Is 13 the new 18?

I took two of my daughters shopping a few weeks ago, and all I can say is “wow”.  Is it really supposed to be okay to dress a young girl in scanty clothing stretched thin enough to see through?   If our society’s young girls have image problems, this must be one of the main reasons. 

For several years we have had a dress code of what we like to see our girls wear.  We’re not trying to look like Laura Ingalls, but a little modesty is called for in a society that touts sexy looks in children who are still learning their multiplication tables.  The dress code helps us in several ways. 

First, our girls know what will not be deemed appropriate when they look through the clothes on the rack, so there’s no arguing about the cuteness factor.  Second, family and friends who might shop for gifts have a good idea of what we will allow our girls to wear.  Third, we stay well within budget on clothing because there is so little from which to choose.

Our basic dress code looks like this:
1. All skin is covered from shoulders to knees.  A little leeway is given for the toddler girls where bloomers go under dresses.  Shorts can be a little above the knee at this age, too.  However, as they kick into growth mode, our shorts and skirts get longer. 

2. No spaghetti straps or sundresses.  We make exceptions for sleeveless tops simply because we live in Texas.  It’s so stinking hot here that we need some airflow.  However, the arm holes have to fit pretty closely to avoid any peek-a-boo gaps.  My older girls often wear cotten undertanks to further preserve their modesty.

3. It should go without saying, but nothing see-through.  Again, undertanks come in handy as an extra layer of protection, but layering can lead to heat exhaustion.  So, we simply avoid tops that need extra protection.

4. No low cut tops.  Really, what cleavage is there anyway?  The undertanks again help but don’t always look quite right.  I prefer a higher neckline for simplicity sake.  I’m not a fan of turtlenecks though.  Makes me claustrophobic.

5. Nothing tight.  Sure, some things loosen when you get them on, but no one needs to know your exact measurements from the fit of your clothes.  Pants that are slimly cut require a longer top.

That’s the basics for us.  I don’t think we’re that conservative, but you’d think we were Victorian era throwbacks when we shop for older girls and juniors clothing. I’m no great seamstress, so I look hard for appropriate clothes which match our standards.  I’m not sure I’ll always be able to find much if the trends continue as they are now.  I might have to dust off my sewing machine.

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