Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maybe there’s hope for our girls

A friend of a friend of a friend told me the BP section of Nordstrom is a good place to take a teen.

As written in last November's From gluteal cleavage to breat cleavage. Oh joy!, I’ve been at odds with the fashion industry’s approach to dressing young girls. Word up to all teen girls in America: we know you have boobs and butts – you don’t need to prove it by showing them off! Cleavage in middle school? Come on!

Petit Poe knows the value in thrift and is not embarrassed to say she wears it. Yet, there is this part of her, mostly influenced by friends, that thinks she’s supposed to go to the mall and buy new clothes. Problem is, the stores that cater to these girls are just plain tacky and are teaching our girls to show the junk in the trunk whenever they wish. These stores preach nothing but buy little tiny t-shirts for a lot of money.

The American youth is becoming more and more ignorant of context and few in the fashion industry are considering it. I’ve seen kids in sagging shorts and flip flops going to interviews in November. Wow. That’s a great way to make a first impression.

Standing on my soapbox I announce that many Americans are losing the notion of context. Let’s take Lady Gaga. If she wants to kick off her concert being carried on stage in a plastic pod, so be it. But, when she attends the Grammy’s there appears to be a complete lack of understand the evening is NOT about her. Making a spectacle out of one’s self at a night that honors many, is selfish, ignorant and rude. It’s kind of like showing up to your friend’s wedding in your own wedding gown. Now, I’m stepping down from my soapbox.

I grabbed Poe’s hand, told her we are going to Nordstrom and Nordstrom only. Initially, she rolled her eyes but once in the BP section things changed. Compared to thrift the prices are crazy but compared to other chain retailers, Nordstrom BP is not out of line and delivers a higher quality product. For the first time in two years Poe bought a dress that we both approved! Here’s the real kicker – the entire event took about a half hour! If you’re a mother to a teen, you’re probably thinking I’m in denial. What I wrote really happened! Really!

Now we visit BP. There are a few items that push my limits, but the larger teaches girls respectable style.

How does this relate to thrift? Easy, Poe buys one item she likes at BP. Then when at the thrift, she has some understanding of current fashion that has taste and finds comparable items.

If you have a teen daughter, take her to Nordstrom BP. It’s tasteful and not overwhelming. I loathe Forever 21. That store is like walking into someone’s dirty closet. I’ve seen young girls buying dresses made for a night at the club. Problem is they’re about seven years away from being able to step foot in a club. What’s the rush?

The club scene? I stuck with the black ballet top, men's Levi's 501, silver-hooped earrings and black boots. Been there, done that. Probably paid out enough in cover charges and cab fares to put as down payment for a house. I'm not naive and would hate to see how women are dressing on the club scene. Shiver.

Oh, I heard the news day oh boy...Abercrombie & Fitch attempted to market push-up bikini tops to eight year olds for this season. Thank you Saver Queen for highlighting this. Wow, and I thought nothing could top the nine-year-old I know of who stuffs her half camisole top with tissue paper!


Catherine said...

Great post, and I love your thoughtful Lady GaGa comment.

Not only are they ignorant of context, they are also ignorant about the labor conditions all of these cheap clothes are produced, and the impact on the planet of the fast fashion. Clothing for the price of an album was what I believe I read in the New York Times. A much higher price is paid by the planet and its people.

Shopping Golightly said...

Thanks Catherine. I know some will think I'm harsh on Ms. Gaga, but she solicits it and makes loads of $$$$. When you see 13-year-olds hobbling about in Gaga inspired platform heels, it's time to say something.

Why are the "bad" girls now the latest thing for America's youth aspiring to be? Whatever happened to the Audrey Hepburn's the women who inspired grace and dignity?

This makes me sound like an old conservative prude. But, I'm not! I just happen to care about the next generation of women.

And you're right - all this on the backs of people in third-world countries with a high carbon foot print. Who wins at this game? Why play it?

Anonymous said...

Knowing how to dress for the occasion is an essential skill. Men and women who deal with each social context respectfully and convey through their dress how they expect to be treated are empowered. Make no mistake about it.

Theresa said...

Yes, there is a whole generation of kids that have been brainwashed into believing that they are all "divas" and princesses. Scary! That kind of indifference is what leads to all kinds of horrible things. Even die hard feminists much be shaking their heads in disbelief. Was lady gaga really so different from madonna in the '80's though??

Jackie said...

Great post, as a parent of a teen daughter I always shutter when it comes time to buy clothes. Most of the fashion today available in stores shows way to much for my sense of appropriate clothing.

Nostalgic in Maine said...

