As a vegan stylist and mother of both a tween and teen daughter, I’m intrigued by how we’re constantly chartering new waters when it comes to our individual clothing choices.
For tweens and young teens, the necessity for constant size changes is only the beginning. Progressing from child-like prints and styles also calls for updates. Then there’re the social pressures, created by fast-fashion retailers and fueled by peers, which can muster up great uncertainties. The result is often a closet packed with ‘trial and error’, outgrown or outdated, and orphaned pieces.
Yet with some delicate intervention a parent can offer early guidance: steps which offer longevity throughout her years of developing her style choices.
Especially when dealing with style-opinionated tweens and young teens, the answer lies in accepting and allowing for their complete self-expression, whilst raising their style-awareness.
Here are 7 Steps to Guide a Teen’s Closet Clean:
1. Set the scene: Find a good time that’ll ensure there’re no interruptions from siblings, calls etc. This is her time.
2. Questions to ask: Allow her to try on each item and run through these questions:
- does it make her feel confident?
- does the fit feel and look good to her?
- does it represent her desired sense of style?
- does the colour feel good to wear (or does she feel tired or drained by it)?
3. Divide and conquer: Your role is only to facilitate her process, so allow her to make the choices, with each item going into 1 of 4 piles:
- keep (YES to all above questions)
- sell (NO but too good to donate)
- donate (NO or indifference to the item)
- repair/clean (YES to all above questions)
4. Make the closet her store: Arrange each kept item by helping to fold, hang, pack and organise the available space. Using the same hangers throughout, with accessories neatly and accessibly displayed, gives the closet a boutique-style feel, making it an attractive, creative area she can enjoy.
5. Establish her underlying style preference: By looking through her eventual choices, by way of prints, styles, colours, fabrics and mood, you can both identify her current style aesthetic. This goes a long way in knowing what to look for when shopping.
6. Write up a wish list: Together identify key pieces, needed or desired, to complete her closet – perhaps all bottoms were thrown out or a fashionably-coloured seasonal cardigan is desired.
7. Set an example: One can’t expect to guide by telling without practicing what you preach. Ensure that your own closet’s state, clothing choices, and buying habits are admirable, and best reflect your style-awareness.
Above all, remember in some way we’re all developing, refining or completely rethinking our fashion choices, so even if you’re feeling unsettled or less than thrilled with her choices, patience and acceptance for what is, is vital. “This too shall pass.”