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Teenage sons: important that they are well dressed?

(50 Posts)
mrsEOR Sat 16-Mar-13 09:55:19

First time post here so I thought I'd test the water a little with a small query - not exactly a big problem though!

Ours sons are now 14, 15, 17 and the eldest is 22 and at university. In many ways we've been fairly liberal parents, we have always encouraged our DSs to dress smartly and neatly. We think it's important for teenagers particularly as so much of society's bad reception of young men is down to how they dress and behave.

To that end we've always encouraged them to dress smartly when the occasion calls for it. And this means collared shirts, with a tie, and smart jacket and polished shoes. No jeans.

The boys don't mind at all, and actually quite enjoy looking smart when needed. We give them a budget and let them buy all their own clothes. It has obviously rubbed off well on our eldest, who is always immaculately turned out, and is constantly being complemented on his appearance.

However, I'm conscious that this is a bit of an old fashioned attitude, and hardly any other families both with any kind of dress rules etc.

What do others think? Anyone else encourage their sons to dress smartly?

FrauMoose Sun 17-Mar-13 08:38:37

I think children have their clothing dictated for them when they're at school, and it is not 'liberal' to dictate what they should wear when they're at home. If there are formal occasions such as weddings and funerals where there is some kind of dress code, that is another matter and everyone - parents and children - does have to make some kind of concession. Otherwise being vaguely clean and not offending public decency is quite enough! (I wondered if this post was a wind-up, as it sounds so 1950s.)

nagynolonger Sun 17-Mar-13 09:44:52

My teenage DS are 19, 17 and 16. It would be rare for mine to wear suits or ties or even a smart jacket (they don't have one of those!).

The 16 yearold only wears a tie as part of his school uniform. He has counted the number of weeks until the end of his GCSEs because it means no more uniform. He will be smart casual post 16.

The 17 yearold would only wear a tie at a wedding or similar.

The 19 yearold does occasionally wear a tie when he goes out or when he helps out behind the bar at various function. The extra cash is always useful. I suspect that the 17 yearold will also don a tie as soon as he turns 18 if he needs to for £s!

They all had suits for their eldest brothers wedding. They were used again for a funeral.

All have smart trousers, shirts and jumpers but they don't do coats and jackets. They willingly make the effort if we go out for a meal etc. Most of the time they wear jeans, T shirts/polo, and a hoody. They hate joggers but wear shorts or tracksuit when travelling to matches and at home.

exexpat Sun 17-Mar-13 10:54:51

I just wonder whether you inform your Sunday lunch guests about the dress code - or are all your friends formal types too?

I would feel very awkward if I turned up to lunch at a friend's house and found the entire family in suits & ties/formal dresses, as I would probably be in jeans unless I was forewarned.

Trills Sun 17-Mar-13 11:41:10

I agree with exexpat - I hope your guests know that jackets and ties are expected!

secretscwirrels Sun 17-Mar-13 11:50:36


ISingSoprano Sun 17-Mar-13 20:11:36

I encourage my nearly 18year old ds to dress for the occasion. He does not own a jacket. He has never been to a wedding. The last funeral he (we) went to was on a hot, sunny day and he wore chinos, shirt and tie. For church he wears jeans or chinos and a shirt and sweater. Sunday lunch, with or without guests is very informal in our family and I wouldn't dream of expecting anyone to wear a jacket and tie.

PlasticLentilWeaver Sun 17-Mar-13 20:15:48


PlasticLentilWeaver Sun 17-Mar-13 20:16:29

hmm even!

mrsEOR Sun 17-Mar-13 22:53:50

No they don't mind, and you're getting me wrong, it's not that we MAKE them wear such clothes against their will. We encourage it, personally I love to see them looking sharp and well dressed in their suits. Much better than slobbing around in tshirts and ripped jeans and hoodies.

Eldest DS is always very smartly turned out, completely out of choice, he is 22 after all, and lives away from home at uni. His girlfriend absolutely loves it, she introduced him to her parents the other day and he was immaculately turned out in a smart blue blazer, well shined shoes and a snugly knotted tie! They were totally blown away :-)

I know it might sound old fashioned and fuddy duddy, but the boys always get so many positive comments and attention when they're dressed, and I just feel on balance it's a good thing. Just because hardly anyone else does it these days is not reason to stop doing it.

