Dear Straight Talk: I have school shopping to do and while I like my kids to pick out their own clothes, I often find myself in the role of “fashion police.” Many of the shorts are so short and the tops so low-cut or shear. What does the panel say about reasonableness for shorts, skirts, see-through tops, and plunging necklines? I would also like to know what peer judgments are made towards those whose attire rises or dips beyond reasonable. I read your column every week and would be so pleased to find this information. — Yuba City, Calif. Mom
Omari, 19: Making sure your kids are dressed appropriately is important because girls not wearing enough clothes are judged as promiscuous. Short skirts and shorts will always be in fashion, but they must be appropriate. It's your job to set the rules, but it might work better if they came across as suggestions rather than police authority. Another tactic is to let them wear what they want for a week and ask if people perceive them differently and how they felt dressing like that.
Taylor, 16: Showing a little cleavage is fine. Showing leg is fine. A shear top that exposes some skin is fine. What isn't cool is when any of these is overdone. Then it looks trashy. I can't give exact measurements because all bodies are different. The goal is to keep it classy.
Molly, 21: I use the "pick-one-or-the-other" rule. If I'm wearing something short, I won't wear a low-cut top. Or vice versa. See-through tops should be worn with a tank or camisole underneath. I don't wear a lot of revealing clothing now (compared to high school) because of the negative attention it gets me where I live.
Brennan, 19: In high school, it's fairly accepted that too much cleavage makes a girl appear easy. Short shorts are considered reasonable — however, that's ONLY if all is contained therein. If all is NOT contained, it is considered trashy and slutty, not only by guys but girls, too (who can be ruthless judges). Lots of makeup, dyed hair, or extreme piercings usually spell "insecurity" which equals “easy." Girls have a lot more pressure than boys, fashion-wise. At college, this high school pressure falls away and seems so pointless.
Gregg, 22: It's fun to look at girls whose shorts don't cover everything, but we're are all thinking “slutty” and would never date that girl.
Dear Mom: People are constantly judged by their appearance — especially women. (There isn't a peep here about men.) Over-exposing oneself is separate from personal style, which I support. Over-exposure also exposes that something is “off” in the teen’s life. It's definitely up to parents to set rules.
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