When I think back to when I was a young girl, eleven or twelve years of age, I remember a really care-free time. While I wasn’t still playing with dolls, I still had them in my room. Of course, I would have had posters on my wall of my favourite singer or actor at the time, yet it was a time of innocence, and it was out of sheer admiration for them or maybe girlish thoughts of marrying them one day.
And I remember still being in awe of my Mum putting on her makeup if she was going out with my Dad for an evening out, or to visit their friends, and how beautiful she looked. I remember looking forward to the day when I would be allowed to wear a little lipstick to feel so ‘grown-up’.
When I think back, I always had a love of fashion. I loved dresses, blouses, skirts, shirts, cardigans and trousers in all colours. I remember the fashion icons of the day. Actresses that I saw on the television, giving a quick glimpse into their oh-so-stylish wardrobes and the styles that were current. I remember the music stars that I liked to emulate, often with a hairbrush in hand, singing and performing in front of my bedroom mirror.
As you know, I check my social media every morning so I can look at my readers and followers comments and take the time to respond to them. I follow lots of different pages on Facebook and on my Instagram accounts as they’re great for inspiration. One thing that has really concerned me though the past year or two, is how the role models for our young girls, our ‘tweens’ in particular (that age where they’re not quite a little girl yet not quite a teen), portray fashion and style.
You only have to look at the young women in popular culture today to see how far apart they are from the icons of our days. Think about it. You have Miley Cyrus and Kylie Kardashian dressing like women far older than their years. In fact, I’m not sure I know many women who dress as provocatively as they do and they are either in their late teens or have just hit the 20 years old mark…not too many years older than ‘tweens’ now. Now I know the Sixties had the iconic Mary Quant mini skirt which was ‘shocking’ to the older generation at the time, yet I don’t seem to remember everything else being on show as well as the legs!
When was the last time you saw a video clip for a music video? When you think that the greatest consumers of pop music are our ‘tweens’ and teenagers, isn’t it a little hard to digest that these singers and performers are their influencers? Their music videos are highly sexualised as they pout and dance provocatively into the camera, singing words that are far more advanced in their context for what we would like our ‘tweens’ to be listening to, or singing into a hairbrush in front of their bedroom mirror.
With this comes a dilemma. Our ‘tweens’, like us many years ago, are being influenced by what they see in mainstream media. You only have to look at the poses on many young girls’ social media accounts to see this. So it stands to reason that they will want to wear clothes and make fashion choices based on what their idols are wearing, and of course, what their friends are into too. It’s a tough one – they’re still young girls!
It can be hard for parents. You want your ‘tween’ to feel like they fit in with their friends yet you don’t want them to dress years beyond their age. It’s a fine balance between giving them some independence to find their own style and putting the foot down when it comes to a bum-skimming skirt with crop top! Especially, when so many young girls are experimenting with makeup at a much younger age. Did you know that international boy band phenomenon, One Direction, brought out their own makeup line targeted at their young fans?! Makeup can make a young girl look so much older than she actually is and when teamed with some styles of clothing, suddenly your ‘tween’ looks more like a teen!
In saying that, there are some really great high street stores with gorgeous clothes that are age-appropriate yet still on trend at the same time. Stores like Jay Jays, Sportsgirl, Dotti, Target and Country Road have really fresh, youthful collections.
One suggestion to positively influencing your ‘tweens’ style and how she expresses herself is to have a Girls Shopping Day! Make it a fun occasion where the two of you venture out, try on heaps of clothes together and show her different ways she could wear the clothes. Remind your ‘tween’ of clothes they already have in their wardrobe and how it would look with different age-appropriate clothes.
Brush up on your knowledge of your ‘tween’s favourite celebrities like Taylor Swift or Kendall Jenner who have fun with fashion, and are great fashion role models, and make reference to them if you spot something similar to what they have worn, when you’re suggesting some clothes. This way, it will sound less like, ‘What Mum says’ and instead, shows you are taking an interest in helping her evolve her own style.
Above anything else, we have to remember that they are young and influential, and while they may be strongly influenced by what they see in mainstream media, as parents, we can also have a positive influence too. Helping them transition through the often awkward ‘tween’ years can have enormous impact on how they choose to dress and style themselves as a teen…although, there will be always one or two who will rebel…just like a few of us did when we were that age!
Did you know that we can provide a Mum & Daughter personal styling consultation? If you are struggling with the ‘tween’ years and bridging the gap between trendy and appropriate, or simply not understanding the trends, our Stylist team can help you navigate this tricky time. Our stylists are very current with styling trends for tweens and are able not only style but also improve their confidence and self-esteem. All the pictures you see are of Charlotte, our Brisbane Stylist Meagan’s daughter. If you are looking to help your daughter in Brisbane, Meagan is currently accepting bookings or refer to our website for more info on our stylists. Simply call our team at the Suite, and we’ll schedule an amazing and fun day out with our team!