I fully agree with you and am glad you are bringing it up. I have kids under 6, and I am still shocked to see the kid "fashion" that is supposed to make my kids look cool. Hip huggers for 4-year olds? Bikinis? Cropped t-shirts? I am so disgusted by all of it. Childhood should be about playfulness and innocence. I shudder to even think what will greet my daughter on the clothes racks when she is a teen...

Anonymous said...

Shopping for younger girls is even more enlightening. As a grandmother I am appalled to see t-shirts for 3 and 4 year olds with "porn star" across the chest.
Who buys this stuff?
Home sewing and refashioning thrift finds never looked so good. The results are one-of-a kind, can be personalized, are tailored to fit, and are always age appropriate.

Daisy said...

My son participated in his first forensics meet on Friday - wearing khaki pants and a classy polo shirt, both from thrift shops. He looked great. No one knew I spent only a few $ on his outfit.

Saver Queen said...

Did anyone else read about Abercrombie selling the padded, push up bikinis to 7 year olds? It makes me want to weep.

Great post, Golightly!

Shopping Golightly said...

Saver Queen,

Yes, I just learned about the Abercrombie & and Fitch fiasco yesterday before I read your comment.

I hope you don't mind but I'm moving your comment up into the copy for those who do not review comments.

Thank you.

Saver Queen said...

Thanks for the mention on the post! Yeah, isn't it appalling. It makes me feel so sad for our children. We really all should be outraged. It bugs me that Abercrombie just changed the name. They should have discontinued the product.

Shopping Golightly said...

Saver Queen,

A little irony about ABC&F, from Wikipedia: "Founded in 1892 in Manhattan by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra H. Fitch, the real Abercrombie & Fitch was an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods, particularly noted for its expensive shotguns, fishing rods, and tents.In 1976 Abercrombie & Fitch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, finally closing its flagship Manhattan store in 1977."

They used to compete with Orvis.

Summer said...

Bouncing off what Theresa said, no, it's not any different than Madonna. It's not any different from Elvis, for that matter. My mother once yelled at me for wearing a tank top that was handed down from her. If there was any context in that, all she would say was "it was different then." Sure it was, you were wearing the tank top, and your mom was yelling.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem. Just that it isn't the end of the world. The skin bothers me less than the attention-seeking and the materialism. And it's much more firmly rooted than a single generation. I think what it really all comes down to is more effective marketing. Brands are tapping into some very strong, very animal-level desires like that budding sexuality and making a ton of money with it.

Yes, this post has no point. Just food for thought.

Darth Mama said...

Oh my goodness! I just realized why my soon-to-be-3 year old is growing out of her size 3T shirts already. She's not unusually tall -- the shirts are unusually short! Thanks to the other commentators, or I would not have realized that her shirts were supposed to be cropped. I just thought she hit a growth spurt in her torso since her 3T pants are fitting fine.

Luckily, there's a kids clothing swap this weekend (4/16 in River Edge, NJ, if anyone is in the neighborhood) so I'll restock her wardrobe.

Anonymous said...

I blame the parents for allowing the kids to wear the clothes. But look at the moms- the apple usually doesn't fall far from the tree. Cleavage, clothes several sizes too small, piercings and tattoos are normal for grown women these days. BabySkank doesn't just happen on her own.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, once again for a wonderful post. It is comforting to know, that although I am in the minority, there are other parents who feel, act, and enforce certain things with their children that I do.
Sexing children up in ridiculous, age inappropriate clothing is not what children need or truly want - -they want parents who care enough to say "no, you cannot buy that" with a thoughtful explanation as to why.

Dhamma said...

Hmm, i worked in fashion for years. I agree with everything except BP being classy. I've seen some seriously rotten booty attire in there. And your giving Forever 21 a bad rap. Sure a lot of their items are cheap and cheap looking but not all of it. I have a twelve by twelve dress, that looks and feels like silk and is more of a tunic than a tight booty momma dress. I paid almost nothing for it. I see tasteful in Forever 21 ALL the time. The deal is having children buy in one place never letting them even THINK about buying in the places we deem as "trashy." But rather teaching them how to be selective. They need an eye towards what is classy and classy is everywhere, not just BP.

Anonymous said...

I feel so embarrassed for your daughters! It appears you wish that time had stayed still from before any of us were even alive. But guess what? Time doesn't sit still & neither does fashion. When your girls hate you because they don't know how to be stylish or act around guys, you will only have yourself to blame. It should be interesting to see how your girls act once out of the house. When are sexuality is not alloweed to come out it will eventually explode. For many this means raising kids when one's still a child themselves. Is this really what you want for your daughters?

RosellettRed said...

I agree! People have no sense of modesty, and much less a sense of what's appropriate to wear to different events.