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Dad’s View: How to Shop for Your Daughter

Beauty is a tricky concept for dads, especially when you have interracial daughters. What is true for all fathers is that you want to celebrate your daughter’s unique qualities. She is your cutie pie. But, you don’t want your daughters to grow up vain and superficial.

I think all dads like to poke fun at people and situations that take themselves too seriously. Fashion is an easy, and somewhat strange, target for us. We can be tempted to mock and tease the fancy hair and frilly clothing. Secretly, we worry that our little princess will be transformed into a brainless beauty queen or clueless cheerleader. Those stereotypes may be fun to date, but they can’t and won’t be your daughter. As you are changing their diapers and planning their futures, most of us are leaning more for Marie Curie and less for Snookie.

I want to tell all dads that you need to get beyond your fear of fabulousness. If your daughter is pink and sparkly, you better get down in the Chartreuse dirt and get your hands glittery. If you are willing to play catch with your son and help him build a model rocket, you have the ability to help your little girl shop for a party dress. If you can repair a dishwasher and change the oil in your car, then you can help her put the most perfect purple ribbon barrettes in her hair. Hey, you might even invent a new type of barrette, because those little bastards are a pain in the ass.

I have raised three daughters from ages five on and this is what I have learned: When they are in pre-school, little girls want to be cute so their dad notices them. They are literally your princess. As they get older, clothing and hair becomes a way to express themselves and how they see the world. As teens, they begin expressing themselves to boys. (LOW DOWN, IRRESPONSIBLE, LAZY BOYS WHO AREN’T WORTHY OF MY DAUGHTER!) Anyway…while in college they will begin, hopefully, to update their style to be more appropriate for their chosen career.

Dads need to participate in shaping such an important part of their daughter’s life. Watch what their little girl friends are wearing and take notes. Take your daughter to the store and help her pick out an outfit. Afterwards, treat her to a trip to the local steakhouse with a 12 oz. New York strip steak and barrel-aged Scotch for poppa as she relives every detail and piece of clothing from your last four hours at the mall.

Intimidated? Here are some tips:

Shirts are easy to buy, but try to avoid anything commercialized. She will see too much advertising as it is. There are plenty of fun tops in cute colors that go with plenty of skirts and leggings–you really can’t mess up this part.

Don’t be too cheap. Your role is to promote quality over quantity, class over fads. Teach her to buy classic outfits that will never go out of style. (If you’re at a loss, enlist the help of the sales woman.) And never, EVER, are words supposed to be on her butt.

Pick something and stick with it. Get her a charm bracelet and buy a charm every year. She will love the tradition. Sterling silver jewelry is shiny and very affordable, so spoil her! Also, scarves are always the right size and mittens keep her hands warm. And, you can never go wrong with cashmere (ask any woman sitting next to you right now).

When she gets older, you will want to buy her a nice bag.  Purchase something roomy yet stylish so it can transition from carrying her college textbooks to serving as a briefcase on a job interview. When she looks at that bag, she will know you are with her as she walks into meet her prospective boss.

It’s easy to say that the inside is as important as the outside. Dads can play an important role in reinforcing that message by supporting how our daughters express themselves.

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[author_info]About the Author

Steven de Polo is a Prime Parents’ Club regular contributor and father of three daughters. He dislikes long division and the idea that his princesses may start dating before they reach the age of 40. You can find more of Steven’s work at [/author_info]
Image: Submitted Photo
Steven de Polo is 44 years old and lives in Grand Rapids, where he works in foundation relations at Grand Valley State University. Steven is divorced and has been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, with whom he is raising an 9-year-old girl adopted from China and a 5-year-old girl from Haiti. His Jamaican-American stepdaughter works in New York City and plans to get her CPA license. Steven enjoys being a dad, especially the trips to the comic book store and getting barbecue spare ribs. He dislikes long division and the idea that his princesses may start dating before they reach the age of 40. He supports Kids Food Basket and is on the board of the Local First Educational Foundation.

1 Comment

  1. Jacqueline Wilson

    April 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

    “Afterwards, treat her to a trip to the local steakhouse with a 12 oz. New York strip steak and barrel-aged Scotch for poppa as she relives every detail and piece of clothing of your last four hours at the mall.” HAHAHAHA! That’s awesome.

    I’m so excited to see how dads take such an active a role in their daughters lives these days. That wasn’t the case in “my day.” ;)

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