, hence it doesn't count as school. In the bathrooms, some girls were asking whether my father allows me to dress like that. So yeah, in a country that is freezing all year round, skimpy clothing is absurd. In Greece,where for a least three months we bake, such clothing is excused. But those girls had no right to say what they said. Especially when they are sluttier than me in their behaviour (I'm sure of it). Clothes don't make the person.

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    1. I imagine I'll do the same with Amy when she's older - offer the honest opinion. I let her choose most of her own clothes now but sometimes it's just not the right item, if you know what I mean!

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  20. Luckily my 7 year old will still agree to most things I suggest, so I have a few years to go yet... So difficult though isn't it! We have 6th form students at my children's school and some of the clothes they wear are unbelievable. Another mother couldn't believe their parents let them out dressed like this, Ășntil I pointed out they probably got changed when they got round the corner... Because I didn't do anything like that, oh no... :D

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