Starting a new grade in elementary school? Heading off college? No matter what stage our daughters are at, they want to have fun, make new friends, and… look fabulous.
And why not? There’s nothing wrong with making a fashionable statement based on eye-catching outfits that express your daughter’s spirit within the boundaries of modesty. So moms, when you head out to the mall to update your daughter’s wardrobe with some back-to-school shopping, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Let your daughter take the lead about colors and styles – while you set the tone about what constitutes “kosher” coverage. You’re sure to find solutions that will make you both happy, and have a good time shopping, too.
Back to School With A Smile
Here are ten tips to get you started:
- A flattering jean skirt is essential for every girl’s wardrobe, but skirts don’t have to be boring, or look like a stuffy school uniform. Look for fun appliqués or flounces (for younger girls) or a sophisticated drape (for high school and college students). Because they go with everything, jean skirts are the foundation of flexible and modest dressing.
- Stock up on casual pencil skirts in a variety of solid colors. This will give your daughter inspiration in the morning, so she can mix and match to create fun new looks.
- Even non-dressy girls appreciate a comfortable dress that slips over the head and gets her out of the door fast. Whether it’s made of tee-shirt material or a more substantial fabric, look for a dress that’s simple enough to be dressed up with some jewelry or a wide belt, or dressed down (a baseball cap worn fashionably backwards and high-top sneakers?).
- Speaking of flexibility, you’ll want to buy more tops than bottoms when you’re shopping with your girls. Pair your school skirts with elegantly casual tees with ¾ length sleeves, or a boat-neck collar. Button-down shirts that skim over the skirt’s waistline are crisp and fashionable choices for fall days on campus.
- If your daughter’s looking for fun fashion, relax – you can afford it. Along with simple colored shirts, stripes and plaids, stock up on bright and inexpensive logo tees that will give your daughter a chance to express her personal style.
- Want to vary the look? Add more interest to a basic top by adding a stylish vest – denim is a good choice to match those jean skirts. Every girl should have two or three outer garments for layering as fall turns to winter, whether it’s a hoodie, pullover, or long sleeve button down cardigan.
- Don’t forget workout clothes. If your daughter’s school has a specific policy about “Phys Ed” fashion, you can probably rest assured that the girls will be steered toward appropriate and modest active wear. But if the school doesn’t supply the dress code, you can step up to the plate. From long basketball shorts to covered sports skirts with leggings, there are a lot of options out there. Find something colorful and comfortable, and your daughter will probably find fashionable uses for them outside of gym class.
- Accessories are make-or-break items for casual back-to-school fashions, but you don’t have to break the bank. Set limits and ground rules with your daughter, but let her do her own shopping in this department. You’ll be surprised how many hair ornaments, belts and bangles she finds that bring her in under budget!
- Shoes, did anyone mention shoes? Before you head out to the store, take a back-to-school inventory. For growing girls, a new pair of school shoes is essential. Your daughter will also need sneakers for gym, boots for wet/snowy weather, and a pair of Mary Jane’s or dressy flats.
- Finally, find the accessories your daughter needs to keep organized. For younger kids, consider purchasing a roller backpack or a backpack with straps. A cute lunchbox will make your daughter feel special, and might even encourage her to eat her vegetables!
Whatever your personal style, creating a polished, put-together look is more than a matter of wearing the garments that you love. In fact, no matter how keen your fashion sense, individual clothing pieces can only take you so far. Wearing modest clothing basics does not need to be boring. For the finishing touch, remember: it’s the little things that help you make a fashion statement from head to toe.
To transform your clothes into outfits that work, save room in your closet for these top ten accessorizing essentials:
- Jewelry: Understated Jewelry: Just because a necklace, bracelet or set of earrings is subtle doesn’t mean it can’t have a major impact. Complete any look – and show you care – by choosing earrings that can be seen beyond your hairline. Choose a necklace that harmonizes with the collar or neckline of your top. A delicate bracelet or two adds a feminine touch that complements any outfit, and is appropriate for work or leisure activities. Signature Jewelry: Dressing modestly doesn’t mean fading into the wallpaper. Invest in a few bold pieces that express the strong woman you are. Whether you go bright, colorful, or “chunky” in your choice, signature jewelry adds pizzazz to your everyday wardrobe, and provides that extra measure of glamour to special occasions.
