Have you ever been clothes shopping with a tween girl?
Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been shopping with a tween girl. My daughter is almost 25 and we made it through, although barely. We argued about a lot of things during the tween and teen years. Clothing was only one of those things, but needless to say, shopping trips were rarely pleasant. If I liked something, she hated it, and vice versa. On the rare occasions we found the magical unicorn (AKA an article of clothing we could both agree on) it would be so far beyond our budget that we’d have to make the choice between buying a t-shirt and paying the water bill. I’m exaggerating, but only a little.
I used to be convinced that the people who designed clothes for preteen girls were the same people who designed club wear for women in their 20s. Ultra-short shorts. Fitted shirts that showed plenty of belly if you … you know, moved your arms. Lots of sequins and pink (everything was hot pink unless it was purple). And don’t even get me started with the sweatpants with “princess” bedazzled across the butt.
I remembered being a young girl and feeling awkward about my developing body, yet still wanting to look fashionable and to wear what the other girls were wearing. When I shared this tidbit with my daughter, she’d raise her eyebrow skeptically. She probably wanted to retort that I was too old to remember being anything but an adult. We’d argue our way through the girls’ department every single shopping trip. I would feel relief when we were done — and dread when she showed signs of outgrowing something.
Apparently, times haven’t changed.
For Sharon Choksi, clothes shopping with her daughter had become a nightmare. Her daughter didn’t like short-shorts, tight fits, or anything with frills or bows. She’s entitled, right? Not all girls have to like those things but the brands that make girls’ clothing didn’t seem to get that memo.
More often than not, they’d buy clothes for her daughter Maya from the boys’ section where the fit was still not quite right. Shouldn’t there be a middle ground between tight and skimpy and loose and boxy?
After struggling to find clothes that her daughter liked, Choksi decided to do some research. She collected both boys’ and girls’ clothes from 10 retailers and took simple measurements to compare. She learned that girls’ shirts were one to three inches thinner, with shorter sleeves. Girls’ shorts were barely a third of the length of boys’ shorts. The differences in fit were consistent across brands. This wasn’t a case of “some brands just run small.”
This also wasn’t a case of “boy bodies and girl bodies are different.” Beyond the obvious, this isn’t really true in the preteen years.
The result of Choksi’s research is Girls Will Be, a clothing line that launched in 2013. This fun, colorful line of clothing is designed for girls sizes 4-14. For the mom whose shopping options have been frilly, girly-girl duds with lace and glitter versus hoochie mama, Girls Will Be will be a welcome change.
True, there’s nothing wrong with shades of pink, ruffles, and princess crowns, but not every girl wants that or wants that all the time. Girls Will Be breaks the mold with fun clothes that are somewhere between ultra-girly and drab boys clothes.
The shorts are designed with longer inseams and real pockets. Have you ever noticed that many girls’ clothes have tiny or fake pockets? Girls need a place to put their stuff, too, and now they have it. The colors are bright and happy: lots of lime green, bright blue, and yes, even some cool hot pink accents. It all works.
And no, there are never going to be guarantees that clothes shopping with your daughter won’t make you cringe or that this cool line of clothes is going to be the cure-all for mother-daughter clothing-related drama. But doesn’t it make you feel good to know that moms and girls now have some different choices?
Due to the recent press coverage, Girls Will Be are out of some items but the overwhelming response just reinforces the need for these “in the middle” outfits for our girls. We need to teach our next generation of women that they are strong, fearless, and that they can wear clothes that allow them to express themselves, doing whatever makes them happy.
That might be playing sports, building something with Legos, or rocking their science project. And, it also might be playing with dolls or pretend makeup. Who we are as women (and future women) is so much more than what our hobbies or our favorite colors are.
And now we have a brand of girls’ clothes that gets that.