16 Year Old Inappropriate Dress Wear.

Updated on January 28, 2012
M.H. asks from Heuvelton, NY
12 answers

Here is my problem. I have a 16 year old daughter who continueously wears inappropriate clothing. I am too the point where I have accepted the really tight shirts with semi-low neck lines and will allow her to wear as such, but the unfortunet thing is that she does not have the body for it. She is tall with slender legs and lengthy arms, but has a protruding middle that makes her look pregnet at times. How do I explain to her that she looks rediculous without causing her to go into a depression and end up with an eating disorder. Other people have commented on her looks, and I am afraid her feelings are going to get hurt by someone in school. Any suggestions? Me and my husband maintain a healthy diet with fruits and mostly vegetables and encourage the kids to do the same. We control the intake of junk food and unhealthy carbs while she is at home, but when she visits her stepmother, she comes back looking bloated from what she eats there.

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answers from New York on

maybe ask step mother what she eats and ask to change things up My dau 17 today just now started to diet you can make them what to loss weight they have to want to do it. mayb join a gym

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answers from Washington DC on

I think that you need to step back from the "If I offer her advice she'll spiral into an eating disorder" thought.

I would encourage her to get out with you and excersize. Maybe find a program you can all do together. My SD was getting a little heavier and then she took dance in school and LOVES it. She hasn't turned into a waif but it keeps her eating habits in check. We also don't buy all the junk she puts on the list. If there's no chips, she has to work to get them or she doesn't eat them. If I buy chips, I buy a small bag, not the family size. When they're gone, they're gone. Now, I have a split household, too, at at this point we feel we can only promote good food and teach SD to make better choices. I'm not a fly on her mom's wall so I don't know how they really eat. In your DD's case, it may be that her dad and SM have decided that their time is fun time only or they don't do food battles or they like Italian....who knows. At the end of the day, a 16 yr old girl is responsible for what she puts in her mouth.

Secondly and separately, I'd tell her that while I understand the need to be an individual, does she realize the image she projects sometimes? Does she know how to dress for certain occasions? My SD just asked what to wear to a college open house and I said, "Casual, nice". She wants to wear a pettiskirt. Sigh. We will have to revisit the "time and place" conversation. She can wear the skirt skipping across campus, but I really think that for the whole informal interview/application process a nice pair of slacks or a less....frilly skirt would be better.

You can't totally protect her from people's comments. You can help her. You can say, "DD, you look really nice today. You should wear that more often." Or say, "I've noticed that those pants aren't the most flattering on you. Want to go shopping?" There are a few things we comment outright on. "SD, I can see your polka dots. Do you realize how thin that shirt is? You need to change." Or "SS, you don't need to be a walking ad for Hanes. Please either get a belt or a wear a different shirt."

My SD is also very tall and has trouble finding the right clothes. She gets a lot of Express jeans, and sometimes goes up a size to keep from having her underwear showing.

I think a gentle nudge while acknowledging that she can dress herself will get some of the results you want. She'll be her own person, but you can encourage her to think about some of her choices.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids who are restricted food wise usually grow up and do not eat healthy. They end up binging on the bad food they could not have, kind of like reverse psychology.

I would just continue to not have the food you think is unhealthy but the rest of America usually eats a wider variety of foods so she may be making up for that at her moms. I understand about wanting to teach kids to eat healthier but it is sort of backfiring on us across the board.

I have decided to think of it sort of like I was taught at church. When kids don't want to come to church you bring them anyway. Then later in life they will come back to it because it will suddenly make sense.

Her friends are the only fashion advisers she listens to so don't even try. They will eventually tell her she looks bad. I remember when I was a young teen I had soft tummy muscles and someone asked me if I was pregnant. I felt all grown up and sexy all of a sudden. People thought I might be having sex....wow! I felt all cool and stuff. Of course I didn't realize how cheap or slutty it made me look. She will gain the maturity and eventually decide to dress differently. Probably during her college age years when she finally starts to see her body differently.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Oh brother I remember some of the outfits I wore at that age, and I THOUGHT I looked SO cool!
She's learning and growing and likely any fashion "advice" you give her will be seen as nagging or criticism. Let her figure it out on her own. My oldest daughter is 16 and she is finally starting to look more polished and put together. She's getting better at doing her makeup (yes, less IS more!) and she's figuring out what fits her body type and what doesn't. Of course there are still days when I'm tempted to say wow, are you really going to wear that?! but she's too old for mommy to dress her now ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It shouldn't be about her looks or big tummy, though it is always important to focus on health. It should be about what defines modesty and who she is on the inside, and what wearing certain things can falsely project to others about who she is. We had very strict rules in our family on what we were allowed to wear, no short shorts/skirts, no midriff baring tops, no bikinis, no tank tops, no clubwear type clothing, no lowcut or skintight clothes... it wasn't because of how it looked on us, but because we were expected to dress modestly. We were still able to find clothing that was trendy and looked cute too.

