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'Tween style help? Bone up on Britney, Lindsay

Caught between your daughter's need to look cool and your need to have her dress appropriately? Here's some advice.

What's a mom to do when caught between her 'tween daughter's need to look as stylish as the stars and a parent's need to have her daughter dress appropriately?

Girls age nine to 12 years-old are more sophisticated than ever and already have strong opinions about what they want to wear. Furthermore, they are bombarded with images of scantily-clad celebrities, some of whom they may even admire.

Rather than cave in entirely — what parent really feels good about doing that? Or locking your daughter away for 10 years until it's time to go to college, here are some guidelines to ensure a happy, stylish daughter... and just as important, a happy and satisfied mom.

The Do's:

  • Do shop age-appropriate stores and age-appropriate brands.
  • Do be sensitive to your child's wish to fit in.
  • Do encourage her personal expression in style and help her experiment.
  • Do be alert to factors influencing your child's style choices.
  • When you say "no," do be ready with some good alternatives.

The Don'ts:

  • Don't copy adult looks head to toe for your 'tween.
  • Don't have your head in the sand about your 'tweens style influences. (Bone up on what Britney and Lindsay are wearing.)
  • Don't allow your 'tween to wear sexually suggestive clothes. (She may look like a teenager but she's still a little girl.)
  • Don't indulge your 'tweens designer-price taste. There are plenty of affordable designer-inspired fashions around.

Sources for great 'tween fashions:

  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Baby Phat
  • RocaWear
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Guess
  • Oililly
  • Keds
  • Nike
  • Puma
  • Old Navy
  • Mandees
  • Target
  • H&M
  • Macys
  • Bloomingdale's