Posted on July 3, 2011


SHOPPING…..may be a feeling but when you are out looking for clothes with a teenage daughter those feelings can be very mixed indeed. I am sure I am not the only middle aged mother who feels older and fatter amongst all those beautiful young colts in the changing room. All clothes, even the ugly ones, seem to look better on them.

 Shopping provides plenty of fertile ground for arguments as to what is….

–          Appropriate (i.e. doesn’t make them look like a sex worker)

–          Necessary (how many strappy tops do you actually need?)

–          Flattering (no amount of persuasion will make a teenage girl understand that her curves are charming and much less obvious than she thinks)

–          Attractive (you still want to dress them like dolls or in the classic styles you once liked; they want to wear what every other girl their age is wearing)

–          Affordable (everything she wants costs a ton when you actually have to earn the money to pay for it)

 Teenage girls may seem selfish, narcissistic even extravagant at times but they really do need an awful lot of clothes. Their bodies are changing fast and they peer at themselves continually to find out who they are becoming. They are losing their childhood and feelings of being small, sweet and special. So they try on as many different styles as possible, like delving into that childhood dressing up box to try and work out who they are and what looks good.

 But is that so very different from the middle aged woman? We lose youth and try and conceal that fact with dozens of black sweaters. We squeeze into clothes a size too small, deluding ourselves that they still fit. They grow breasts; ours drop. Their thighs spread; ours grow dimpled and spread even more. How is one to dress that and still look good?

 A teenage girl hankers for that new pair of jeans or those shoes that they cannot possibly afford because it makes her feel more powerful at a time when she feels so uncertain and impotent. Those heels or chain necklaces are symbols of status as they begin to be aware of how fragile and ineffective they are in this world where it is only how a woman looks that seems to matter. Others in their peer group know where those clothes come from, and how much they cost. But is that so very different from the middle aged woman’s hankering for the fine and expensive cut of designer tailoring, or the thick gold of carat jewellery to enhance their sense of place in the world?

 The difference is that we are supposed to be mature; a teenage girl is only just beginning to come to terms with the emotional conundrums of being female. Perhaps it is only by sharing the similar nature of the pressures we face as women that they stand a chance of growing up well?

Posted in: shopping