Not all that long ago, women over
60 were relegated to the hinterlands of style. Phrases like “dressing like your
grandma” or “dressing like an old lady” were the unkindest dig one could make
about someone’s attire.
But the times they are a-changin’
and all for the better. Today, fashionable women in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and
even 90s are showing the world a new face, our
face. Yes, it’s an aging one, but it’s also a fun-loving, fierce, visible, and
It’s the face of survivors and
thrivers who are actually enjoying the second half of their life and dressing
to show it. And we owe it to our grandchildren to teach them how it’s done.
So what age children are we
talking about where shopping education is concerned?
Ideally, you can start when they
are as young as five or six. That way they will be used to making intelligent
decisions by the time they reach those teen years. They will have more knowledge
of their style, more sense of themselves, and more common sense about how to
present themselves well.
Now, of course, we all know that teenagers
are just going to wear exactly what they want to wear, including any number of
crazy combinations. But if we can take fashion inspiration from younger generations,
we can also provide gentle guidance to their children.
Here are some topics we know a
thing or two about.
Unique Coloring and Style Choices
By the time kids are five or six,
you can already see some of the colors that work best for their coloring.
You can say things like, “That
color makes you look happy, and it makes me happy when I see you in it. That
was a good choice!” Or, “What a (pretty or nice) pattern you chose. It matches
your (sunny, playful, energetic, creative – pick your adjective) personality.”
Then you can ask them what they
like about it. You want to support their good choices. If they say, “Mom picked
it out” then you can simply ask what they
think of it.
Some kids couldn’t care less what
they wear or will just wear the same thing over and over again. Even then,
there might be some way to ask them what they like about it. And then listen.
That gives them room to be honest.
Teaching Them How
to Shop Economically
Yes, I know you want to spoil your
grandkids, and it’s a grandparents’ privilege. But think about this: Do you
want to establish a relationship based on what they can expect from you (and
what they can expect from your will!), or do you want to be a source of wisdom
that they want to keep around for a long time?
Before embarking on a shopping
trip with your grandkids, sit with them and make a list of what they might need
or want. Regardless of who is paying – you or their parents – set a budget. And then, consider where
they will likely find what they need within that budget.
Talk with them ahead of time about
which shops they like and why. And then see if those are within the budget
you’ve set. You’re not only teaching them about style, you’re setting them up
for responsible shopping into their adulthood.
Rather Than Quantity
For all of us, shopping for
clothing with lasting quality is always better than going for quantity. Yes,
kids are going to grow out of what they wear quickly.
Still, most of them like repeating
outfits (unless you have one of those that loves to experiment) so there’s no
harm in buying just a few things that are well made and will look for repeated
wear. And be sure to point out that they do look good in those items and explain
When they see themselves looking
sharp and being complimented on it, but especially why they do, that sets a great habit for future shopping choices.
Although children, like adults,
have unique coloring, there are some colors that you may want to discourage
them from wearing.
Mom may appreciate the darker ones
because they hide stains better. But very dark colors make kids less visible,
particularly at dusk or nighttime. It’s just safer to have them wear a lighter
color when they cross the street or ride a bike.
Although red is certainly a
stand-out color, it can be tricky, especially for very young and pre-teen
girls. Red is simply a color of passion and high vibration. You might want to
steer them to lighter versions, maybe in paler corals or pinks.
Just as with adults, the entire
range of blues and greens in what we wear projects a sense of confidence, and
that’s a great thing for a child. But generally, let them experiment in the
area of color. It will give them a chance to express their individuality.
Without coming off like a nun with
a ruler or a prissy school marm, you can still share the importance of wearing
clean, pressed, and modest clothing that doesn’t expose them in unflattering
ways or that looks sloppy.
Even more importantly, you can help
them learn about what is good taste. And, you can do this subtly. Study artbooks
with them and talk about why a particular photo or painting is beautiful. Take
them to a museum or gallery.
Study nature and ask them how it
expresses harmony, symmetry, and beauty; or why, when it is asymmetrical, it
can still be beautiful, artistically.
This is the way you open the door
for your grandkids to appreciate the natural world around them. That can
greatly influence how they put themselves together in the future and is a great
way to introduce them to the world of art.
Taking Care of and
Appreciating What You Own
Finally, Marie Kondo has reminded
all of us to thank our clothes for the joy they create. Many children in the
world have so many fewer things and fewer choices. Remind your grandkids how
fortunate they are. And you can teach children to show respect for the value of
their things by taking good care of them.
That means, folding or putting
them back on the hanger at the end of the day, or putting them in the hamper
for washing when they are soiled, rather than throwing them around the room or in
When kids are thoughtfully
invested in making decisions about what they wear, they will likely be more
careful with their clothes.
was the last time you had a shopping afternoon with children? How did it go?
What did you teach them? What did you learn from them? Would you repeat the
experience? Please share in the comments below!