There are few topics that cause more debate between you and your teen than fashion. Whether you feel like you’re at your wits end with a teen who wants to dress like a starlet on the red carpet, a gangster, or who wants to use the floordrobe as the only form of his wardrobe, you’re not alone.
And the reality is that as a parent of a teen, you likely have very little input on your teen’s wardrobe other than financial. So how do you help your teen without being that parent?
It’s simple really. Teach your teen the “Four Fs of Fashion” and help him (or her) learn to choose appropriate, well-fitting clothes for any occasion.
As much fun as fashion can be, at its very core, clothing needs to be functional. It is important that your teen knows how to select clothing based on how it functions. When considering function, you should teach your teen to consider the following:
- Occasion—What he might wear to a football game on the weekend isn’t necessarily what would be appropriate to a job interview and vice versa. You can start reinforcing this concept at a very young age by having certain outfits for school and others for play, as well as some for summer and some for winter.
- Expression—Clothes are also an effective way to express one’s self. The clothing your teen chooses can say anything from “I’m fun,” to “I’m professional.” Help your teen learn the difference.
- Esteem—While there is a lot more to self-esteem than clothing, help your teen choose clothes that are fitting for him is an important way to support your teens self-image.
Remember, form follows function. The design of the best clothes will lend themselves to their intended purpose.
Aside from fit, it’s also important that your teen knows how to choose clothing based on how it fits. In fact, fit is one of the most important things to consider if he wants to look and feel his best. Clothes should not be too tight or too loose. It’s also important that your teen learn to choose cuts and fits that compliment his or her frame.
While teenage boys are typically satisfied with a little less in the clothing department than their female counterparts, it is still important to emphasize flexibility in clothing choices. Some teens have a tendency to want to choose unique pieces that can only be worn one way. Those times of items are not very effective as staple wardrobe items.
Instead help your teen understand that one or two special occasion pieces like that are all he needs in his wardrobe while all of the other items should be easier to mix and match. Keeping basic or staple pieces in a neutral color palette, such as denim, navy, black, and white will make this easier.
Likewise finding versatile pieces, like a solid pair of jeans and a black and white t-shirt first will serve him better than a bunch of random articles of clothing that don’t fit together.
Once you have the basics down, then it’s time to add in a little more personality. For teens especially, this is the fun part. Encourage your teen to express his personality in some of his clothing and accessory pieces.
If he’s outgoing or adventurous, he may want to add ratchet belt or grip belt to his look for comfort and style. Or if he is artistic, he may want a few shirts with a little more variety in color. Remind him that just because he is a teenage boy does not mean that he has to stick with the traditional baggy t-shirt and baggy jeans look.
Your teen may look to you for very little input on his wardrobe, but if he knows these basic principles, then you can rest easy that he’ll create a wardrobe that works for him.