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answers from Kansas City on

Good luck! My step daughter is only 13, and we are already dealing with this. And she has the same problem! She has a definate belly, but all the other women on her dads side of the family are 5'7" or taller, and are lucky to weigh 110 lbs. She is 5'4" and weighs about 140 lbs. Not grossly unhealthy, but definately not flattered by the tight tight tight shirts and low cut jeans she wants to wear. I have been know to talk to her about her body shape when we are clothes shopping, and I will say that a particular style just doesn't flatter her body. It helps that I am the main shopping adult in her life, and I definately don't have the "ideal" body type, so she realizes that I'm speaking from experience, not trying to be mean.



answers from Amarillo on

Is there a local charm/finishing school near you? I went to school in NYC at Taylor Business Institute. In that school they had a class that all students attended that presented body types, face shapes and colors and what to and not to wear on them. Maybe a model seminar or something that would help her understand what is fashionable on others is not going to work on her particular shape/size. If it comes from someone other than you it might just sink in.

Being a teen they all want to "fit in" and many don't for many reasons. Do her friends wear this type of clothing? Perhaps you can get them all to go together as a project or image "makeover".

Good luck to you.

The other S.



answers from Seattle on

Oh boy, I grew up in the 80's...kids will sometimes make questionable style choices let me tell you.
As long as she is "covered" don't worry about her "style". What you may do is take a lot of pictures of her and show her the pics. Don't make it about her looks, make it about having pictures of everyone... she may notice some things and start "fixing" them.



answers from New York on

I have a 16 year old also. It won't hurt her feelings less for you to tell her that she looks unattractive than it will if someone at school says that. The fact is, if someone at school tells her that her clothes are unflattering, and it bothers her, maybe she'll stop wearing that stuff. But the fact is, she can choose to wear something that makes her look heavy. As for the food, we cannot control everything a high schooler puts in her mouth, and in two years, she'll be away at college where you won't have any input into her diet. If she's eating crappy a couple of days a week at her father's, and healthy the rest of the time, she'll survive. She has her own style of dress, just because it shows off a big tummy doesn't mean it's inappropriate. It's unattractive, sure, but many of us do not share the same sense of style as our teens. Better this, and knowing that she's confident despite being front heavy, than to have her hiding in tent-like apparel



answers from New York on

If you've reconciled yourself with how revealing her clothes are and are only concerned about people commenting on how unflattering they are, I would leave it alone. No one is more critical of their own body than a teenage girl. She's aware of her tummy. I also believe that if her mom tells her what she is wearing is unflattering, she'll just dig in her heels. If a schoolmate says something, she may change her outfit. I think talking to her about her clothes will only cause arguments and hurt feelings but will do nothing to change the way she dresses.



answers from Baton Rouge on

Who buys her clothes? If she has a job and is buying her own clothes, let her wear what she buys.
If you're paying for her clothes, you get to decide what you will and will not buy.
If her stepmom is buying her clothes that you don't approve of, tell her to wear them at dad's house and leave them there, not bring them home.


answers from Dallas on

My son is pretty much a hippie in how he dresses. I don't have a big problem with it because he is a college student, but when it is time for a job interview...

I don't know if I handle it right, but I compliment him whenever I think he looks nice. I keep my mouth shut most of the rest of the time. However, there are occasions when I allow myself to make a comment, but I usually start with something like, "Of course you are entitled to your own choices, and mostly I like your style, but......." The but is saved for rare occasions and I try to avoid a personal attack. Something like, "but, the person hiring you doesn't know you. Generally for a job interview the person wearing............ will have a better shot at the job." Then, mouth shut. Consequences fall. My oldest son once told me (when he was in high school) that I had no idea what it was like in todays world. No one cared what you wore. After a week of looking for a job and getting no where I quietly suggested trying dressing a little nicer..... what could it hurt? Lucky for me, he got a job. Lesson was learned.

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