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Where to Buy Clothes for Teen & Pre-Teen Girls

Advice, discussions, and reviews from the Parents of Teens weekly email newsletter.

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > Where to Buy Clothes for Teen & Pre-Teen Girls


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8th grade graduation dress shopping

April 2012

My daughter will be graduating from 8th grade in June. She does not want to shop for dresses at department stores or anyplace where her friends/classmates might also be shopping in order to reduce the risk of getting the same dress as someone else. Any suggestions? We are in Walnut Creek, but I am willing to travel anywhere in the Bay Area. Thanks!


Hi! I'd suggest going into San Francisco and shopping in some of the smaller boutiques there. I'm thinking the Union St. area in particular -- seems they might have some dresses you won't find out here (I'm also in WC). WC Mom
At risk for L7, how about making it herself? Go to one of the many great fabric stores, pick a pattern, fabric, and if you are all thumbs with that sort of thing, a seamstress from the book by the register. You will learn so much about her by the process and it might be as fun as shopping for ready made? (Because I learned to follow a pattern & sew, I can make slip covers, draperies..(=$ as a caregiver) it develops critical thinking..transferable skills like carpentry, all applied mathematics.. DIYer
How bout used or consignment shops? There's one that advertises on the radio station my 7th grader listens to - http://www.platoscloset.com/ Buffalo Exchange http://www.buffaloexchange.com/ I think both cater to the younger, hipper demographic. ellen
Try title nine in berkeley for a cute and casual dress. Anona mom

Clothes for a very small 14 year old

Sept 2011

My daughter is almost 14, and very small for her age (as was I). She's a scosch under 5 feet tall (with most of her height in her legs), weighs around 84 pounds, and is early in manifesting puberty physically. I'd say her body is most like that of today's 10-11 year olds. She is also quite slender. None of this is a problem, except that she is tired of dressing like a little kid. She is rather modest, so she isn't looking to show skin, just looking for clothes that are cut with a little more sophistication than those made for the elementary school set. The only pants we can reliably find which fit her are jeans (she wears a 12S or 14S), though she doesn't like the ones with a low rise. She is still too small for sizes 0/1 in misses/juniors - we tried buying some and taking them in for alterations, but she's so skinny that they couldn't be altered to fit.

Any thoughts on where to find clothing that fits her? Or brands that might work? She loves buying clothes second hand, which is terrific if unreliable. I've even taken her to have a pair of pants made, though that approach is too expensive for us to rely upon as the solution. Petite Skinny-Minny's Mom


Hi there. My child was almost as small. We found that (gulp) Abercrombie size 0 jeans fit her earlier than any other junior pants. And Target shirts, which run a little small anyway, were OK in Xtra small. When we needed a fancy dress for a Bar Mitzvah, we had good luck at JC Penney's junior department which also runs small. This too shall pass. My daughter is now a senior in high school and a size 7! anon
There is a second hand store on Valencia between 16th and 15th that has some clothing from the 60s and earlier -- some of those things run very small(and/or were intended to be worn with girdles -- so compared to modern clothes run a size or two down), and she might find something to fit. My other thoughts were stores that cater to an asian clientele, maybe in the Richmond (SF) or on the Penninsula; or buying pants in her size, but buying cute shirts and altering them. Also, Macy's seems to have clothing aimed at a teenage point-of-view in children's sizes (which was annoying before my daughter was a teen.) Marianne Henri runs wonderful sewing classes for teens where they can choose projects, if your daughter has any interest in making her own clothing. anon
A great option for small girls who want fashionable clothing is Abercrombie Kids. It is cheaper than the regular Abercrombie, and the styling is more modest. They also have periodic sales. I'm not sure where there is a store nearby (maybe in San Francisco in the Westfield Mall on Market Street?), but we mainly shopped online. My daughter was so bummed when she outgrew Abercrombie Kids, because her clothing allowance went so much farther there than it does for junior and women's clothing. Good luck! Kris
My youngest daughter at age 14 was 4'10'' and also around 80 some pounds. She too wanted to look more her age and have clothes that fit her age. I am not into buying expensive labels but I made an exception for my then freshman daughter. We went to Abercrombie, which has some stores that also have a girls' sizes. The clothes in the girls' sizes are the same style as those in the juniors' section. The girls' size clothing is cheaper than the clothes next door in the junior department. Not every Abercrombie has the girls' sizes, though, so call ahead to find out where you have to go. My daughter got jeans that fit her well at Abercrombie, with a large selection. She too could not fit into a size 00 in the juniors. Nordstrom has a girls' section with T-shirts that are not little girl-like and Hollister's XS would fit my daughter too, for tops only, not pants- it's cheaper. anonymous
Northgate in Marin has stores catering to teens/young adults. My lean daughter and I found a couple pair of jeans (on sale even) at Macy's. Don't think all Macy's have teen departments, however. My suggestion is eat a good breakfast, find a mall with several teen stores, and just try on jeans for a morning or until you find a pair. UCCU

