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Reflections from a Stylist Mom


Dina and daughter cropped


Reflections from a Stylist Mom


This month I was inspired by a moment I shared with a client. The only thing is that this client was unlike no other. Typically, clients who request my services approach me; we meet and discuss needs and goals, and put together a plan and execute it. However, this client never requested my help or services, we never had a plan, nor did we discuss one. But unbeknownst to me, I had been working with her for a very long time and only recently did I realize that she has been my most important and gratifying client so far. The client I am talking about is my teenage daughter.

In this day and age, unlike the way we grew up, teenage woes begin way too early. The word ‘tween’ has even been coined to describe the phase. Our daughters’ struggles begin way too early, and are only so much more complicated by the struggles brought on by peer pressure, social media, pop culture, and unrealistic standards of beauty which are compounded by photoshopped images we see on a daily basis plastered all over the media.

Based upon my experience with my daughter and helping her deal with these struggles, I had a few reflections, which I thought were worth sharing as a mother and a stylist.


Finally accepting I had to share control.

As I started to recognize the signs of growing pains, I took a deep breath and tried not to give in to my frustrations. I knew I had to share control over the decision making process of buying her clothes.  I realized that by letting go of the reigns, I still had the opportunities to advise her, boost her confidence, and coach her to find and develop her own style. I tried as much as I could not to impose my opinions but always be suggestive. Doing this proved to be a tricky dance, as I had to present to her my suggestions and my reasons for making them. I learned that children, especially this generation, are far more independent and assertive from an early age, and need to know ‘why’ they are being asked to make a certain choice, rather than being ‘told’ to make it. Having said this, there were plenty of times where I had to put my foot down. After all, I am the one who is still going to pay at the cash register.


Understanding her body type and coaching her on what fits her well and what suits her best.

This one was challenging because it was a process that was unfolding slowly before my eyes. I was lucky to have learned some styling concepts related to body types that helped me figure this one out. My daughter’s body type is completely different than mine, and understanding this helped me make educated ‘suggestions’ for her. When I made a ‘suggestion’ that really flattered her, I could tell she was more likely to take it into consideration. You can refer to an article I wrote earlier “The Perfect Fit” for guidance on this point.


Peer Pressure and Individuality

We observed together other girls her age at various events and how they dressed. We talked about which ones were positive and which ones were not. She started to draw her own conclusions about the trends of teenage dressing and how the ‘homogeneousness’ of it was amusing. I was elated when she slowly made a conscious decision not to be a ‘follower’ and take pride in being an individual who can express her personality through her clothes on her terms.


Style inspiration and development

Inspiration comes from anywhere such as art, travel, hobbies, books etc. I would encourage her to experiment with different looks and help her ‘find and develop’ her style using different sources of inspiration. One example is street-style of other cultures, which has become a great resource for inspiration, because it’s current, and it comes from real people with real lives, and not the ones pushed upon us in fashion magazines. There are plenty of blogs and books that explore the street styles of youth from style conscious cities around the world.


Dads need coaching too.

A teenage girl’s relationship with her father is incredibly important. This is where the father comes in.  My daughter has an incredibly close relationship with her father, like most girls do. I tried to involve him and prompt him on occasion to provide her with positive feedback and constructively criticize her outfit decisions. I knew the power of Daddy’s opinion, and that it will become her guidepost for what to expect of men and what to expect of men’s attitude toward women.


Back to my moment

Going back to that ‘moment’ I shared with my daughter. It was a day like any other. We were in the car, and I looked over and took note of her outfit of the day. I was floored at how amazing she looked. She put together such a great look that reflected her personality I had to tell her how impressed I was, and she responded with pride and confidence, “I know! I am getting so good at this thanks to you.” I never had nor possibly will I ever get a much bigger or more rewarding compliment from a client.


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Dina Youness

Dina is a certified personal stylist who has been working with clients, particularly with mothers who after maternity leave, want a wardrobe reboot to get back into the work force after years of being in mommy mode. She recently moved to California from Dubai, and is expanding her passion for styling interiors, specifically staging homes for sale.

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