Shopping trips require a good shopping buddy and for me that buddy often is my mom. She is supportive, honest and objective and I appreciate her opinions because we worked to develop a cohesive relationship around shopping. I got the amazing opportunity this weekend to speak with a great groups of high school gals about how to buy clothes that meet their family expectations, but are still cute and trendy. In that vein, here are my top 4 tips for mother-daughter shopping trips.
1. Shop often and shop hard: The easiest way to keep up with the most current trends is to shop a lot. I don’t mean to say that you have to go twice a week, for hours and hours to the most expensive stores, but a stroll through the clothing section at Target when you are getting your groceries won’t hurt anything. This way, for mommas, you can see the latest stuff that your daughter may want to purchase and for gals, you can affordably keep up and up on the latest trends. If you are frustrated by how a new trend looks, you just have to shop hard to find a piece that fits your body type properly, but that is still in the style category that you want. For example, shopping for denim often frustrates women of all body types. Fit, length, color, material, and pocket shape all factor in to how a pair of pants fit you and that can be exhausting. But if you are persistent, and have an open mind about what stores you will buy from, the quest will be completed because there are pants out there for everyone. Which is why I love Levi’s new line called Curve ID, they have a body shape guide and measuring technique that gets you a perfect fit for a pair of jeans.
- Mommas: Have patience and build clothes shopping into your routine during other shopping trips to see what your gal is leaning toward.
- Daughters: Be willing to expand the list of places you will look for clothes. Some of my best finds came from the most unlikely of places
2. Too low, too short, too tight, (too much effort): How many of us remember the parent-child conflict that can arise when you don’t see eye to eye? It happens over clothing all the time with a mother and a daughter and I found it utterly exhausting when I was going through it. When I was a freshman in high school, it felt like the spaghetti strap tank-top had just been invented. Gap launched a whole new line of tanks that were so cute and so popular. My mom let me buy some before school started, but every morning when I would come out wearing only a tank with my jeans she would say, “Nope, try again.” So, fuming, I would head back in my room and cover myself up with another top and she would say thank you to me. After several weeks of this interaction, I asked my mom if we could go to the store and buy a strapless bra for under my tank-tops, she was thrilled to help me accomplish this goal! The next morning I came out of my room with two tanks layered on top of each other and my strapless bra on, and I didn’t have to change! I had worked hard to meet my mom in the middle, to understand what she thought was appropriate and to shape my wardrobe choices around that and the current fashion trends. Mission accomplished. I discovered with my mom that if I worked really hard to please her, I would earn more freedoms and this held true to the way I dressed as well. Learning how to communicate with your mother/daughter with a level of maturity and respect will help your shopping trips be more peaceful.
- Mommas: Have an open-mind when your daughter shows you what she would like to wear and remember to communicate your expectations clearly.
- Daughters: approach your mom with your ideas of the latest trends you’d like to try out and be open to her response and expectations.
- For both of you: With a little work, you can find trendy pieces that will be appropriate to the expectations of your household.
3. Size doesn’t matter – Life is all about fit: I know this can be a horrible one to go through for girls of all ages, but the real thing to focus on is how a piece fits. Like pencil skirts, I have to buy up a size so that they don’t ride up in the back or front and so that they are not super tight over my hips. My worst encounter with this demon was the first time that I went into Aeropostale. Note to self: Their clothes are made for tiny little preteens that don’t have hips yet. I had to keep going up and up and up and up in size until I thought I would melt with embarrassment. What I had to realize is that I have hips and curvy parts that are meant to be on my body so that I can be called a woman! Better to embrace them, leave a store and eat some ice cream then let that battle consume me.
- Mommas: You need to help your daughters understand how to embrace their curvy parts to avoid making her feel like her new curves are “bad.” The issue is not her body. God made it and it is beautiful! The issue can be the clothes.
- Daughters: Embrace your body and your curvy parts because they are not bad! The issue is how you can present them to people around you can change the way you are viewed: as an object or as a confident woman.
4. When in doubt ask for help: A lot of stores offer personal shopping experiences where mothers and daughters can go in together, have a guidance meeting and someone will pre-shop for you to make the adventure a little less stressful. Personal shoppers know their stuff, love shopping and most likely you can find one that will be a part of your team to accomplish the looks you are after. A second opinion can always be helpful too when trying to decide on what pieces to buy.
- Mommas: Meet with the personal shopper and your daughter to lay out your expectations before the trip.
- Daughters: Come with trend ideas that you want to purchase and see how those can fit into what you buy.
Rebecca Alexander Pickrel, Fashion Contributor
Rebecca can be contacted for personal shopping trips, closet assessments and styling tips by email: Rebecca.Pickrel@gmail.com