Teen daughter clothes shopping ideas

May 2010

Dear Friends, Where do your girls shop for clothes? Our daughter, now 16 1/2, will be entering her junior year in high school next fall and would really like to revamp her wardrobe. Shopping is one of her least favorite pasttimes and has said she doesn't think there's a store out there for her - she's not especially trendy, mostly jeans and tshirts -she was a Land's End, LL Bean kind of kid growing up - she doesn't like Juicy Couture (too trendy), Old Navy (too tacky); sometimes finds things in Nordstroms and Macy's (but feels they are a little staid/grown-up). She likes J Jill and Eileen Fisher sometimes, but they cost a fortune. So we're in a quandry and could use some suggestions as to where to shop without spending the king's ransom. Names of stores in Oakland/Berkeley, greater East Bay, SF, Marin, even the Peninsula(and specific locations if possible) would be much appreciated. Thanks!


I don't know if your daughter will like their clothes, but check out Two Star Dog. It's an outlet, located behind REI in Berkeley, on 10th St., just south of Gilman. They have nice clothes, good prices, and great sales. Be sure to go all the way to the back of the store where the bargains are. hate to shop
One word - SWAY!!!

3 locations - the one in Berkeley, on Telegraph, seems a bit more ''Berkeley'', and my teen isn't in love w/ the location/feel of the store. Also, one in Alameda, when you're over that way.

We/she generally shops at the one on Lakeshore Ave, and LOVES LOVES LOVES it. Jeans, t's, layering tops, *cute* summer dresses, and some shoes (tho' a lot of them have heels that are not for school...)

Also, nice accessories (earrings, scarves, bags).

Most everything she's brought home has been good quality and reasonable prices. Nordstrom and McCalou's carry the same brands, but often charge much more (esp. Nordstrom).

She's also found some cute tops at the resale shop on Lakeshore (down the street from Sway), but that's hit-or-miss. (I've found nice things there, too... but then, I'm ''old''....)

Good luck! It's a challenging time. Mom to a teenage shopper!


Sorry I don't really have particular stores to recommend, but I do suggest you use this as an opportunity to teach your daughter to get the clothes she wants w/in a budget.

I like J Jill too, and I stop by whenever I can and look ONLY at the sales rack. I often find a piece or two, but if not, it is a quick stop in. I have their credit card (automatically 5% off) and get their emails, which often have good offers. Once she knows her sizes, she can check the online sale items regularly and buy that way.

''Thrifting,'' as my friend calls it, is a great way to find good clothes and can be fun too. It is pretty time-consuming. After she explores some different second-hand stores, she will have a better idea which ones she likes and she will get faster at going through the racks. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift Town are super cheap; consignment stores like Rockridge Rags less so, but more pleasant and still cheaper than new. Ross has new clothes but it is about like going to one of the consignment stores in terms of work and price. Also, one store that comes to mind that she might like is J Crew (but prob not cheaper than J Jill). frugal shopper


Bancroft Clothing , on Bancroft in Berkeley, a block up from Telegraph. Totally sensible clothes ( yet edgy and trendy enough- Cal's right across the street, so it's got the college vibe) at totally sensible prices. My 15 year old daughter's similar to yours-- just doesn't care about designers/ names, and is generally a fairly reluctant shopper. Took her to Bancroft Clothing a couple of weeks ago and couldn't believe how many things she found... Lots of basic wardrobe stuff- T- shirts, tank tops, etc ( also has jean skirts and casual dresses and the like, if you're interested)... And most of what we bought was priced between $5 and $15, no kidding. -Good alternative to the Mall
Your daughter sounds a lot like my daughter who's now almost 21. She likes to shop at Urban Outfitters (Bancroft in Berkeley), Forever 21 (Bay Street or SF), sometimes American Apparel for leggings and tops, sometimes Bancroft Clothing Company, sometimes the stores on Telegraph (can't remember the names of them). She, on the other hand, LOVES to shop, so I don't know if this will help. Mom of shopaholic
Try Target. I often find when I complement my friends or my daughter's friends on their clothes they've purchased them at Target. :-) Great prices, and looks that are stylish but not over-the-top trendy. When it comes to clothing I call it... Tarjay
What about Bay Street? There are a few stores I can think of that are suitable for someone with a ''jeans and t-shirt'' style. Try Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew to start but there are about six other clothing stores there that she can try. Many stores that seem trendy on the outside do have a selection of things that might work for her. Mother of a Clothes Horse
My teen loves to shop at Forever 21, H&M and wetseal. The styles maybe to trendy for your daughter,but I would give them a try. You can't beat the prices at these stores. I don't have to spend much, and my daughter is sooo happy. We have a great time.Forever 21 is at hilltop and in S.F. Wetseal is in Berkeley on Telegraph Ave. H&M is on Baystreet , S.F. and Walnut Creek. I just put all politics aside and try to have fun. This really has been great for my realationship with my daughter. Kristin Lobos
Try

