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Moms Talk Addresses Dress Code for Young Girls

Has the Abercrombie & Fitch world of beautiful (almost naked) people filtered down to the too young?

This week's Mom's Talk inquiry: How do I talk to my girl(s) about what to wear in public?

When you enter an Abercrombie & Fitch store you are bombarded with bigger than life photos of bare-chested young men and scantily clad young women, often together and touching in the same poster. It seems that the low-cut, the tight and the short have hit extremes and are the "IT" of teen fashion. A perfect petrie dish in which to observe this trend is at where many skirts barely cover the derriere, and strapless is the norm. But that is high school. 

It is not unusual for such trends to trickle down to the middle school-aged kids, who are starting to shop at trendier stores and view more cable television where the shocking is what sells, whether it's fashion, language or "reality" conduct. There is a dress code at the public middle school on Mercer Island, but enforcement in this area might require one more FTE (full time employee). The girls, who are ahead of the boys in this arena, drive this train. Boys are still wearing (and will continue for quite some time) t-shirts, basketball shorts, no-see-um sox and on high fashion days, jeans.

Some concerned  parents think the sexually suggestive has trickled down dangerously far, even to elementary-aged kids. Are kids at this age more aware of boy-girl relationships than ever before? Are they wearing suggestive outfits? Do you think it's due to media coverage like MTV? Reality shows? Even Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel seems to expose younger kids to sexuality.

Let us know what you think!

Michelle Bowers March 04, 2011 at 01:14 AM
Hi Diane: Completely true! I have no concerns about my 4th grade son ( a striped shirt is racy for him), but my 1st grade daughter is another story. She's recently informed me that she will not wear anything one might describe as "cute" (ie. anything from Carter's, mini Boden, or Hannah Andersson.) She will only don clothes she deems "big girlish." Naturally, I'm distraught. Big girlish, to me, looks like trash, especially on a 6 year old. For instance, today she's wearing skinny black jeans and a shirt from the store Justice (more trash) featuring a kitten, rhinestones, glitter and the word "trendy" written all over it. Yes, I blame Miley, Demi and all the rest of 'em. Maybe we should impose a school uniform at MI schools! Problem solved.
Annie Archer March 04, 2011 at 04:38 PM
It is sometimes shocking to see what young girls are wearing. I see the short skirts and spaghetti straps junior high and elementary school girls favor and wonder what message they are trying to send in their fashion choices? It appears they are thinking of themselves, and promoting themselves, as sexual objects, sad that is happening at such a young age.
Nilki Benitez March 04, 2011 at 06:25 PM
I think it's important for parents to take a hard look at themselves--why would you allow your daughters to watch television that exploits/portraits girls as boy crazy, sex objects & catty snots with subject matter that is completely inappropriate for their age? Miley and "the rest of 'em" are not 5-10 year old girls, not even 10-14. Why are you raising your daughters on barbie and Disney junk that tells them that all they should ever dream of is to land a wealthy man? Putting kids in uniforms is not going to help them value themselves as individuals--sorry to say but for the most part, parents on MI are well-educated--we need to start acting like it & pull our heads out of our collective rear-ends, quit blaming others, and start paying real attention to our girl's needs. As always, thanks for opening up the discussion Diane!
Diane Taylor March 08, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Great comments all! I think the hardest challenge for parents is peer pressure--we don't want our girls to feel left out of the fashion trends, or latest TV shows. It helps to confer with other parents about their rules so we don't feel so alone when we put restrictions in place. With fashion, it sometimes seems you're swimming uphill to find both cute and tasteful. For me, the TV show stuff got out of hand before I realized how raunchy some of the stuff was that girls were watching. And with cable channels, there are no time restrictions on sexually explicit stuff like "Entourage." I thought the Disney channel was safe, but alas it's just another marketing grab. Not a huge problem in our house though, where my daughter has had little time to spend on television.

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