Defining Tastes: How To Dress Your 12 Year Old Boy

I feel it’s important to write this if for no other reason than no one else will.  I tried to offload the job myself, on to satori but the fact is her perspective is not my perspective.

I did the strangest thing about 10 days ago. I bought my son an entire new wardrobe. This may or may not seem strange to you but it was strange to me and strange to him and I want to tell you how this came about.

My son had a bad day in school.  How is irrelevant as is why. The fact is he had a bad day and he is surely not the only kid out there this happens to.

I told satori about it and while I don’t know if it was conscious or not, I think it impacted her because her son was picked on when he my son’s age. In whatever case she sent me a strange mail that said, “Sometimes the right shoes can make all the difference.”

I read her mail and my instinct went off. I knew immediately I was going to get, Vid, “the right shoes” and it sent me thinking down these various trails.

First I thought of how I grew up. I definitely didn’t have the “right shoes” but I can’t say I cared, then or now. My sister cared deeply, I think my older sister cared as well but I don’t know that I gave one whit, or more likely it just seems stupid to me which explains to some extent how Vid could have the “wrong shoes”.  But this is not really about pathology. I tossed that idea around but it would not take hold.  I think the situation is this:

Vid has never cared about his clothes, I have never cared about his clothes, his father had never cared about his clothes, so he just has clothes.  On top of that, there was my daughter.

My daughter was very ill for a number of years and all the family resources flowed to her. Yes, we gave her everything we had on every level so where did that leave, Vid? It left him without.  Not that he cared.

Vid didn’t care because he  never knew any different. So it hit me, see? Not only was I going to get, Vid the right shoes, I was going to get Vid, the right *everything* and guess who showed up to help?

It was satori’s 12 year old daughter, Nem, That’s her in the picture.  satori told me she was very good at this fashion stuff, akin to my sister, Annalisa.  She said she would get a list of stuff from her daughter and then she (they) followed through in spades.

Nem delivered a list that was stunningly detailed and well put together. You only have to read the least little bit of it to know that she knows what she is talking about. I decided to follow her advice to the letter which is exactly what I did.

It took me 2 days to buy pretty much everything on the list. It was a lot of clothes, an entire wardrobe but I’ll tell you, it didn’t cost that much. Shockingly little and easy to justify considering I have never invested in my son like this.

I am sorry if that sounds bad but you just can’t make something a priority that is not a priority but I can tell you that the impact of this has been extreme.

For one thing, Vid loves himself. He already loves himself, he’s a Taurus but now he LOVES himself.  He is totally taking care of his clothes and his look. He read satori’s daughter’s instructions, see?  He knows to put the dark t-shirt beneath the lighter shirt and he’s caught on like a house on fire.

The first time he wore his new look, it looked good and good on him but a week has passed now and it’s changed him.  He’s grown into the clothes and if you want to know the extent of this, even my husband noticed. My husband, who proudly announces he has been wearing the same outfit since he was in 4th grade acknowledges he looks damned good and supports the idea completely.

I realize some may think this is shallow but I don’t think it is.  It’s support (Saturn) by sharing taste (Libra) that resulted in a real (Capricorn) transformation (Pluto).

I realize not everyone is in a position to do this but for the kid like, Vid and for the mother like me who may be out there, I feel a real obligation to tell this story and now I have.

A million billion thanks to, Nem. Her list follows…

okay!  good stuff…  I picked Nem’s brain and she is DETAILED.

Jeans:  dark wash, slim fit but not tight (err on the bigger side and
wear a belt, black or brown, studded or plain), slight boot cut,
straight leg, or skinny leg opening.  brands of jeans:  the brand does
not matter, oddly enough.  old navy or gap will work fine.

tee shirts:  any color, but nothing too “out there.”  it should have
something on it like a brand name or graphic (nothing too girly) and
if it’s plain you should wear a sweatjacket or jacket, preferably zip
up. or…

collared shirt over tee… button (or newer: snap up) woven shirt with
stripes, check, or plaid (subtle) over a tee, open or partly buttoned,
or all buttoned.  can be short sleeve under long or long sleeve under
short.  (this is the NEW thing, the woven shirt over, even in seattle)

sweatshirts:  hooded (always, not crew neck) pull over or zip up, hip
brands or sport teams.  or just team colors.  fit: a little baggy, not

sport jackets:  like track suit jacket, solid colors or color block
with contrasting trim (like stripes down the side).  brand is not

shoes:  converse chuck taylors, low or high top, neutral color or
color that matches something else you’re wearing.  Vans, the slip ons,
same color thing, but can have patterns in this one.  skater shoes,
not too bulky, brands like Etnes, Volcom… NIke and Adidas are okay.
Any sports shoes with a regular brand are okay, bright white is good.

