How to Handle It If Your Parents Buy You Dorky Clothes

When it comes to clothes, are your parents still trying to dress you like a fifth grader? Then you need to take charge.


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Being a teenager can be hard. Learn how to make the most of your teen years with the advice in these Howcast videos. We'll teach you how to practice your first kiss; tell your parents you're sexually active (or pregnant!); sneak out of the house at night (and back in after curfew); apply makeup; be an emo, a goth, or a punk; go on your first date; help a friend who's cutting themselves; have a summer romance; and much more.

You Will Need

  • A take-charge attitude
  • Creativity
  • Maturity
  • Ingenuity or money


  1. Step 1

    Check return policy

    Check the store’s return policy. Some places will issue store credit without a receipt if the tags are still intact and the clothes appear undamaged. So control the impulse to damage the clothes.

  2. Consider trying to sell them on eBay—your trash may be someone else’s (pitiful) treasure.

  3. Step 2

    Donate them

    If returning the clothes is out of the question, try donating them to charity. Explain to your parents that you 'have so much, while others have so little.'

  4. Step 3

    Tailor them

    Make some alterations. With a bit of ingenuity and access to a sewing machine (or at least scissors), it’s possible to transform something ugly into something pretty—or, at the very least, something non-offensive.

  5. Unless you’re pretty good at garment alteration, spend a little money to have them professionally altered. Ill-fitting pleated trousers may be bad, but ill-fitting pleated shorts are worse.

  6. Step 4

    Ruin it accidentally

    Accidentally ruin the clothes by reading the laundering instructions and then doing exactly the opposite. If it says 'dry-clean only,' toss it in the washing machine with a pair of jeans on 'heavy load.' Feign disappointment.

  7. Step 5

    Try honesty

    Of course, you could always try being honest. Explain to your parents the importance of not resembling a vision-impaired septuagenarian.

  8. Refrain from bratty outbursts like, 'Just because you’ve given up on looking good, doesn’t mean I have to!' Remember, the goal is to convince your parents to stop treating you like a small child.

  9. Step 6

    Work it

    Your final option? Work it! Make do with what you’ve got. Do you think that history’s greatest tastemakers shopped at the mall?

  10. Some stores use special computer programs to prevent 'serial returners' from abusing the return system.