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Shopping with the enemy. (Shopping With Your Mom A Survival Guide).

OK, usually your mom is your strongest ally. But when it comes to clothes shopping, it's like you two are suddenly in mallrat combat! Believe it or not, that dreaded back-to-school trek to the mall doesn't have to be Mission Impossible 3. Here's our survival guide....

Back in second grade, you couldn't care less what you wore to school. It was simple--Mom dressed you in a pair of OshKosh overalls and a white turtleneck covered with giraffes, and off you skipped to the first day of school. You weren't exactly a fashion plate, but who cared? At the time, you were way more into the jungle gym than leopard-print pants.

Flash forward: Things have changed. You have your own sense of style, and you're totally into the hottest trends. But back-to-school shopping with Mom brings more bickering than an episode of The Osbournes. She wants to buy you sensible sweaters and knee-length skirts, while you're dying to express your inner diva with halter tops and studded jeans. Or she thinks everything you like is too expensive. Or maybe she's allergic to anything remotely Britney, so she immediately nixes all items that are fitted, or low-riding.

Any of this sound familiar? All of this sound familiar? We thought so. But shopping with your mom doesn't have to be a total drag. We have some groovy solutions to some sticky issues that will make this year's school shopping spree way fun--and could even bring you two closer.

SHE DIGS IT...YOU DON'T

Obviously, a common shopping prob is being on two different planets when it comes to agreeing on what's fashionable attire and what's not. "My mom is really practical, and I would rather go funky or trendy," says Dianna. "She likes solid color tees and sweaters, but I like glitter jeans and those cool Adidas jackets."

Even more common are moms who pick out stuff that's big-time babyish. Brooke complains, "She likes these 'cute' little puppy slippers for me--I'm 12, not 2! We don't agree on anything when we shop."

Whatever your mom's deal is, you're seeing yourself as a cool chick whose new maturity calls for a more grown-up look. Does your mom know you're thinking this way? She's not a mind reader so, if you haven't told her, now's the time.

Chances are, Mom isn't out to diss your choices because she wants to start a huge honking war with you in the middle of Wet Seal. Nor does she get her jollies out of dressing you like a super-dork. She's probably just totally clueless as to the fashion vibe you'd like to give off.

You might be equally in the dark when it comes to why your mom picks out certain outfits for you. Is she trying to stick to a budget? Does she go for ultra-conservative stuff because she thinks it's the latest style? Is your mom having trouble watching you grow up--and buys you tot-lot clothes because she can't let go of the image of you as her "little girl"? Or is it possible that you two simply have different tastes?

The best way to get to the bottom of this is to chat about it before you hit the mall. Set up a gab session with your Mom the night before the big shopping day. Let her know exactly what you like and why. Grab your GL and some catalogs, and show her some new looks to give her a clear picture of what you'd like to sport this season. Then be fair, and hear out Mom's perspective.

Finish up your chat by making a shopping list together, (say, how many shirts or pairs of pants you'll be getting) so there won't be any in-store surprises. Also, work out in advance how you'll deal if you see something totally cute that you really, really want that's not on the list: Will Mom treat or spring for half? Or will you blow your own dough on it?

YOU DIG IT...SHE DISSES IT

You're sticking to the list and you're about halfway through the mall, when you drag Mom into the juniors department at Macy's. You zone in on a totally cool pair of DKNY stretch denim flares--and they're on sale! Mom seems all for it (after all, jeans are on the agenda) until...you get 'em on in the dressing room.

Your mother isn't all that thrilled with the belly-baring aspect of this particular pair of pants. Veto! But you love the way they fit and feel you can't live without them.

Tell her. Calmly. Nicely. Like in that voice you use when you're hitting her up for a raise in your allowance. Explain that you understand her reservations but that you adore the jeans. Maybe you can agree that you'll wear the low-riders only on weekends and not to school.

But if she's adamantly anti-DKNY, drop the subject and appreciate where she's coming from. When push comes to shove, she's the one with the charge card--and she's the one who's in charge! Sorry. If she won't bend, you'll have to give in. No hissy fits. All that will do is prove that maybe you should be wearing a baby-pink satin dress with white patent leather Mary Janes. Show composure, and maybe Mom will remember your maturity on the next shopping trip.

CLASHIN' OVER CASH

Brandy and her mother always argue about money when they shop. "She thinks everything is either too expensive or that I don't really need it," Brandy says. "And she won't let me buy clothes by myself because she thinks I'll use up all my money on one outfit."

You know the drill. You see a pair of Steve Madden wedges you've just gotta have--except they're 50 bucks. Mom says they are way too expensive so you launch into mega-pout mode. Or Mom is a total bargain hunter, so she's constantly dragging you to gruesome clearance racks, where all the clothes look like That '80s Show rejects. Yep, meltdowns over money are sure to put a damper on any shopping trip.

When it comes to cash, cut Mom some slack. After all, she has a far better handle on the family finances than you do. It's really, really uncool to make Mom feel cruddy because she can't afford to buy you $80 flares. So don't get bratty--get creative! Say you really want this amazing pair of applique whisker wash bell bottoms, but Mom says they're way out of her price range. So why not get that plain pair Mom can afford, and decorate them with cool patches? Much groovier option.

What's the best way to prove to Mom you can be trusted not to blow all your hard-earned babysitting stash on something lame? Make yourself a budget, and stick to it. Figure out how much moolah you need for practical stuff, like school supplies. Then, stash some dinero aside for fun stuff. Explain your financial strategy to Mom, and ask her if you can use your extra dough to buy something special, like those too-cute butterfly barrettes at Claire's. Bets are on that Mom will say "yes" to such a reasonable, carefully budgeted purchase.

If your mom is heavy into discount stores and sidewalk sales, get into the spirit of the hunt. If you take your time and scour the racks, there really are some fab finds at rock-bottom prices! Also, don't forget how amazing vintage looks can be. You can find funky stuff for dirt-cheap at your local Salvation Army or Goodwill.

MEET IN THE MIDDLE

The No. 1 rule when it comes to shopping with Mom? Be a girl who can negotiate. Show your mom you totally respect her by trying on that frilly purple blouse she thinks would look pretty on you. That doesn't mean you have to buy it, but who knows? Maybe it'll be totally gorge with those dark-rinse Levi's you love.

Compromise is the trick to a super-successful shopping trip. Colleen and her mom have worked out a system they both agree on so Colleen can score cool stuff, and her mom can get major deals. "I get my first-day-of-school outfit at The Limited, Wet Seal or Deb," Colleen explains. "Then, we head to Wal-Mart to buy everything else."

Anna feels that being reasonable and fair with her mom really makes their shopping sprees special. "The only rule to what I buy is, it can't be extremely overpriced and it can't look like I got it second-hand off Britney. And I'm cool with that," she says. "We can cruise the mall for hours without getting in a fight and, usually after that, we'll stop for a root beer and a burger." Good times!

TOGETHERNESS RULES!

A shopping trip with your mom is a great opportunity for some mother-daughter time. After all, being friends with your mom is beyond amazing! (Plus, your mom will likely spring for the pizza.)

You can even learn stuff you didn't know about each other. Heck, your mom's opinions on style might be way cooler than you ever thought. "I love to shop with my mom," says Sheila. "My mom will just stand behind me while I pick out my clothes and offer suggestions like, 'Your cat necklace would go great with that blouse.'"

The more fun experiences you share with your mom, the closer you two will get and the easier it will be to agree. So, you know what they say--shop 'til you drop!
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Author:Mulcahy, Lisa
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Words:1575
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