- Scarves: Take a look at your basic wardrobe. What are your favorite color schemes? What are some favorite items that work together – or don’t? A few scarves or shawls with “bridging” colors can turn isolated tops and bottoms into beautifully coordinated outfits, and increase your fashion flexibility.
- Spring Flats: Fashion polish starts from the ground up, and colorful flats are a great way to get your look off and running. Great under pants or skirts, basic flats help you move smoothly from casual occasions to more formal events, without missing a beat.
- Black Heels: These are the shoes that can lend an air of authority to your work outfits, and add fashionable propriety to the dresses you reach for on special occasions. You may have to invest some time shopping for the perfect black heels that are both beautiful and comfortable, but once you find them, they’re a joy forever.
- Strappy Sandals: For that special party or event, you don’t have to go high in the heel. Whether neutral or “out there” in color, strappy sandals put sophisticated elegance on your feet.
Just add sunglasses and a bag to accessorize any outfit
- Sunglasses: Obviously, sunglasses are great for hiding tired eyes and shielding you from the sun’s glare. But psst! Their real beauty is how, by just sliding them on, sunglasses make you feel like a star.
- Leather Handbag: A well-made, roomy purse with a strap and plenty of pockets is a must for any woman on the go. Choose something solid, functional and not too flashy – after all, how many of us want to transfer our everyday essentials from bag to bag depending on what we wear?
- Clutch Handbag: An accessory that changes the entire atmosphere of an outfit, the evening clutch is an elegant, easy way to transition between a look that says “getting through the day” and one that says “going out for the evening”.
- Weekend Tote: You take care in the way you dress. Why ruin the look by tossing your weekend clothing into something that’s less than beautiful? Doubling as an extra-roomy purse for your “off” hours, the weekend tote is one piece in which you can go to town, and choose splashy colors or materials that express your sense of fun.
- Fashion Watch: Now that so many of us are carrying cellphones and other devices, the humble wrist watch has emerged as a major fashion statement. Use an eye-catching wrist watch to offset bracelets and bangles. The watch puts a little business into your fashion pleasure, while getting you where you have to go – on time and in style.
Whether heading out to the store, jogging through neighborhood, or striding into an important business meeting, women who choose a modest lifestyle have got it covered. And more and more, modest, yet fashion-conscious women are choosing leggings to complete outfits that are characterized by just the right balance between “coverage” and “cool.”
Long Black Leggings
Leggings offer comfort, confidence and an amazing variety of modest fashion options. Under a skirt, tunic or dress, leggings of different lengths are a smooth, breathable layer that provides a snug sense of support – without the struggle or “snag” of traditional tights or pantyhose. At the same time, leggings bridge the gap between those body contours we want to see, and those we think should be kept under wraps.
Adding leggings to your wardrobe is a great way to bridge the seasons in style. Paired with boots or funky socks, leggings provide colorful layering options that allow you to extend the usefulness of a summer outfit into the fall. When spring rolls around, just ditch the socks for a pair of sandals, throw a kicky scarf around your neck, and you’re in business.
Leggings are also a natural choice for modest exercise clothing. They give you the easy-going mobility you need to stay covered – and forget about how you look – while you concentrate on reaching your personal best. Leggings keep you feeling strong, too; an athletic, sporty silhouette can be a great motivator – whatever your workout routine.
Perhaps the best thing about leggings is the variety of modest fashion choices you can make. Coordinated with the color of your top, it’s easy to use leggings to create a sleek, top-to-bottom look that de-emphasizes your legs and draws attention to your dazzling smile. But modest clothing doesn’t equal dressing demure – with the huge variety of colors and patterns out there, leggings also stand front and center, offering a playful, yet modest fashion statement.
We all have them. Those casual tops and bottoms that screamed “buy me” in the store, but – once purchased – never seem to make their way out of the closet. Dressing in layers is a great way to re-think your personal clothing inventory and make the most of what you have.
In addition to its value for rescuing under-used articles of clothing, layering is a great fashion strategy, allowing you to add interest, a dash of color, and create an entirely new look that is totally “you”.
