I took my 14 year old daughter clothes shopping this past weekend and I survived. So did she. I’m thinking about having Survivor t-shirts made.
Excuse me while I date myself, but back when I was in high school we wore over-sized shirts, unintentionally baggy jeans (I blame Z Cavaricci), rompers and Units, if you were lucky. We covered up (as much as we possibly could have) and that meant tucking your pinch rolled jeans into your slouch socks that sat heavy on the rim of your Reebok velcro high tops. I would give my right arm to have an Aca Joe or old school Banana Republic look come back in style. You know what I mean, the Banana Republic that primary sold safari clothes and t-shirts with safari scenes on them. Let’s not forget those khaki cargo shorts that went to the mid thigh, if not longer.
Back to the scene at hand: I just wanted to go to the mall and drop off my daughter with her friends at Center Stage. I would then grab her school clothes while she and her friends recorded a karaoke version of Debbie Gibson’s “Only In My Dreams”. Nod your head if you know what I’m talking about.
If you don’t have a teenager yet, please let me fill you in. It was a daunting task to find a shirt that hits below the waist and jeans that go above the booty. Looking for basic Keds? Those puppies aren’t available anymore and if you special order them, they certainly cost more than the $19.99 price tag from our days. Consider it down right impossible to find shorts long enough to pass as true shorts and not denim underwear. I make our daughter wear a tank top under any shirt that will expose skin between what’s being worn on top and what’s being worn on bottom. Well, even the tank tops are too short these days. Don’t even get me started on lingerie targeted towards our teens and preteens! I won’t even get started on bikinis, we’d be here all night. The first day of dressing out in the locker room for high school sports our daughter got in the car and loudly proclaimed, “I’m not going to survive high school. All there was in the locker room was thongs and sports bras in my face.” THONGS! Oh heaven help me.
Our teenager wasn’t the problem during clothes shopping, she knows the expectations we have in our home when it comes to covering up what should be covered up. The problem is the extremely low standards of modesty and class that society has somehow imposed on us.
Remember when seeing someones butt crack was gross and prompted plummer jokes? Let’s go back to that.
Our daughter jokingly calls me Modest Mom and Safety Parent. I earned Modest Mom because I absolutely refuse to cave to the new norm of letting it all hang out, exposing way too much skin, or mistaking trashy for classy. I got the Safety Parent badge mostly due to my no sun obsession. My family is so pale that you can almost see through us. A minute in the sun and my kids are crispy and as red as stop sign. Ever since the baby was old enough to get in the pool, stock on sunscreen has sky rocketed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a helicopter parent. All of our children dress themselves everyday and choose what they wear. Most of the time they leave the house looking like Punky Bruster (you youngsters will need to Google her), but as long as it’s modest, we don’t care if it matches.
We let them express themselves in their dress. We let them fall and we help them back up. We let them fail and we encourage them to try again. However, we do not and will not let them fall prey to fashions new trend of less is more. It’s taken a lot of convincing and hours of conversation to help our teenage daughter understand that men no longer view her as a child and even though we are very open about the changes in her body, those changes mean that she can no longer carry herself the way she did when she was considered a child.
As moms , or really just as adults, it is our responsibility to set the example and raise the bar for the generations that are following us. We really can’t afford to let them down. We must instill in them modest behavior and dress. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the way we dress and present ourselves gives people an idea of how they think they can treat us. Does that make sense? A trashy outfit, baring way too much screams a need for attention, negative or positive. I don’t want that for our children and sadly these days this is what society is actually selling to our children. They are selling them disrespect. At some point we flipped from being ashamed to bare our bodies, to being embarrassed to be modest. There’s something twisted about that.
We try to instill in our children that the way you act and dress should bring a person’s focus to your heart, not your body parts.
I think it’s time to take our kids back and let them be kids. We don’t have to roll over and just accept that this is the way it is now. We should actually refuse to do just that. Let’s teach that it’s okay and prefered to cover up. Let’s set an example of class and modesty. Let’s allow them to leave the make-up in the drawers and be bare faced beautiful little children.
Much talk among my mom friends and the sad realization that society is sucking our kids in has made me want to work toward opening a trending but modest clothing store where moms can take their kids and shop freely without worry of inappropriate clothing. Once it’s open make sure you head to the back of the store, there will be a vintage section selling nothing but Banana Republic safari shirts and Units rompers. Oh and there will be no need for those survivor t-shirts because shopping with your teen will be fun and safe again. That’s my dream anyway.