the tee shirts:  the brand matters.  Volcom, Zoo York, Lost, Hollister
(no name on this one, just the graphic- too much to have the brand),
American Eagle (the brand) is especially good.  avoid the brand name
in BIG letters, subtle is better. Old Navy is good too.

layered tee shirts:  short sleeve over long sleeve.  the one on top
should be brighter than the one under, and should have pattern or

a cool watch would be very good.  not too big, no bright colors, brown
or black or dark neutrals like forest green.  no all metal (too
flashy).  nothing too quirky.  Fossil is a good brand.  here’s one
Emma thinks is cool: (the black one)

stores to buy at The Buckle (BIG time), Pac-Sun, Old Navy, The Gap,
Zumiez, American Eagle, Macy’s

Nem says send pics after you buy and she will help coordinate.  🙂

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47 thoughts on “Defining Tastes: How To Dress Your 12 Year Old Boy”


    Only my childhood could teach me the meaning of this. It never happened for me as a kid, but doing this for Vid is invaluable. I’m very happy you all have each other to love and care for. I am teary and happy. Go Nem!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Just like omie, I am near tears. This stuff deeply mattered to me as a kid, and as a Libra-stellium-kid in a broke Midwestern family, there was little hope of getting the “right” clothes and I hated it, even though I felt it shouldn’t matter as much as it secretly did. I am stunned by Nem’s very thoughtful and detailed list and I am so happy that Vid is the recipient of such stylish generosity.

  3. That is so cool…and if you don’t care, I’m stealing this list for my own son who is 12, one of the youngest in 7th grade and totally feeling like he doesn’t fit in. With his dad being gone the past 9 months, he has really stepped up and deserves a hip new look. Pass on my gratitude to Satori’s daughter for me.

  4. Heather, this is why I am posting this. Even if you can just get the shoes… but I am telling you if you can do this all at once, you will likely change a life.

    The right stuff doesn’t cost much more than the wrong stuff and that is a fact.

  5. Here is what you are going for – these are for teens but you can see…

    (also provided by Nem)

    Vid is “Hue Attitude” and/ or “Final Say”

    All the long sleeve stuff is on sale / end of season – I bought it large so he’ll still be in it next (plus I was told the pants should be long as in step on them)

    I like “Well Red” as well.

    I didn’t set out too but I wound up buying him dk blue (his fave color, he has blue eyes) and various shades of gray, plaids and stuff. A little bit of red and green to mix it up but over all Saturn / Cap colors.

    Keep in mind Vid is a Sun Saturn in Taurus – Moon rising in LIBRA so you see we had to grow up his look!

    Pluto is on the IC and he is changed… 🙂

    Astrology is a trip.

    Had I deprived him (also Saturn)… well you see the difference between support and otherwise. Vid will be stylin’ with Saturn in his first house!!

  6. i did the same thing at one point when my daughter was growing up, for much the same reason. there’s nothing shallow about it.

    bless nem.

  7. Wow, this is so great! My parents never did this for me, but I’m pretty sure I would’ve resisted fighting tooth and nail.

  8. I have Taurus theme happening in my life right now, brought on by my will to integrate my opposite sign i.e Taurus through my Scorpio Sun. My dad is a Taurus and I feel a need to honor that. You have helped your son access his Venusian energy at the most perfect age using your intuition. Taurus represents the age of 7-14, right? How ennobling for Vid, I can only imagine how deep his rapture must be.I could cry…

  9. Aw… that is so sweet! Satori’s daughter is wonderful… and you, Elsa, are such a good mom. “Fitting in” clothes. Vid’s Libra moon is loving this.

  10. This isn’t shallow, it’s fantastic. Give thanks that you were able to do it for him !

    I worked and bought all my own clothes from the time I was 12 years old, and I mean everything ! Vid must feel so cherished by you for the attention. What a coup for his self-esteem, hugs and congrats to all of you !

  11. Thank you Nem, Elsa and satori! My 12 year old son is going to benefit a lot from these thoughts and ideas. We live in a foreign country and you can’t find the same things, so I tend to put off clothes shopping until the summer but that can be a long stretch of time and he’s growing so quickly. He is a double leo in the 10th with libra rising, so even though he always tells me he doesn’t care what he is wearing…well….
    This list will help me figure out how to match the ‘trends’ to what’s around town, here in Beirut.

  12. That is just too awesome for words!

    (I’m doing something similar for myself right now – transforming from college age codemonkey wardrobe to 40ish modern rocker babe. Big time cool stuff!)

