No matter what size, you can make shopping a pleasant experience for both your daughter and you.
I was always the skinny girl. You know the one to whom the salesgirl always says, “Take it in the smallest size?” As an adult, the weight piled on and I struggled to find clothing but, I still thank Hashem all the time that I had a childhood free of social pressure and weight stigma.
My girls, however, are built differently. Two are larger than average for their age and I was determined to ensure that their confidence remained intact throughout the shopping process. I have learned so much from shopping with them, through lots of trial and error.
The good news? They love to shop which means it’s working. Here are some tips that have worked for me— I would love if you would share what works for you and we can all help each other.
#1: You can shop online but it is a bit more challenging. I have found one or two brands that work for us and I can predict if an item on their site will work or not.
#2: If in doubt, size up. Order a size up or bring sizes up to the dressing room. It’s always more pleasant for a girl to hear “oh my goodness it’s swimming on you— let’s try a size smaller” than “the zipper won’t close.”
#3: Scout stores first. I know this takes time and as a full-time working mother I don’t find this easy, but I do it anyway. I go into the stores before I take my girls and ensure that they have enough of a selection this season that can work. Personally I owe a huge thank you to some frum brands who have made clothing that fit my girls—there are some out there that have been incredible for us. Obviously selection varies season to season…it pays to check each time.
#4: Undergarments. No joke. My girls were paranoid about being measured for bras. They all matured early and the daughters who have larger bodies also have larger breasts but weren’t prepared to wear bras at so early an age (4th grade for one of them!) Rechy at MySelf Lingerie understood this and created a line of undershirts that serve as starter bras and can be used for tiny bodies as well as larger ones. They are unnoticeable and in changing pool areas they needn’t feel discomfort. When it came time for regular bras, I kept them home from school and took them early in the morning to beat the crowds for their comfort.
#5: Eat well. Sleep well. This is true when shopping with any child but particularly if you want to keep a sunny disposition and muster all the patience you have as the less than easy shopping trips take place…eat a good meal before. Be well rested.
#6 Give compliments that are size-neutral like “that color makes your face light up!” Or “love the ruffle on the sleeve, it gives such a fun vibe”. And if something doesn’t work I say “Oh, this doesn’t work! You can do better, let me find something!” I don’t use words like fit or size. Most of all, educate yourself about shape vs. size and learn the styles that work well for your daughter and have fun with them!
#7: Checkout with joy! Whether you found one item or five, tell your daughter how much you love her taste and how you will keep shopping till you find the most beautiful things for a most beautiful girl.
Our girls may pretend that it’s only their friends’ fashion opinions that count but every mother knows otherwise. It’s the words that we utter in that dressing room or as the child faces that mirror that have the ability to build or destroy a child’s confidence. It is our spoken and unspoken words that create an adult ready to conquer the world in the comfort of her own skin.
#8: Add more fun! If you can, add a non-clothing stop. A book store. A slush. The dollar store. Something small that will cement for the kid that this was a good fun day!
#9: Shop with them. When girls shop alone and then bring home clothing, if you don’t like it (it makes her look busty, the fabric, the cut…) then it’s personal. You didn’t like what she chose. But when you’re in a store and you don’t like what she chose, it becomes the store’s “fault” for not having the right things.
Ironically, we’ve had lots of great luck with some fashion finds on Amazon. You can see my picks in this post.