Having a daughter to buy clothes for is supposed to be fun. According to friends of mine with all boys, I am “lucky” to be able to pick out girl outfits. I partly agree — it was fun, until the last year or so. Sadly, my daughter is starting to look much older than her seven years would suggest. Now, I have a whole new set of criteria for what I’m ok with her wearing and it’s made shopping for her not as much fun as it’s supposed to be.
My daughter is very tall for her age. That alone would not concern me but she also seems to have lost any trace of baby chub that might allude to her actual age and the end result is that she could easily pass for a fifth grader. A fact that appears to be a point of pride for her, as she tells tales of the cafeteria employees and other teachers not believing she’s only in second grade. I suppose I can understand why this makes her happy. I remember being a young girl and wanting people to think I was older and until the premature arrival of my womanly figure, being told I looked older made me very happy.
That said, my seven year old looking eleven is not something I’m particularly excited about. When we shop for clothes, I try to steer her away from the shorter skirts and the clingy tops that might look innocent on other girls her age but that only make her look like she’s on the cusp of middle school. It’s not that I think these clothes are horrible in and of themselves, it’s that in my opinion, she should look her age. If she looks older, people might treat her as if she is. And not only is she seven, she is a pretty naive seven. She is not worldly beyond her years by any means. As much as I’m not ready for her to look eleven, she is not ready for people to treat her like she’s eleven.
As you can imagine, clothes shopping is a little rough for us right now. She gets upset when I won’t let her wear tiny shorts like her friends but, they are even tinier on her with her long legs. If I buy a size big enough to hit the right length, they are too big in the waist, unless I can find adjustable waistbands. Which will not even be an option once she ages out of girl’s clothes and moves on to teen sizes. I try to steer her to dresses and leggings but this is only going to work for so long. Judging by her growth rate so far, we have maybe a year or two left where she will still fit into Gymboree and it will be on to Junior’s sizing. Have you visited a Junior’s department in any major store lately? Again, no problem with these clothes for girls of the appropriate age, but my daughter is not. Not yet, at least.
As hard as it may be, I am determined to help my daughter look her age for as long as I still have a say in such things. I am not a prude and one day, when she is a teenager and wants to wear more revealing clothing, I won’t shame her for it. I want her to be proud of her body and if that means short-shorts then I’m fine with it. For now, I want my little girl to look like like a little girl. It all goes by too fast anyway, I see no need to rush.