  13. Nem just read over my shoulder. she’s very modest, and genuinely so. she just said, “I’m glad I could help.”

    she has a twelfth house stellium in aquarius aspecting venus.

  14. This is fantastic! I spent age 12 in my aunt’s hand me downs and was the only kid in sixth grade dressed like a 35 year old college professor. I can still remember the outfits I bought when mom gave me $50 and sent me back to school shopping for seventh grade on my own. 🙂

  15. yay! i love this! Nem this is great- thanks! I have a mega-Aquarian 11 yr old who couldn’t care less as long as he is comfortable- public opinion never mattered. But I am more sensitive to it and why shouldn’t he have the benefit of looking good/cool/fitting in? (just writing that makes me laugh, as that does not describe him at all!)

    He has to wear something and I might as well step in for him. Plus he’s uh maturing and he might as well look less awkward than he might otherwise. You know, that insouciant “Who me? Worry about puberty and this alarming shadow appearing on my upper lip? HA! This is nothing! Look at my shoes!”

    I’m happy for Vid and happy for Elsa. Excellent parenting.

  16. This is so cool Elsa! So happy for both of you coz nothing is sweeter than doing something for someone else and have them actually happy about it and those clothes are totally rad!! (uh is that outdated?…lol)((Vid and Elsa)). Wish we could see him in his new duds!

  17. i never had the right clothes. and i noticed. not until recently have i had both a clue and the wherewithal to find what worked for me.
    it makes a huge difference… in self confidence… int eh way that people react to you… which can be like a self feeding loop.
    i used to get mad because it felt so superficial. and some of it is. but some of it is… who you’re going to tell the world you are, without even saying anything.
    my kid makes out real well… lots of gifts of actual good stuff.

  18. Terrific. I don’t think many people realise how important this can be for children. My mother bought all my clothes for me till I was sixteen and I used to feel such a klutz. They were nice clothes, don’t get me wrong, but they just weren’t what everyone else was wearing.

  19. Opal…I am like you. My mother dressed for me the longest time and they were things I hated and she used to dress my sister and I exactly alike and that killed me too.

    Elsa and Satori….you both are great moms….Vid and Lem are proof of that…how sweet of Lem to do that and Vid is loving it! It couldn’t get any better…

  20. I don’t have kids, but I totally get it. Was picked on horribly as a kid, did NOT have right clothes and I DID care. Yes, it makes all the difference. I also went to a school where everyone (but my family) had money and expensive clothes–

    In junior high I gained a lot of weight and then in high school, I lost all that weight and more and that was when I realized that transformation can and does indeed come from the outside in — not always from the inside out.

  21. My daughter is my fashion advisor. She’d love to get me on What Not to Wear or something like that. I shared this on facebook because I have lots of moms with kids as friends. My son is only 8 but he’s a Capricorn. I’m going to take this post into consideration when I make clothing purchases for him in the future.

    Thank you Nem. That was really helpful. Kids all over the world are going to benefit.

  22. Regardless of the astrology angle, which I frankly don’t get, this is a wonderful story that touches so many in such a personal way. How it resonates in the past and the present is astounding! I found this through a friend in facebook and I would encourage everyone to post it there or whatever your social network is. Wonderful bit of writing, thank you!

  23. That is not shallow at all. Maybe it has something to do with transforming his reputation (Pluto in Capricorn)? Which I believe makes him feel really good.

  24. I hardly ever had the “right” clothes growing up and never thought much about it after elementary school. It was more important to express myself and my taste, even if I stood out, than to conform.

    With Saturn moving into Libra, I haven’t been so much revamping my wardrobe as getting much more serious about grooming: cutting my hair more often, actually doing something about my roots in-between colorings, upgrading my skin care regimen. Although I’ve bought new things, it’s mostly lingerie and shapewear. I’m also learning to sew so I can make or tailor my clothes to look better.
    (One new thing I have bought is here: — worn with a bodysuit underneath, dark, shapely jeans, and my high-heel biker boots. Very stunning, if I do say so myself! *lol*)

    PS — I am loving the make-your-own Chucks link! That’s all my dad would wear when I was growing up and I was young during their second revival, so I’ve got a soft spot for ’em. My pink and black plaid ones had to be retired this year and I’m stoked about making a new, funky pair!

  25. Great story! Love the teamwork aspect of it, too. One’s appearance and the energy that goes into crafting of it is significant in its own way, too; it allows a person to outwardly reflect his/her evolving creativity (designing your own shoe look – love that!!) and aesthetic and sense of self, and that’s important in its way. Again, great story!

  26. Wow! great story! Great list – easy to follow and not breaking the bank. Maybe satori could write out a list for middle-aged women too????
    there could be a career for her out there! or a blog, at least!

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