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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dressing homeschoolers fashionably... there's a dilemma

When I started homeschooling, there was a lot of talk about homeschool uniforms.  You know, moms in denim jumpers, kids in prairie wear.  I made it a point to dress as fashionably as possible, even though I really did love my denim dresses (but I owned them long before I ever decided to homeschool).

With my own wardrobe as fashionable and trendy as possible...  T-shirts, jeans (not mom jeans), cute dresses, etc, it came time to help my children form their own styles.  I was grateful that being the height of fashion was not on my son's agenda.  In our Atlanta suburb, saggy jeans that show underwear, $100.00+ sneakers, and other thug-wear is very popular.  I wasn't having it, and my son had no desire to do it either.  So, yes, his clothes border or a little nerdy... we like to call it preppy.  He has a more casual version of his father's professional wardrobe.  Good and done.

But then there was... the girl.  Dressing girls is a pain and a struggle.  They like to experiment.  They don't know the difference between fashionable and skanky.   There are so many nuances, that need to
be explained such as leggings with heels gives a much different impression than leggings with flats.  It has been years of struggle, but we began with a set of modesty rules:

1. Say no to crack (a belt will help with that)
2.  Leggings are not pants, they are tights without feet, wear them accordingly, or I burn them
3.  Shirts should reach the hip.  If your shirt is not long enough, layer or toss it out.
4.  Skirt hems should be no shorter than fingertips when your arms are hanging... unbend your elbows. Even then, I can insist tights or leggings be added.
5.  Always do a cleavage check and layer as necessary.

And we add NEW RULES  as necessary such as...

~If I can see your navel through your shirt, your shirt is too tight.
~ Only one steampunk or Emo accessory at a time, we get it... you're cool
~No thigh highs.... because we said so
~Don't wear heels and short skirts together

I don't mean to be legalistic.  We've visited a very conservative college every year for competitions and the kids had dress as if they were ashamed of their bodies.  I don't agree with that.  But there is not way to anticipate all of the crazy that can happen in a young woman's wardrobe.  I do my best to shortcut this by purchasing classic, well fit clothes as much as possible, but at a certain age, they need some say in what they are going to wear.  But the last thing I want is for someone to get the wrong impression based on what either of my kids wear.   I'd rather risk the unsocialized homeschooler stereotype.

This isn't really, a current issue, most of the time, seeing as my daughter is a high school senior, but there are a couple of pieces that will mysteriously disappear when we are packing for college.

Do you struggle setting clothing standards for homeschool teens?  How did you resolve it?



Anonymous said...

I feel very lucky. We started homeschooling for high school and my boy couldn't care less what he wears. Costco jeans (traditional cut--not saggy, not tight) and LL Bean polo shirts (can wash & wear a million times and they hold up) suit him fine and look presentable. Add slip-on shoes (moccasins or suede) and everyone's happy. Nobody notices what boys wear so long as they're traditional.

Happy Elf Mom said...

I love your rules. And especially the idea that Mom gets to veto stuff just because. :)