I used to battle with my mother over clothes all the time! I wanted to wear ripped jeans and flannel shirts and a dog collar and she wanted me to wear Laura Ashley. I think it’s incredibly typical to clash with a parent on style choices. Teenagers want to assert their independence, and one of the easiest ways to do so is to make decisions about fashion.
On Reddit, one mother is fighting with her tomboy daughter who refuses to dress in formal clothing for an upcoming wedding—and she’s worried if her demands aren’t fair.
“Hi all. My family is Indian-American, but I like to think I am pretty progressive. I (40F) have a son (16M) and a daughter (15F). My daughter has started to become a tomboy over the last 2 years, despises feminine clothing and style. While it has definitely been an adjustment in my perception, I have always tried to be as supportive as possible, and have let her pick her own clothings, only eliminating anything that was graphic or inappropriate,” the OP writes.
“However, my niece was getting married in a traditional, big Indian wedding. While generally all the girls would be wearing formal lehangas (Indian traditional dresses), I dropped it after asking my daughter if she wanted to wear that and she said no (only mentioned it once because she really looks up to my niece and I did not want her to feel left out). When I asked her what she wanted to wear, she said that she’d wear a t-shirt and slacks.”
As the wedding was a black-tie event, the OP insisted that her daughter wear formal clothing of her daughter’s choice—whether it was a suit, dress, or traditional Indian clothing.
She even invited her daughter to come along with her brother and both get new suits tailored for the event. “It could be to her desire (as long as it was appropriate); like a very typical men’s suit or feminine twist like what Zendaya wears.”
“She got angry and said I was constricting her expression. I think she will have to wear formal clothing in other points in her life, whether for work or other formal events. She can express herself however she wants but dressing appropriately for the occasion is a necessary skill.”
The OP says that although the wedding has been postponed, she and her daughter are still fighting about the incident. What should she do?
“I came in expecting op to be forcing the daughter to wear a dress, but daughter can wear whatever she wants as long as its dress code appropriate. OP is being incredibly respectful of their daughter and her style. The daughter is being disrespectful by not wanting to wear appropriate clothing to a formal event,” said Missus_Nicola.
“OP, you said your daughter looks up to your niece. Perhaps if you explain that wearing a T-shirt is not just inappropriate but also incredibly insulting to the bride and groom, she may come around,” suggested stellesbells.
“This is a perfect way of handling it. T-shirt and slacks are not appropriate for a formal wedding AND you gave her the choice between male and female clothing. This is not about her being a tomboy (because you gave her the male options too) but about her being a teenager and not realizing that formal events require formal attire and she needs to suck it up (like everyone else). Teenagers sometimes will be mad at you when you set good rules, I think that’s just a normal part of the teenager-parent interaction. I even think teenagers need to be angry at their parents sometimes because they’re in a rebellious phase of trying out where their anger leads to something and where they need to let go of an idea. If a teenager wouldn’t ever be angry they wouldn’t be a healthy teenager,” said darya42.
“Honestly I admire your willingness to get her the formal attire of her choice. It’s important to learn that when you’re in certain circumstances (somebody’s guest, a job interview…) you need to present yourself in a way respectful of the environment. I know people who would take it as a direct insult if I wore a t-shirt to their wedding. The only way that’s ‘expressing’ oneself is expressing your lack of regard for your host. Maybe you can explain to your daughter that expressing yourself with clothing isn’t just expressing your own personality, but also expressing how you regard your environment. If she looks up to your niece, she shouldn’t want to express to your niece that she doesn’t care about or value this wedding, even if it’s more aligned with her personality. Even if she personally wouldn’t care what people wear at her own wedding, it’s important to consider the perspectives of those hosting her,” said littlefiddle05.
“You’re actually being awesome. I kind of wish you’d been my mum. 100% NTA. Not many parents out there will let their daughter wear a suit to a wedding. You’re being beyond what would usually be seen as reasonable and I applaud you for it. Your daughter is going to look fantastic in her very own style of formal wear,” said the_splatt.
So, there it is. Teenage rebellion via personal expression is always going to be an issue between parents and their kids. It’s awesome that some parents are willing to accommodate the style preferences of their kids, but teenagers will always find something to be pissed off about— which is totally normal!
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