Tight-Fisted Moms Set Rules On Teen Clothing Purchases

The tight economy has meant fewer jobs for teens, leaving more of them with empty wallets and at the mercy of that heartless arbiter of teen fashion: mom. The Wall Street Journal reports that even stores that specialize in clothes for younger consumers are following the money to its source. Aeropostale’s employee handbook states: “Because parents make the final decision, they want to feel valued, and they want to feel good about what they purchase.”

Retailers have traditionally catered directly to their teen customers. But some are now going out of their way to be mom-friendly, and the matriarchs are noticing:

“We’re cognizant of the mom and the impact that that mom has,” says Tom Johnson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Aeropostale … Mr. Johnson says meeting her needs “is critical to our success.” … Ana Greenfield, a mother of two teens from Paramus, N.J. finds the store “less snooty, less provocative” than other teen retailers.

Meanwhile, those “provocative” retailers may be ignoring mom at their own peril. Abercrombie & Fitch remains “committed to the nightclub-like atmosphere popular among teens” for both its flagship and Hollister brands. Turned off moms wait outside the store, seething over the “very aggravating, very loud” atmosphere on the other side of the door, and veto purchases that they deem too expensive.

Our advice: Kids, get a job fast, before mom decides that she wants to take you to K-mart or Kohls next. And moms, this is your final warning. We’ve seen your high school yearbook picture, and if you don’t want your kids seeing what you wore back then, lighten up.

Teen Stores Cater to the Ones With Money [WSJ]