Sanity Saving Tips For Shopping With A Teenager

Growing up in the 90's I absolutely dug back to school shopping. I didn't have much personal style except that I would sometimes try to emulate outfits I'd seen in movies but other than that, I just bought what looked cool on the mannequins or a similar version to what I'd seen on friends.  Attending a private high school didn't give me that much in the way of freedom of expression w/ my style the way public schools did. We had a semi-strict dress code and my parents were hella modest so there was a LOT that I knew I couldn't wear.

Now that I have a teenager of my own and dealing with outfitting her for an entire year, things are a little bit different.  I find myself exhibiting similar characteristics of my mother while shopping but I've also caught myself in the act and corrected my behavior. See I don't want my kid to have any type of complex about her body because of my statements about what she chooses to put on it. Nor do I want her to be ashamed of her body in any manner. After 15 years of shopping together, we've finally got it somewhat down in how we approach our shopping and what's age appropriate and still cool.

Over the years I've learned a few hard and fast rules when it comes to shopping with your teenager. Granted, I still think stores with a "juniors" department should serve wine but hey, that's just what would make it easier for me. 
  1. Eat first. Listen, this is really the foundation of any shopping trip. It's the only way to properly avoid a hangry meltdown on either of your part. I know we tend to avoid trying on clothes post meal so if you can't eat, be sure to carry snacks or stop for one. 
  2. Encourage their personal style exploration - The only way to do this is to compromise in some fashion. So you don't love your daughter in crop tops? okay invest in high waist jeans and your problem of baring the belly button is solved. Everyone is happy
  3. Keep your facial expressions even. Or at least attempt to. I know sometimes it can be hard when your teen comes out of the dressing room looking like an extra from the Laguna Beach but try to keep your comments to yourself.
  4. point outfit 'ideas' for inspiration - This works two fold in that you don't want to come off as suggesting that they rock a certain style and you also get a feel for how they see themselves. 
  5. remember what it felt like - this is key. School shopping is stressful enough for us all. Parents are harried and doing mental gymnastics to figure out how to budget for all the necessities while still splurging on some of the needs.
  6. make it fun at the end of the day, this is prime opportunity to chat with your teen as you have their undivided attention (sort of) and you can impart some low-key momisms but still be cool about it. Because I have a daughter we end up getting mani/pedi's while I pry into her life a little bit.

These tips apply to year round shopping and not just back to school. Holiday shopping can also be a drag if no one's in the right mind set and keeping these tips in mind while out and about trying on yet another pair of jeans can save someones life. I kid you not. 


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