Buffalo Exchange www.buffaloexchange.com 2585 Telegraph Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 644-9202

They have a lot of different clothes and it is a second hand store so you can get very well made clothes. It has a very easy atmosphere, she can sell clothes back - though they are very choicy when it comes to selling clothes.

Also H&M - there is are several in the Bay Area - the clothes are not that well made, but they are not expensive, and she can try things on.

Also if she still likes LLBean - Lucky Brand has a full line of tops and jeans. They are more pricey but if you get to know your closest store they have great sales. The clothes are well made and are sewn to fit real people so they tend to look great. Just watch where my daughter shops


Here are some great sources for teen girl clothes (appropriately modest and at a reasonable cost).

1) The teen department at McCaulou's in Lafayette. Highly recommended! My daughter and I shop here at least once a month. There are two keys: shop only the sales racks and ask the salesgirls for help locating the items you're looking for. The full-price items are expensive. The sales racks are plentiful and items seem to be marked down every few weeks. If you find something but it costs too much, ask the salesgirls when it might go on sale.

2) eBay. We have found some terrific clothes (Abercrombie and Fitch; American Eagle, etc.) at amazingly low prices. Look at the pictures and read the descriptions to make sure items are new or gently used. Make sure the seller has a high rating (I look for 98% or more) and a reasonable return policy (if none is listed or it is unreasonable, I pass). The eBay site explains how to join and purchase items. You also can sell her outgrown or unloved items here.

3) My daughter loves Hot Topic on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. She shops here with friends and I've approved of everything she's purchased here. Have fun shopping! Nancy


Buffalo Exchange (SF) - affordable; range of styles (secondhand)

Crossroads (Berkeley) - affordable; range of styles (secondhand)

H&M (SF) - prices range from affordable to slightly pricey; can be very trendy but good for items like blouses, blazers, black skirts, slacks, & has lots of jewelry

Forever 21 (SF) - affordable; slightly trendy; but very cheap jeans, t-shirts, & sweaters

Thrift Town (SF) - very affordable; huge selection; range of styles (secondhand)

Sarah


Sensible pants for a 12 yr old tomboy? Aug 2008

I have a sturdily-built 12 year-old girl who has absolutely no interest in girly things, nor, for that matter, boy-ly things, or super jock things, or ''alternative'' looks. She's just kind of gender-neutral at the moment. Our issue this school year is clothes. She's been happy in the past with Lands End boys' climber pants--sturdy, great pockets, last forever. (I'd like some myself) but she's not fitting into the Lands End kids clothing lines anymore, plus she's tired of them. Online I've found ''tomboy'' clothes for surfer and skater girls but they all seem to have low-waists down to there, etc. In other words, still pretty girl-gendered despite being for ''tomboys''. I see nothing on the Target, Mervyn's, Kohl's, Macy's, Nordstrom's websites either. Unfortunately, with pretty much all girl's blue jeans being tight-fitting, low-waisted, or covered with, like, flower embroidery, she has become very anti-bluejean (which rules out the only alternative I can see). Help. Any ideas for sensible sturdy clothes for the junior set?


