Four Rules For Outfitting Your Tween Daughter

Friends, I am beginning to encounter some “tweendom” firsthand, and it is a scary enterprise…especially when it comes to clothing. In fact, the only major arguments that my nine year old and I have engaged in over the past year have involved the shopping for, creation, and appropriateness of her outfits. Good times.

So I’ve called in some reinforcements in the form of local mom Katie Fuerst who has turned what could be an angst-filled endeavor (i.e. shopping with a 12-year-old girl) into a memorable mother/daughter bonding experience.

Herewith her words of wisdom.


By Katie Feurst

My 12-year-old daughter has always had her own personal style. In preschool she donned superhero costumes, rocked a Rosemary’s Baby pixie cut, and marched to the beat of her own piccolo snare. Her father and I would not have it any other way.

A few years ago, she discovered a love for fashion. I was determined to find some affordable ways to nurture her newfound fervor. Together we began to sleuth out some of Dallas’ hidden gems for clothing. We’ve bonded over our shared pastime, and, in the process, developed some “rules” regarding clothes shopping.  Because she is often mistaken for being older than she is, these rules are primarily meant to ensure she’s dressed age appropriately, but we also use them to help us stick to her budget.

Let’s get started…

Rule #1: Trends Are Fleeting
For trendy pieces, one of our favorite places to rummage through is Buffalo Exchange. The lace top above was just $10.50, and the shorts were $7. We’ve seen similar looks at the mall for three times the price. We added a camisole and we’re all set. Camis are extremely versatile layering pieces, and with them ringing up at $2.99 at Forever 21, we could stock up on several colors. In a few months, when lace is “out,” these shorts can remain a staple in her wardrobe.

Rule #2: Don’t Forget Where You Live
Dallas is not known for winter weather. Sure, it has the occasional really cold day, but mostly it is either chilly or hot. This presents an atypical challenge: finding shorts that are great for winter. She found an exceptional tweed pair at Buffalo Exchange for under $10. There’s also a sub-rule here: dress for where you will spend the most time. If I am going to a movie on a cold day, I dress for comfort in the theater not the outdoors. A big wool scarf around my shoulders will suffice for the cold chill outdoors and can be removed if the heat is cranked up in the theater.

Rule #3: The Cindy Lauper Effect (aka Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)
We spend a lot of time hanging out with friends at NorthPark, and the gals always seem to spend a fair amount of time in the courtyard perfecting their cartwheels and playing hide & seek. (Also, as my cousin says, “you never know when an impromptu kick line will occur.”) So to be prepared, my daughter always wears boy shorts (or those shorts girls wear for volleyball) under her dresses and skirts. Young ladies should know, while they are cute, nobody needs to see your Paul Frank bikini panties. Ever.

Rule #4: Go High/Low 
The High/Low principal of shopping goes like this: don’t scrimp on the couch (a forever piece that you’ll use every single day), but feel free to go crazy with pastel striped, sequined throw pillows (i.e. the fun accessories) for a season or two. The same theory applies to clothes. When we head out shopping, I start by letting her know the budget. We have regular stops at Garland Thrift, Goodwill on Greenville, and, my personal favorite, the Salvation Army Thrift Store. These places have seriously great deals on trendy items, strict standards on what they accept, helpful employees (some who love to color code enormous racks of clothes, which we love). Since the finds can be hit or miss, we go to these spots first and then vamoose on over to Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s for basics.

Someday my daughter will have her own money and her own budget, but I hope no matter what that dollar amount ends up being, she remembers what mom taught her — that fashion is fun and doesn’t have to cost a lot to look great. We have a treasure trove of memories from our fashion hunts together, and, really, that’s the most valuable thing of all.

Happy shopping!