Allow for individual style – As teens become more established in their identity, their clothing becomes less extreme.

Realise that clothes have meaning

  • Inappropriate styles may indicate a need for peer approval
  • Sexualised styles can be a sign that a girl depends more on her body than her character to attract boys
  • Dark themes, such as death, drugs, violence, can indicate internal alienation, rage or rebellion
  • Culturally based clothing, such as gang styles, may manifest inappropriate values.

Focus on the themes, and look at your teen’s clothing in the context of her character.

Don’t moralise or overidentify – Clothing styles are usually a matter of preference, not morality. Overidentification is when the parent attempts to dress like the teen. Not cool.

Deal with the inappropriate – You need to work out an agreement of definitions of inappropriateness, e.g.

  • Clothing that draws too much attention to the body and distracts from the face and character
  • Words and graphics that convey dark themes.
  • Styles that are so bizarre that they interfere with school and relationships; and
  • Clothes that say something about the teen that isn’t who the teen really is.

Give your teen as much freedom as possible, as long as it does not cross established lines. If your teen disagrees with the lines you need to state until you can work with me on this these are the standards and requirements.

Refrain from getting into power struggles – If your teen leaves for school inappropriately, ask her only once to change the clothes. If she refuses remind her of the consequences and let her choice determine her social future. Save Your Energy For More Important Issues Than Clothes But Be Aware Of What Clothing Says About Your Teen’s Heart And Feelings