By: Elizabeth Donovan, M.A.
It’s officially a crisis in your household! Your 11-year-old daughter is in shambles and beginning to have a serious meltdown because her maturing body is causing her fashion issues. Preteen girls are typically right in the midst of puberty and therefore their bodies are outgrowing clothing at a particularly fast rate. The problem occurs when girls this age often find themselves “in between” clothing sizes making it difficult to find tops and bottoms that fit properly. Along side this fashion crisis is the fact that parents don’t want to spend lots of money on clothing in a specific size that their daughter will soon outgrow. The discount stores preteen girls naturally gravitate to such as Old Navy and Target often have sizes that run too big or too small for preteens. So what’s a woeful parent and willful tween to do? Find some great alternatives until her body reaches the teen phase of development!
Fashion Savvy and Budget Friendly Stores for Tween Girls:
• Change up your daughter sizing. Try moving your daughter up to junior sizing if your daughter has outgrown kids sizes. For example, try a size 1 or 3 in the juniors department for a girl that typically wears a size 10/12 in kids. Some parents have claimed this worked well and one of the only adjustments was to occasionally hem the pants.
Another option is to size up if your daughter wears a kids size 16. Sometimes, depending on your daughter’s body type, the junior department clothing can be cut very narrow. In this case, try the “misses” department. Misses sizes are usually cut a bit bigger and my fit her growing body better.
Discount stores like Ross, T.J. Maxx, and Marshals are great discount stores to find junior sizes at a “fashionable” price. Some parents also recommend the girl’s section of JCPenny’s that carries regular “slim and plus” sizes for girls ages 7-14. JCPenny’s carries only current styles for girls so they will have what’s “in” but at affordable prices. All of these stores will provide your daughter with quality clothing that should last long enough for her to outgrow them.
• Find sales at some of the “cool” tween stores. Most 11 and 12 year old girls are keenly aware of the styles their friends are wearing. Stores like Justice, H&M, and Macy’s usually carry the name brands that fit properly, but come with a hefty price tag. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a bargain. Justice often has an additional 40% off their entire store (clearance included) and Macy’s prints coupons weekly that can save you big bucks. If your daughter really wants a pair of those skinny faded wash jeans, start shopping for sales and saving those coupons!
• Check out dEliAs. Many moms I’ve talked to swear by dEliAs. Why? The clothing is modeled on a preteen version of Vogue (to fit your tween’s exact body type). Girls ages 10-16 tend to prefer this store and dEliAs has a good reputation for providing tween girls with a wide range of “hip” clothing. The downside is that dEliAs doesn’t have many stores, so their clothing lines have to be ordered either online (www.delias.com ) or through their catalog making it a “guessing” game when trying to figure out sizing. But, most parents of preteens agree, it’s worth a shot.
Lands’ End Childrens catalog. This surprising find for tween girls has fairly fashionable clothing that is more generously cut for girls in-between sizes. While Lands End is a mostly online and catalog store like dEliAs, their staff is incredibly helpful. You can call them directly with your daughter’s measurements and the staff at Lands End can help with the sizing.
Regardless of your daughter’s in-between sizes, the most important thing for parents to remember is to be sympathetic and supportive when trying to help your daughter find clothes that fit. Taking your preteen daughter to the mall to find clothing can be nerve-wracking as you drag from store to store to find jeans that fit, but remember she’s every bit as frustrated as you are. Try to remember what it was like when you were that age. Your body is constantly changing shape and your hormones are surging. It goes without saying that it’s not helpful to make hurtful comments about “how” things fit her (ex. “Wow!” Your hips have gotten wider. You should try a misses size in those jeans.”). Instead, let your daughter know that what she’s going through is perfectly normal and one day soon her clothing will fit her body perfectly.
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