Where to Find the Best Deals on "Dressy" Clothes for 14 Year Old

Updated on October 31, 2011
J.H. asks from La Salle, MN
8 answers

My husband and I have been discussing Christmas presents and with our next baby due in six weeks he would like to get going on some of these.

We still are on the fence with our oldests Christmas present, but I just realized over the weekend that she really doesn't have "dressy" clothes. I mean, I'm embarrased when she gets dressed for church, jeans and a sweatshirt that one would wear to play outside or go to school in. Growing up, I'd wear jeans to church, but have a much dressier sweater on etc.....

So the question I have is..........where does one find good quality dressy clothes for a teenager without it costing $50+ for one sweater? I'd also like to know what's in style etc?

Our daughter is very much laid back and also very confusing.............she says she wants to be a fashion designer, but would rather hang out with boys her age..and just as friends too! Therefore, she dresses more like a boy.........would rather have anything to do with Twilight series clothingwise--dark, black etc........and we don't really approve of the Twilight stuff in our house and would rather ver away from that....

EDIT- Sorry about the above paragraph-- what I meant by that is that she thinks the dark clothes that the Twilight logo stuff comes in is the greatest stuff on earth! We don't want to see her dressed all in black or dark colors. From what I've seen of the Twilight movies, and that is only in the commercials, they do dress nicely........and I would mind if she was interested in that!

She also doesn't take the best care of her clothes, so I don't really want to buy khaki's and light sweaters for fear that they wouldn't last two weeks without a stain! Therefore, I'm thinking of black dress pants, dark browns etc- nothing in the jeans family and then some nice sweaters etc. She is with us full-time during the week and only with us every other weekend and I can only count on one hand when she wore a skirt to church or even something dressy to school.

But where do you find clothes that don't break then bank? We've gone to the older version of Once Upon a Child (can't remember that stores name), but I haven't been impressed with the selection or cost of those either!

I'm thinking Kohl's and JCPenny's.....any other suggestions?


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So What Happened?

Thanks for the help.......I think.

Didn't quite get why one Mama would cringe over what I was thinking of purchasing--- dressy pants and sweaters for a girl who lives in jeans and t-shirts? And of course, I've seen her ideas of "cool clothing"-- they all come out of Teen Vogue or Seventeen, whatever magazine she has on hand and cost around $100 for something cheap! And usually the stuff she shows me are the ridiculously high heel shoes that I know she would only wear once, if then, or a prom dress, two things not appropriate for our lifestyles.

Our daughter also realizes that things are expensive and that is a big contributing factor to what she would pick out. I just don't want to end up with a sweater as her present, all based on the cost!

As another Mama pointed out, just becuse she now has dressy clothes in her closet doesn't mean she'll start dressing that way. I totally agree. I'm looking for clothing items that would be appropriate for church more than what others would consider appropriate for school. In other words, I want to be able to look at her on Sunday morning and say "go back upstairs and change out of those stained jeans and scruffy sweatshirt! You can dress better than that!

Here in MN I've seen girls wearing spaghetti strapped skimpy clothes to school.....which are totally against the dress code and I've caught our daughter, after the fact of course, wearing an outfit that I don't think is all that appropriate for school. Why would I want to buy into that?

As for those who think that the Twilight books are the greatest-- good for you. I tried, really I did, to read them, but about 50 pages into the first book, couldn't stand it. I've never been one for vampires and werewolves and in our Christian household it's unacceptable. So sue me, if you think we are being pricks.......The only reason she has seen the movies is because her biological mom took her to them......she read the books because she snuck them into the house when we told her we didn't want to see that type in our house. And yes, I do know what's going on--- I'm a substitute teacher and see a lot. I know that vampires etc are the in thing.......I was just looking for suggestions and really feel like I didn't get anything to go on.....

As for those who said, take her shopping etc.....I'd like to know when I can do that. My husband is doing a huge project at work and will be working 7 days a week for the next month or so. He's hoping to have it done before this next baby comes. I'd rather ask my mom to watch the two littlest so I can go and do shopping some afternoon, rather than try and deal with traffic, a teenager who's tastes I can honestly say I do know, and shopping on a weekend and subject my mom to all of the kids!

Finally, for those who mentioned "don't remember how uncomfortable etc it was when you didn't have the right clothes etc." Apparently I didn't. I grew up in a very poor household. I can honestly remember receiving one big gift, and by that I mean a sweater or two or a boombox; along with small items like socks etc. for Christmas. We never wanted for anything. In fact we were happy with what we got. Did I want those Girbeau jeans in the early 90's - yes, until I realized they cost close to $100. I was satisfied with the $15 jeans. I'm pretty sure I would have been happy to shop at Once Upon a Child or Plato's Closet.