LapsedPacifist Sun 17-Mar-13 23:14:27

My 16 year old DS has to wear and suit and tie every day at school now he is in the 6th form and I bought him some really lovely well made designer suits 2nd-hand from eBay rather than see him slouching around in something badly-fitting and polyester. He is very tall and slim and finds it difficult to buy suits off the peg. He has worn a suit for weddings, funerals, work experience etc since he was about 13.

But wearing a suit is simply not conventional or expected behaviour anymore for Sunday lunch at home with guests, or even a smart restaurant or the theatre, and hasn't been for at least 20 years! unless you are Jacob Rees Mogg of course....

BackforGood Sun 17-Mar-13 23:32:35

I have to say, if my dd brought home a lad wearing "a smart blue blazer, well shined shoes and a snugly knotted tie!" when just coming round for lunch or even popping over for the afternoon, I'd be a bit hmm, and wonder if his ways of thinking / expectations were from the same decade as his clothes, tbh. I know, I know, MN dictates we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, nor young man by his clothes, and I certainly wouldn't say anything negative to him, but I'd wonder why he was so out of kilter with his peers.

mrsEOR Mon 18-Mar-13 00:22:11

BackforGood - To be fair he wasn't just "popping round for the afternoon", I think they were having some sort of a drinks thing, and many of the male guests were dressed similarly, and I just think they appreciated that he made the effort.

mumblechum1 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:00:04

Sounds a bit Utah to me grin

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 13:12:50

That's what I was thinking mumble. Do you mind me asking what religion you are mrsEOR?

We are C of E and the only men who wear really smart clothes in church tend to be over 70. We have to look presentable at work and have a dress code to look smart, but hardly any of the men wear ties. The last time my husband wore a suit was three years ago at his auntie's funeral.

FrauMoose Mon 18-Mar-13 13:13:38

I thought it sounded rather camp...

secretscwirrels Mon 18-Mar-13 13:18:23

mumble I thought it was a wind up hence my biscuit

CheerfulYank Mon 18-Mar-13 13:27:04

I think it's cool. I know men who dress up more casually for work or whatever (like this) and I always think it looks nice.

I don't have DS (5) wear t-shirts or ripped jeans to church either...usually he wears polos or button down shirts with chinos, but occasionally jeans. DH does the same.

MuchBrighterNow Tue 19-Mar-13 07:59:27

snuggly knotted tie ! grin

I'm either living in an alternative reality or this is a wind up.

nagynolonger Tue 19-Mar-13 08:46:47

It must be wind up. One teenager in a family might conform but not four.

freddiemisagreatshag Tue 19-Mar-13 08:53:22

TBH I'd be happy if they didn't show their pants, put a razor within about 6 inches of their faces, had a clean top on but most importantly didn't bring an attitude and joined in with the occasion

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 19-Mar-13 08:58:33

No, to me manners and attitude are far more important.
DB went to a posh public school and works in a high-powered job. I have met many of his 'working in the city' friends. Very smartly turned out, suits and ties.
But my God, their morals!

My DS is clean and decently dressed. That is what I expect.

freddiemisagreatshag Tue 19-Mar-13 09:01:10

Mine, when they were at school, went to more than one funeral in their school uniform which is smart trousers, shirt, tie, blazer and black shoes.

I really don't think anyone gave a shit that they weren't in a suit that would have cost a clean fortune (adult sizes) and they would have only worn once or twice before it was outgrown.

dadofnone Tue 19-Mar-13 09:05:40

Ds1 is16 and he has a couple of suits and he got these last year. He has worn them for his prom, interviews,two weddings,a funeral and a couple of meals out.

Ds2 is 13 and he just has a suit jacket from M and S ( last minute wedding and we couldn't get trousers to match so he wore his school ones)

When we go to church and meals out we expect the boys to look smart - they don't need to be told,they just get ready. They don't wear a suit for these occasions as they would stick out like a sore thumb and look odd!

timidviper Tue 19-Mar-13 09:08:52

If it works for you and, more importantly, for your sons then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

dadofnone Tue 19-Mar-13 09:13:38

I am agreeing with the manner being more important than a snugly knotted tie!

We have, for years stresses the importance of good manners, of course we have had a few hiccups on the way. However it's good to see the boys can adapt and talk to all sorts of people, whether its my friends who pop round, our priest, my colleagues, chit chat with strangers who are being friendly.
I think it is important that they speak clearly, don't mumble, look at people, be able to use social pleasantries and be charming. This is more important than going round looking like a Mormon looking for new recruits.

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