Being a mom has its fashion challenges. You don't want to look like a jungle cat on the prowl, but you do want to retain some fashion savvy. You try to avoid the mom jeans at all costs, but are the low-rise, skinny jeans right for you? Trends come and go and change so fast. How's a busy mom supposed to keep up? Aha! There's probably a fashion consultant living under your own roof -- your tween -- and she can teach you most of the things you need to know.
Your budding fashionista can be an inspiration, and it won't take bribery to learn the best style secrets, either. You don't want to copy her every fashion move, though. Let's face it; tweens are a little more daring than we are, and they can get away with a whole lot more than we can. Just pay close attention to the way your daughter behaves, and you'll be one up on all the other soccer moms in the neighborhood.
Watch the Stars
You don't have to subscribe to the latest style publications to know what's coming down the fashion runway. The Internet is overflowing with fresh photos from last night's Hollywood premiere or other star-studded event. All you need to do is spare 10 minutes to take a peek. That's kinda what your tween is doing -- but she's probably making a bigger production of it. While she's printing photos and texting her friends about her teen idol's latest ensemble, make a mental note of what's hot and what's not. Special tip: Pay attention to details like shoe heel height, accessories, collar styles and color combinations. The next time you hit the mall, we guarantee you'll be seeing similar items for sale within your price range.
Find a New Path
Your tween is trying to find a look and style all her own, and so should you. It's a sure bet that the style persona you were comfortable with 10 years ago just isn't working these days, so find something new that does work. Your tween is evaluating many of the style options the hotties are wearing. She's building an approach she thinks will make a good fit -- in a lot of ways. It doesn't matter if you favor casual comfort, understated elegance, classic business chic or quirky retro dressing; experiment until you find your own new path. The journey can be fun and a great opportunity to bond with your tween.
Dial up the Drama
Do you cringe when you hear the term "mommy jeans"? Is your hair the same style (and color) it was when you were in high school? Maybe playing it safe isn't so safe after all. If the clerks at the grocery store are all calling you "ma'am," it's time to bring in the heavy artillery and consider a makeover. Watch your tween parade around like Cinderella at the ball. She wouldn't be anxious about sporting sequins on her collar or asking for a pair of ruby slippers to wear to the school dance. Life is short, and sticking with neutrals, wash-and-wear fabrics and sensible shoes can get old -- before you do. Live a little.
Don't be Afraid to Experiment
Your tween may regret buying those baby blue sandals next summer when everyone is wearing burnt orange, but at least she wasn't afraid to experiment. It's true she may be a little unclear on the realities of having a limited wardrobe budget, but she's got what they used to call moxie. If she's just spied a fashion photo of a turquoise belt with a pink plaid skirt, she'll beat a path to her closet (and yours) for a way to approximate that look. Sometimes, being fashion-forward isn't about high drama or expensive trappings. Fashion savvy comes with being brave enough to give a little something different a try, whether it's within your comfort zone or not.
You don't have to go completely crazy, though. There are so many ways to take a small risk, while still maintaining a level of sophistication. Buy an inexpensive handbag in a bright color to add some pop to your neutral outfits. Another option is to be adventurous with jewelry. Layer on necklaces of varying lengths, or attach them all together with a brooch.
Shop the Latest Trends
Fashion isn't forever. You may have grown up listening to fashion experts extolling the virtues of wearing a black skirt with a simple white blouse. The only problem is that you can't wear the classics every day without starting to look like you should be waiting tables at the local steakhouse. Every season, dozens of new styles are introduced for everything from suits to stockings. Pay attention. Your tween is, and so are your friends and co-workers.
You don't have to try everything, but if you're willing to explore the options, you'll find two or three looks you actually like. A new sweater, handbag or pair of shoes can make a big difference when paired with your existing favorites. Every season you should adopt a current color, add a fun texture and try a new accessory to rejuvenate your wardrobe -- and your fashion perspective.
Squeezing into a tight pair of Spanx can make you look better, if not feel better. Learn about shapewear by reading this article at HowStuffWorks.
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