School Clothes Shopping with a Middle School Girl

Today I am going to reach out to you and ask you, is this a Money 4 This or Not 4 That?  If you have a middle school girl you know exactly where I am headed.   If you don’t, but you remember your middle school years you too know where I am headed.

Boys are different, they never really care.  My son he is getting pickier, but just as long as he doesn’t have to go along for the ride, then he’s appreciative.

Girls.  Girls are different.  Middle school girls are even more different.  Those are the hard years.  The years the girls go from little girls to young ladies and hit a bit of gangly in between.   One day your shirt was crumpled and your hair barely combed.  The next they needed the right clothes and smooth hair.

Girls start forming cliques, and they quickly eliminate those that aren’t cool.  AND they get mean!

First time parents get blindsided with this new phenomenon.  We aren’t really sure what to do.  If your family is on a budget it’s more stressful, but nonetheless, they are demanding so much more and we need to figure out how and if we will give in.

I have shared this story in the past, but I will share it again.

My daughter came to me, when she was in 8th grade, and told me she wanted all her clothes from Hollister.  Knowing the price of Hollister and knowing my budget for school clothes, I knew the two would not line up.

Finally I just told her how much she had to spend.  She took her money and my money and walked into Hollister with $200.  Then walked out happy as a clam an hour later with 7 things.  Want to see how this played out?

7 things to last her the whole year
7 things to base her outfits around 5 days a week for how many weeks?
7 things that didn’t create a whole outfit

It was so important for her to have those clothes.  We talk a lot about being true to yourself and not letting clothes define you.  BUT we are talking to a middle school girl here.  Good parenting and awesome advice doesn’t make Target clothing look any cooler.

My question to all my readers is this:

Is buying the right clothes for your Middle School daughter a

Money4This – get her what she needs, it’s a hard enough time and you don’t want her feeling left out?
Not4That – Teach them it’s not about the clothes, Target and Old Navy are fine?

Here’s an article by a young girl and what she has learned and how she goes about it.


  1. Amy, I have one middle schooler this year, and one that just finished. Clothes are important! But both discovered very quickly though that they could get a lot more for their money AND find “name” brands by shopping at Plato’s closet and other resale stores rather than spend all their budgeted money at the mall. They also like having clothes that not “everyone else” has (which is what you run into with mall clothes).

    Resale has also been a godsend for us for jeans. Our oldest is very thin, wears size 00, and new jeans that fit start at $36 per pair and go up from there at the mall. We have been able to find name-brand skinny jeans at Plato’s for $16-$18 per pair.

    I think your daughter learned a valuable lesson when she only got 7 things from Hollister. We’ve gone through the same thing, but our girls learned strategies (sometimes the hard way) to make their budgeted amount go further. With three girls to clothe, I have to stick to our budget, so am happy they are open to more frugal shopping and not insisting we buy only from one store.

  2. Laura you are so correct with resale. We have done a little of that in the past. I really wish clothes weren’t THAT important, it’s a tough one. I also love that you too gave your kids a budget and let them choose. It really shows them the value of money.