Saturday, March 19, 2011

Say Yes To The Dress

I took Peppermint Patty shopping the other day. She was really wanting to go to the mall with me. I think she hoped it would be a fun girls-day activity. Unfortunately her two younger sisters put a damper on the fun she expected us to have. Anyway, we've finally reached the point where we're out of any hand-me-down clothes passed on from friends. She needs some dressy outfits for church, especially since it's Lent now and we're going twice a week. The problem is, everything I found for her at the mall was either WAY too mature (read: so short I could see her unmentionables when she sat in a chair) or WAY too juvenile (read: they had comparable sizes of the same dress for my 3-year-old.) She's getting so darn tall! She's only 11 years old but she alreday wears an 8 1/2 shoe and she's 5-foot-2-inches tall. She needs the length on a dress or skirt, but that's nearly impossible to find.

When we began, I had hoped to stay close to $20 for a simple dress. Maybe find something on sale? I know, I am a big cheapie. But considering I can get a really decent dress at the resale shop for about $5, I thought going up to $20 was reasonable. But, of course, absolutely NO LUCK. We tried Macy's. We tried JC Penneys. We tried Dillards. We tried Children's Place. I didn't have the energy to try Sears and I didn't have the courage to try Forever 21.

Finally I got to the point where I said to PP, "Just pick out a dress. Forget the price. Just find one you like. If it fits and it's appropriate, we'll buy it."

OH. MY. GOD. I totally heard myself saying the words from that show "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC. I suddenly understood all those parents who came into the store with a budget in mind, then allowed it to get blown right out of the water. I always thought they were crazy, but now I feel a strange kinship to them.

For the record: I bought a dress that is marginally long enough, but we also purchased some lace-edged capri tights. Total Cost: $36 plus tax. So, almost double the budget. Whatever.

I wish we could have shopped at my favorite store for young girls: Cato. I went shopping there yesterday and every. single. one. of their dresses were cute, colorful, and long enough. The dresses were the perfect mix of sweet & spunk. And the most expensive dress there was $25. Separates are $10-12 each. They even sell shoes & purses & jewelry too. I bought a purse (this one, actually) which I'm going to convert into a stylish camera bag - fingers crossed! I like their clothes for me too; the sizes are always pretty accurate and they have a good selection of casual and dressy clothes. Oh, and did I mention, they're affordable? heck yeah! They also have a plus-size section so they really cater to women of all sizes and shapes.

So, tell me, how do you shop for your kids clothes? Do you have trouble finding clothes that are appropriate for tween or teen girls? Who has the most say in their wardrobe choices - you or them? Do you ever shop resale?

Texan Mama


Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) said...

I don't have a daughter, but Target has cute stuff, and so does Meijer I tutor a little girl who is quite well dressed, and her mom shops at Justice a lot.

What about Old Navy?

I think resale is a great way to go. Up here most school districts hold twice annual clothing resales. The school gets some profit, and the sellers the rest. Kind of like ebay in person.

Amy said...

I am so glad I don't have a girl (yet). You brought up a whole new list of fears to add to having a girl lol. How to dress them appropriately without dressing them like a baby in this day and age.

Gigi said...

I've heard the horror stories of trying to find decent clothes for girls these days. Makes me really glad I don't have that to deal with. But on a positive note - I just read that longer skirts/dresses are coming back in style. And you should have poked your head into Forever 21 - yes, some of the clothes are "trendy" (read short) but the prices are very good and they have a huge variety.

Melissa said...

I do shop resale although not as much as before, there are no good shops up here. I actually shop a lot at Old Navy, especially clerance, and Target, for both me and the kids.

The modesty issue is one I totally get! I see myself doing a. Lot more sewing for my girls in the future!

Bridgett said...

My long answer...We are lucky to have lots of resale here in St. Louis city, and neither of my girls are fussy about clothes.

Every so often I have to buy something new, and then I do stick to Target for the most part while I'm there buying shampoo etc...stretch pants, for instance, do not last into the used market, and of course socks and underwear.

I splurge on swimwear for Sophia because she's so long-waisted (standard suits ride up and bikinis are scandalous for young girls these days). I catalog/online shop for relatively modest tankini-style suits--in September, for the following spring. But Maeve gets hers at Target because she's more of an average build.

I have convinced them all that good, quality used clothing is a smart thing, but that it involves advanced planning--you can't run in expecting to find a dress at the last minute.

I never go into the malls to buy kids' clothes (too far away, for one thing), but there is a stand-alone JC Penney near our house that almost ALWAYS has a sale--and is a great last minute place that is often as cheap as Target. That's where Sophia's Christmas fancy party dress came from. For $14.

Heather said...

UGH! I wish I had helpful hints, but I don't. Everytime I shop with my 11 year old daughter it is a torture. The good news is that she has become accumstomed to my "modesty" and we don't argue as much in the store. The bad new is it is impossible to find anything. She is 4'9 and feels like she is shrinking because all her friends are taller and moving to "older" stores. I totally feel for you.

We do a lot of pre shopping online, just so we know what we are up against.

Jennifer said...

Have you tried moving up to a different department, like (gasp) juniors. I mean she is as tall as me so she may be able to move to those sizes. Of course it will also be hard to find something appropriate.

Jennifer said...

I'm not having this trouble.. yet. But that is because my daughter is three and still wears a 2T. I do sometimes have the problem that some of the clothes I find her are too babyish... like with diaper covers and frilly jumpers that would be on a crawling/toddling baby when she is a little girl. But that is a whole other area.

And it is very ironic that I am so NOT a girly girl and after Linda (from Bar Mitzvahzilla) mentioned Say Yes to the Dress, I watched an episode and have been hooked ever since. I don't know what the fascination is.. but I DVR it every Friday.

Anna See said...

I spend more on Molly's clothes than I do on my own, which is ironic since she wears either a school uniform or soccer uniform 6 days a week. She couldn't wear all of her clothes if she tried. I figure I did save a ton of $$ over the years since she was on the receiving end of many handmedowns. Now that she's almost 10, she is still the size of 6, maybe 7 yr old, but she is too picky for most handmedowns.