Posted by Barbara F. Meltz March 5, 2010 06:00 AM
My 16-year-old daughter wears jeans and large, bulky sweatshirts to school every day (as do most of her friends). Her father thinks she looks like a boy and should dress more fashionably in order to "fit in." I think that day will come on its own and she should be able to dress in what's comfortable to her. Am I off base? Thanks.
From: Sox Mom, Sudbury
From: Sox Mom, Sudbury
Sox Mom, you are so NOT off base.
There are so many reasons why some girls prefer the baggy look. One of them is that their bodies are changing almost on a daily basis. They look in the mirror at night, wake up in the morning and look in the mirror again and see a different looking person. Sometimes that's imagined, but sometimes it's very real. The baggy look is very forgiving -- a way for them not to face the changes which can make them feel a range of emotions, from, "I'm so ugly!" to, "I'm not ready to grow up!" I am sympathetic; the baggy look can be frustrating to parents (just try to take this girl shopping to find "something new"!) on so many levels.
A girl's body image is formed in many ways (the media; peers' comments and attitudes, parental attitudes about weight), many of them discussed in my post yesterday and in some insightful readers' comments. And by the way, this isn't limited to girls; boys have issues with body image, too.
My advice really is to stop talking about what she wears; it's likely only making her feel worse. But I'm not saying you should stop talking to her about how she feels about her body, or how you -- mom & dad -- felt about your bodies as you were going through your teen years. There's a wealth of material available on this subject (check out Sharon Lamb's & Lyn Mikel Brown's writings. Including a column I've written that I hope my producer will be able to find and offer here!!
Keep in mind also that some girls never develop an interest in clothes and, I should add, grow up to be perfectly happy human beings. And some develop a precocious interest in clothes that never goes away. Honestly, I'd rather have your problem!
You mention that her dad wonders that if she had better clothes sense, she might have more friends. So here's a thought on that: is this perceived lack of friends her issue or her dad's? Is it possible she has friends, just ones who are equally unstylish? If she's not unhappy with her wardrobe, her body or her friends, dad needs to back off big time. If she is unhappy and the clothing is one symptom of that unhappiness, then I suggest getting professional help.
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