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answers from Lansing on

I agree with Kohls. They have pretty much everything and always have great deals too! Maybe get her a gift card, so you can take her but she gets to be in charge!

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answers from Houston on

Target, Kohls, JC Penny's, Marshall's, Sears... You can go to the mall, store like H&M, Forever 21 and such have really cheap, cute clothes for the trendier type pieces, even in her darker kind of style that is still cute and classy.



answers from St. Louis on

okay, here's the honest-honest truth: she needs to take charge of this process & you need to take a backseat on her choices! Have you seen the Twilight moves....they dress very, very well in those movies! The H.S. kids wear typical school clothes: jeans, tshirts, & sweatshirts. The vamps wear very NICE clothing! With these movies, you cannot judge the genre by the clothing....or vice versa! :) By contrast though, the Twilight logo tshirts are usually black. :(

If you allow her the autonomy to make her choices, if you allow her to develop her own sense of style....you will find that she will take more care of her belongings. I truly, truly believe that she is old enough to determine her "style"....without offending your rules. Take a wkend, hit Penneys, Kohls, Gordmans, Xpress, & most other mall stores. Oh, & don't forget TJMaxx - my fashion queen niece buys there & looks fantastic! Let her have a fashion show trying on many, many different styles. Work with her & just let her pull those clothes off the racks! You can then make your shopping list from her personal favorites...

& honestly, when I read the list of what you want to buy.....I cringe! I have tons of nieces & they're all fashion plates. They each have their own style, they each are pretty fearless when it comes to fashion....& they all have fun with it! Oh, & as a head's up.....not sure what size you need, but my younger nieces all weigh about 100-120lbs & can wear Jr. size 3s. You don't have to stick with the girls' section!

Good Luck & Make it Fun!


answers from Milwaukee on

I have a feeling she is not going to like what you pick out. I would take her shopping and have her pick out a pair of nicer pants and a nice sweater or blouse. Have her decide, but give her criteria that they have to meet. Like not skimpy, not dreary and church nice. She prob. will not like it but at least she will have a say. I would not do this as an Xmas present. Who wants clothes they hate for Xmas?

Do you remember what it was like to deal with all the fashion stuff when you are in middleschool? I am almost 41 and I remember it vividly. I also remember fighting with my mom (who was super poor) over having brand names. I would have taken the one pair of expensive jeans over my entire wardrobe of designer imposters.

Did you read the Twilight books? Very nice people in the book - loved them. Try and stay "in touch" by dabbling in what interests your kids.

For the clothes try
Old Navy
Charloette Ruse

Watch for sales, coupons, specials etc.



answers from Minneapolis on

At 14, the best present for her would be a shopping trip, where she can have a say in what she gets. If that just won't work, given your new baby's timing, then be sure not to stray too far from what you've seen her wear. She's not suddenly going to wear "dressy" clothes just because she has them in her closet.

Clothes are an important part of a young person's "image" and although it is likely that that image goes through several changes throughout high school, she will want to be the one to be in charge (within reason) of that.

I would try to have some casual conversations about clothes with her. Ask her what the kids at school are wearing, what she likes and doesn't like. Who on TV she admires for how they dress. Bring up some magazine or online photos and ask her opinion on outfits. Ask her if she had $50 or $100 to spend on clothes, where would she go and what would she most want.

If you can get her to talk, that should give you some direction. I think Kohls, Old Navy, Target, do a pretty good job of offering what is trendy. At 14, quality is probably second to something she will actually wear, since she may grow out of it, or it will go out of style.



answers from Los Angeles on

I think Kohl's is expensive.

#1 JcPenny's - look for sale rack

#2 Marshal's

#3 Thrift if you don't have any $ to really spend and only buy clothes that
are washable.



answers from New York on

Did you look at the sale racks at the GAP? Tthey're going to close down over 700 stores nationwide, I'd check to see if there were any around my neighborhood. They also have beautiful colors for this time of year such as coral corduroy pants, coral, cream and fuscia striped shirts. I'm wearing it right now. Believe it or not, MACY's. Follow the sales from your Sunday paper. They have great sales and good bargains on name brands. I bought my kids some really good looking clothing a couple of years ago. I stocked up on clothing two years in advance. You should see the outrageous prices they have here in Europe for not so nice clothing.



answers from Kansas City on

My niece is 15 and she likes Kohl's a lot. She also LOVES Forever 21. They have in style, inexpensive clothes, but honestly that place is massive! Some of the stuff is appropriate, and some is not. You would have to spend some time in there for sure, but they do have cute leggings, skirts, sweaters, and jewelry!

Her other favorites are Aeropostale and American Eagle for more reasonably priced stuff. Both of those stores are kind of jeans and t-shirt places, but you can find cute sweaters and a few fun skirts there too.

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