Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Help a Mom: Seeking age appropriate clothes for girls

Posted March 20, 2012

When I read a recent email from a Go Ask Mom reader, my first response was "Amen!"

As the mom of a seven-year-old daughter, I'm shocked sometimes at what clothing designers think are appropriate for young girls. I can only imagine that the choices get worse as girls get older. Over the weekend, I actually made a new house rule while my daughter looked through the racks of a consignment sale: Nobody in our house wears slogans on their butt.

The Go Ask Mom reader who emailed me is having similar issues. Here's what she wrote:

After trying to shop for shorts for my 12-year-old daughter and finding most inappropriate, I was wondering what other mothers do to find suitable clothes for their daughters. Most of the shorts and skirts that I found barely covered my daughter's rear end and would come no where close to meeting school dress code. What can we do to make the designers of children's clothing realize that we don't want our girls dressing like they were going out to a club?

I'm still shopping in the kids section, which means even the littlest girls are forced to wear short shorts and skirts because that is all that can be found in the stores. Some of my friends are having to resort to buying shorts in the boys department for their daughters. Any ideas on what we can do?

I think the best thing we can do is support stores and designers who do offer age appropriate clothes. I've had a lot of luck with some of the children's clothes from Lands' End, which also has great sales online and at Sears stores that carry the line. I'd love to hear where others find decent clothes for girls.

Where do you find clothes that are appropriate for girls. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.


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  • shall6 Mar 21, 2012

    From my inbox:

    I have three daughters. When my oldest turned eleven and entered the juniors department, I knew we were in trouble. That is when we started having her take sewing lessons. She spent a week with her grandmother having sewing camp. She was able to learn how to make shorts fairly quickly and seemed proud of the new skills she was learning through the pre-teen years. We would use coupons from JoAnne Fabrics to make the projects more affordable. Elegant Stitches in Cary teaches classes to young girls. This could be a good gift to give your daughters this summer. She is now seventeen and sews modest dresses. We ended up buying swimsuits at Omega Sports for a time. Now she is in the adult section and we buy the Land's End swimsuits when they are on sale. We also buy some classic clothing when school uniforms come on sale at JC Penneys, Sears and Kohls in the fall for my preteen daughters now.


  • scarlett2 Mar 21, 2012

    I know that this may seem like an old fashioned concept, but what about making your kid's own clothes? Sewing is actually very easy and the kids can create their own one of a kind designs. Sewing classes are offered in Raleigh; fabrics are inexpensive. If you feel that sewing is outdated and just a rural might be surprised. The group leader of our church group makes her own dresses. You would think that she shops at a high end designer store when you see her clothes because she always looks so stylish and fashionable. Yet all of her clothes are made in her home. I sew alot of my clothes--I even make coats, pajamas, robes, and cloth bags that I use for shopping. Children love to create and design their own art, they would enjoy sewing.

  • kcampbell113 Mar 21, 2012

    I had good luck at Target this week getting shorts for my 8 year old. They had knit bermuda shorts for $6 (sale price) and I found a pair of jean shorts she likes that comes to just above the knee. I really wish Carter's would extend their sizes up above 6x. My daughter was very sad that she had outgrown their simple knit dresses - Same with 4-6x dresses at Belk's. A sales person at Belk told me the girls do not want to dress in the 4-6x style of clothes. When did what the parents want their kids to dress in change?

  • 4.13 Mar 21, 2012

    Parents, stand your ground. Please don't give in. I know it's rough but we have to demand better. Our daughter is very tall so this poses an even bigger problem. We've tried everything. Try leggings under the shorts and skirts. Try consignment shops and online shopping. Go vintage and let your teenage daughter rummage through your closet. My daughter is 16 and she found many acceptable items in my closet that I was not wearing. Just say no to writing on the behind and in many cases across the chest. Spend lots of time talking to your daughter in an effort to counter the other influences in her life.

  • bjeanroll Mar 21, 2012

    I make and sell girls' (and boys) clothes on Etsy, an on-line shop for people to sell their handmade items. They are well made and cute while being appropriate. My sizes go from 12 months and usually up to size 8 but I have patterns for pre-teen girls too. I can also monogram items.

  • dtafil Mar 21, 2012

    I have fallen in love with Etsy for this very reason. I can find just about anything I need and can have it made to my exact specifications.

  • uncfan89 Mar 21, 2012

    It is a sad day when your little girl out grows the 4-6x section and has to go over to the dark side of the 7-16 section, should be called the hoochie mama starter kit collection. And unfortunately, my daughter has moved up to the dreaded junior section, Lord, Help Me!!!

  • murrypharm Mar 21, 2012

    Definitely shop with Lands End. They have great clothes and great customer service!!

  • brassy Mar 21, 2012

    Thanks for ideas! Be careful when buying shoes. I have a 15mo daughter and am horrified to be seeing raised heels on shoes. She can't walk as it is and they expect her to do it in heels?

  • ktinnc Mar 21, 2012

    There is a British company who sells kids clothes online. It's called They have age appropriate clothes that are really cute. I used to shop at this store when I lived in the UK. I was excited to see they are now available to purchase online here.