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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.


  • 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.
  • TIP: Consider trying to sell them on eBay—your trash may be someone else’s (pitiful) treasure.
  • 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.'
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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?
  • FACT: Some stores use special computer programs to prevent 'serial returners' from abusing the return system.

You Will Need

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

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