Sleevies® 3/4 Sleeve Extensions
From the overly-generous scoop of a low-necked tee, to the skirt that rides up, to the clingy materials that highlight those love handles, there are lots of reasons that some clothes just can’t make it on their own. Rather than throwing out or donating, experiment with layered dressing strategies that accentuate each garment’s best, most attractive characteristic.
Let’s say you bought a shirt because the color goes perfectly with a hard-to-match skirt. If the shirt rides up, don’t give up! Save the situation by layering on a contrasting vest, or adding an underlayer. Many women swear by the “hippies” – a flexible layering solution that bridges the gap like a wide belt, providing coverage without adding bulk.
Layers can also come to the rescue when trying to accommodate our changing bodies. As the years go by, women who were once happy to step out in short sleeves may find that a little more coverage makes them feel more confident. Again, there’s no need for a new wardrobe. Layer your favorite tops over a sleek shell underlayer – or add “sleevie” extensions – to give your old garments a new lease on life. Along with underlayer shells (short-sleeved, long-sleeved and cropped), sleevies and hippies, other garments that can widen your layering options include:
- The cropped top or half tee– a midriff-exposing layer, meant to be worn under a longer shirt. Half tees can be found in a variety of decorative necklines that add interest to any outfit.
- Tee-necks – sometimes referred to as a “dickie”, these garments provide coverage under shirts that expose too much of the chest.
- The pencil skirt – adds length to a tunic dress or a too-short skirt. Available in almost every color, pencil skirts complement an outfit, without making too obvious a statement.
The Fashion Advantage
Layering is a great way to re-work what’s in your closet, but remember – layering is also a creative and fashionable way to dress! Choose a color scheme, and experiment with garments that you never wore together before. Shuffle up the shapes, so that each individual article of clothing can be seen. When layering, choose just one particularly interesting item to highlight – a cropped jacket, or a fabulous scarf – rather than having lots of loud layers competing for attention.
But most of all, have fun! Dressing in layers is an individual statement. So forget the rules, and enjoy building a do-it-yourself look of your very own.
Well, the data is in, and it confirms what so many of us already knew. So why aren’t children’s clothing designers – especially the ones who design outfits for our little girls – paying attention?
A team of social psychologists recently published an academic study about how clothing choices affect how children are perceived by adults. According to the study, when children dress in “sexualized” clothing – a general category that includes skin-revealing cuts, as well as garments decorated with provocative images or text – adults are significantly less likely to believe these children to be intelligent, competent, or responsible.
The Numbers Show…
In the study, 162 male and female volunteers from an American liberal arts college were shown one of three images of the same fifth-grade girl, manipulated by computer software so that her clothing was either childlike, somewhat sexualized, or definitely sexualized. In each case, the child was also described in terms of her level of accomplishment – either average, or above average.
No surprise: When participants in the experiment were presented with the image in highly sexualized clothing and the girl was described as “above average”, the response – as reflected in the answers given to a set of standard questions – was: You must be joking.
Teach Kids to Dress for Respect
Most adults understand that they have to dress appropriately if they want to be taken seriously. But for kids, what constitutes “appropriate” is never clearly defined, and this can have serious social consequences.
Full A-line Skirt with Elastic Waist
Even the most responsible parents can be uncomfortable about exerting authority over clothing choices that – in many cases – haven’t truly crossed the line. After all, if parents are seen as obsessing about a hemline that’s too short, or a shirt that shows a little too much shoulder, children are likely to dig in their heels, and insist on just those outfits that push parental buttons.
But if we want children to respect our values, we have to clearly define what those values are. This includes listening to your child, and coming to a workable agreement about what it means to dress appropriately, within mutually-acceptable limits of modesty.
From Worst-case Scenario to Best Results
Modest dressing is often presented to children in terms of avoiding danger. We all want to keep our children safe, and it is unfortunately true that too-provocative clothing may in some instances invite dangerous, inappropriate attention.
But one of the best ways we can protect children is to teach children about the powerful, emotional impact that our clothing choices can have. Scientific research has confirmed that it’s possible to dress – not just for success – but for respect.