Dickies makes some un-ornate (more uniform style) pants for kids. Here's a link to some: /www.dickies.com/wc2/product_list.asp?cat=103&type=A&cdscr=KidsWear&tdscr=Pants They also have a DickiesGirl brand, but I think all the pants are low waisted. Good luck! Ariel
You might try Boden-- http://www.bodenusa.com. They tend to have more gender-neutral styles and well-made clothes. I have found that the fit of their pants varies a good bit (some looser fit than others), but they have customer reviews that often address fit and I've had good luck finding things to fit my sturdy girl by reading those comments. Also, it's a bit expensive, but they frequently have discounts and promotions. I consider it a splurge, but worth it for good pants. In a Similar Dilemma
If she's no longer fitting into girls' (or boys') sizes, I'd try the women's department at places like REI and the Royal Robbins and North Face outlets, as well as LLBean, Title Nine, Sahalie, and other places that specialize in outdoor/athletic type casual clothing. They offer simply styled, at-the-waist, durable, comfortable-to-move-in pants (often meant for light hiking or rock climbing) that might work for her. Even Lands End has some women's styles that are kind of similar to (but perhaps just different enough from) the kids' Climbers -- check out the ''Outrigger Pants''! Also hates low-rise jeans that sparkle

Clothes for 11-year-old: kids' sizes don't fit, neither do adults!

June 2008

We have reached a bit of a fashion crises and I am looking for suggestions. Target and Old Navy's children's sections are no longer of interest to my 11 year old but the adult clothes are still too big, especially when it comes to pants. Are there any inexpensive places to shop for tweens??? Fashion hungry


Try size 1 and 3 in the jr.sizes. My older daughter was able to find these sizes at Ross and TJ Max. They were similar to size 10/12 kids, but you might have to hem pants. My other daughter had the opposite problem. When she had outgrown kids size 16, jr. dept. clothes didn't fit the same (they are cut very narrow). so she tried misses sizes. The cut was different enough that it fit well. Good Luck! Jenny
Try the girl's section at JCPenny's. They have regular, slim and ''plus'' for girls 7-14. The selection is limited to current styles, so they only have whatever is ''in,'' but they are affordable and will last long enough for your kid to outgrown them... --Mom of a tweener too
I had the same problem with my daughter. She's 13 now and we shop in the junior's section for her. When she was 11 and 12 though, we either settled for paying a little more at high style kid's clothing stores like justice, limited too, and Macy's; or were lucky to find their clothes on sale at great places like TJ maxx and Ross. Good luck! Marilynn

Jeans for big 8-year-old

July 2001

I'm looking for jeans for my 8-1/2 year old. She is at the top of then weight range so slim pants don't do it. Usually pants either fit in the waist & are much too long or vice versa. Anyone have success in finding jeans & other pants that are designed for the non-slim child in mind? Thanks! Rebecca


Landsend.com (catalogue-very customer service oriented) has jeans with elastic waists and "plus" sizes for girls. They have "plus" sizes in other pants styles as well. Tavie
Rebecca asked about resources for pants for children at the top of their weight-range. We have had some luck with Old Navy, which carries "Extra Loose Jeans" in many children's sizes and with the Gap which features jeans with an elastic waist and a "husky child" category. My daughter likes the Old Navy kind best because their jeans are light weight and feel more comfortable. Another resource worth checking out is the Land's End kids catalog which offers a greater variety of sizes in some of their styles. Laura
Land's End Kids has Girl's Plus sizes in jeans and lots of other pants styles....go to: www.landsend.com/kids to check it out. They are great with quick shipping & cust. svc. Hope that helps Laura

Clothes for Big Pre-Teen Girl

July 1999

Does anyone have ideas of stores and/or catalogs to buy stylish young teen style clothing for a girl with a thick waist? We went shopping yesterday and nothing she liked fit. My daughter essentially has no waist although she is not heavy. She has always worn elastic waist pants and shorts, leggings, or men's jeans and has not cared, but now she wants girl's bell bottoms with embroidered flowers on the legs and clothes that fit at the waist. We tried some women's clothes since she is tall, but the proportions were wrong for a young girl. I don't want her to be unhappy about her natural body shape, but fashion is working against me.


I read about the magazine dEliAs (their choice of capitalization not mine) in a long article in the New Yorker and ordered a catalog for a young cousin. I've looked at a few and they're pretty fun for the 10-16 age set I think. Modelled on a pre-teen version of Vogue, with lots of chatter and quasi-advice columns, they have a range of baggy, hip, clothes that might work. Their on-line store is at www.delias.com and you can order a catalog from that site. Good luck!
You might look at the Lands' End Childrens catalog. They have what looks to be attractive and fairly fashionable stuff, which might be more generously cut. You can call them with your daughter's measurements; their phone staff is very helpful. As a former "late bloomer", I can sympathize. Wendy
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