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How to Help Your Tween Daughter Develop Her Own Style

Learning about fashion will help you become a better parent.

Middle school is a time of great change for your tween daughter. This is when she will get more freedom to make choices for herself such as what subjects and activities she is interested in, whom she wants to spend time with, and what she wants to wear.

Because your daughter is on her way to creating her own sense of self, it only makes sense she has a sense of style to match. Here are some tips and tricks on how to help your tween develop her fashion sense.

Don’t forget the school rules.

Before you go shopping, don’t forget that a lot of middle schools have their own dress code. Give yourself a simple reminder of this so you know what your daughter can and can’t wear to school.

Get the staples.

Start off your shopping trip by teaching your daughter what outfit basics are and why they are important. Here’s a list to give you some ideas:

Dressy Basics:

  • One fancy dress for each season; used for weddings, graduations
  • One more casual dress for each season; can be worn for school performances, birthday parties
  • Tights and stockings
  • One pair of dressy flat shoes in a basic color such as black or brown
  • One pair of dressy flat shoes in a statement color
  • A heel of some sort, if you deem it appropriate

Casual Basics:

  • Blue jeans; at least two pairs
  • Black jeans or pants; at least two pairs
  • Leggings
  • Basic colored T-shirts
  • A sweater
  • A cardigan
  • A jacket for all seasons
  • Tank tops and camisoles for layering
  • Sneakers
  • A few pairs of comfortable, basic colored flat shoes
  • Fashion or trendy jeans/pants such as ripped jeans or jeans with a print; just one pair

Once you have compiled all these basics, your daughter will be able to mix and match and add some of her own personal touches.

Go crazy with the accessories.

Accessories are the fun part of every girl’s wardrobe. Especially now that your daughter has developed their own opinion, she can start picking out the scarves, tween and kids' backpacks, purses, headbands and hair barrettes, necklaces, bracelets, belts, and even socks. Best of all, these additions can be relatively cheap. And who knows, you may even want to borrow some of the items they pick out.

Try on everything.

There’s no way she’ll be able to figure out what looks and feels best without trying everything on. Remember, nothing looks as good on the hanger as it does on, so it's a good idea to take silhouettes of all kinds to the dressing room to experiment. In addition, teaching your daughter about certain styles will make her shopping trips easier when she heads to the mall with a friend.

Having a conversation about body image is important during this time. Make sure to teach her that the way a garment fits has nothing to do with how she should view herself, and clothing is just clothing. Fashion is supposed to be fun!

Head to a bunch of different stores.

Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t successful in a certain store. Take a look around the mall and see whether there are any stores you’ve never been in and go ahead and browse. Creating a wardrobe is all about trial and error, so don’t feel that you haven’t succeeded if you are spending all day shopping.

With these tips in mind, your tween will soon be on her way to developing her own style and learning the ins and outs of fashion.

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