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How do I approach my very religious and conservative parents about my clothes?

Tagged as: Family, Teenage, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 February 2018) 5 Answers - (Newest, 19 February 2018)
A female United States age 18-21, *shleighkaylin writes:


I wrote in about my parents before and I updated what their problem was and I am having another issue. This one is actual clothes. My parents, especially my mother, are really worried I’ll end up re-doing my whole wardrobe since I got all new undergarments. Well, that was exactly what I looked forward to finally doing! Actually wearing clothes in MY style that I choose and pay for on my own. I’m not talking about wearing pants or anything really provocative or showy, just something that actually looks nice and doesn’t scream high school student. Back home, the pastor’s daughters dress fashionably and they wear nice boots and scarves and do up their hair and everything but my mother thinks they all dress too showy. I don’t think so at all. I’m not even trying to do that either. Think more along the lines of Jessa Duggar, clothes like that.

My whole wardrobe is either shapeless dresses my mom makes for me or else my old school uniform. See, before my mom became a Christian, before she became really worldly and was a bad alcoholic like my father, she was raised Mormon and she actually made her own clothes. She’s not making Mormon clothes for me but they’re shapeless dresses in pastels and I just really want to wear things that are designed by professionals. Our school uniform consisted of skirts with button-down blouse, pantyhose and flat black dress shoes with no designs on them. The colors had to be black with white blouse, khaki with b lack, navy with pale yellow, or dark grey with light blue. They had to come from an actual uniform store so there’s no way for me to make that look like normal clothes. My parents think it just looks professional but I want to look more grown up. I don’t want anything crazy. We were allowed to wear denim skirts with whatever color blouse we wanted with plain black or white sneakers on Fridays but that’s it. All I want is to buy more denim skirts or some plain black dresses since we dress all in black when we’re performing (for music) anyway.

There’s this thrift store in a shopping strip across from campus. I already called them and they said they’d love to have uniform skirts. They even give you .25 cents on the dollar (their price) for each clothing article you turn in in store credit. So that means I can turn in a skirt and get $1.00 in store credit and I’ve got six skirts that I want to turn in plus nine blouses. I want to use that money so that I can just buy a few denim skirts. My roommate Hailey (not the one with the money, my other roommate who is really nice) goes in there a few times a month and she bought me two skirts already just to be nice. They were $4 each and she said not to worry about it. The one is an A-line basically and it’s striped in three different colors of denim, kinda patch-work like but it’s really pretty. It’s below the knee so it’s perfectly conservative. The other one is a dark blue sort of pencil skirt that hits mid-calf and it came with a red belt. I like that one too, she did a really good job of choosing things I liked and she was good at finding ones that fit too!

I’m not sure what my parents are going to think when they find out I’m turning in my uniform skirts or even if they’d let me if I ask them. I can’t see anything wrong with the styles I want because I really do like things that look simple. Maybe, at MOST something with some embroidery on it, nothing too fancy. I really do want to ask them so they won’t blow up but I don’t want them to say no and I’ll be stuck. Hailey isn’t the same kind of Christian we are but she is a Christian and she doesn’t go to parties. She’s really sporty (she plays volleyball and runs track) and that’s way too important to her to mess that up by partying. Also, she doesn’t even want to think of dating until she gets her degree anyway, she’s even said that many times. She’s a good person and I’d ask her to go with me.

So basically I’m asking for how I approach my parents on this while sounding really reasonable:

1. I don’t want to dress like a high school student

2. I want to DONATE the uniform skirts I do have

3. I’m just looking for denim skirts that aren’t too showy but are cute

4. I plan to pay for them and to take Hailey with me so I won’t be going alone and boys won’t try to talk to me.

Any ideas for me?

View related questions: alcoholic, christian, money, navy, roommate

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (19 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntGet the therapy. Find time.

Don't deliberately send pictures to your parents of things they won't like.

Doing everything in a short period of time is mostly what's worrying them. Absolutely figure out who you are, but slow it down - not just to give them time to adjust, but yes, it can be a slippery slope because you can get caught up in attention and doing things you don't normally do.

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A female reader, ashleighkaylin United States +, writes (19 February 2018):

ashleighkaylin is verified as being by the original poster of the question

ashleighkaylin agony auntIts a little late in the year/semester, but I discovered that the campus clinic offers FREE counseling for students. I explained to the nurse practitioner (when I had a sinus thing sorry to be graphic) that I was afraid my parents would find out if I tried to get therapy since I'm on their insurance. It's still free! There is also a new group I unfortunately don't have time for: helicopter survivors. My parents are helicopter parents. I'd never heard that term before! I also did something big: I did go to the thrift store and sent pictures of the six new skirts I bought. I did more: I went to the nearby beauty shop and donated hair. It is NOT against my religion to cut hair, that's my mom. It's now at my waist, more manageable, and I don't have a perpetual headache. I went with my roommate H. We were gone two hours. No one mugged me or corrupted me or assaulted me. My mom was furious bc she's afraid I'll be on a slippery slope. Actually? I've gotten compliments on my hair now since I learned to French braid and fishtail. My hair is suddenly THE hair lots of girls in the dorm want to play with. But is this attention bad?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 February 2018):

I remember you! You were the one whose parents tracked her on her phone and then sent church people to get you were in the mall.You are over 18 . You can legally wear what you want.You do not have to listen to your parents anymore because you are an adult.If your parents track your phone again and send church people to get you call the police.Cut the apron strings with Mom and Dad and learn to think on your own like an adult does.Get really do need it.Not the church based either.Get real theapy with an educated professional.Time for you to put your big girl pants on and be who you want to thine own self be true.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 February 2018):

You don't want to dress like Jessa Duggar. Not long ago, she was criticized for dressing immodestly, in too-tight clothes. If you put any of the Duggar girls in jeans instead of denim skirts, they'd look just like any other worldly girls. You want to dress grown up rather than High School student the last thing you want is denim. Keep wearing business casual, just replace your uniform skirts with khakis or black you'd see in an office, nix the fancy patterns. Instead, replace your blouses with nice, respectable silk or satin and maybe a simple but pretty pin or bracelet. Your parents are AFRAID you'll blend in.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (12 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntSay those things, very calmly and don't allow yourself to take part in an argument. State those things, then leave it. Don't get annoyed or frustrated. Accept that she won't see it the same as you do. You're an adult - be responsible, look for a way to move out and avoid acting childish when she acts overbearing.

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