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    [Disclaimer: All questions must be submitted from a parent for those under 18 years of age]

    Dear Sharon: I’m writing for my 5th grade daughter. Here are her questions to you: I’m unsure of what would make me look not like a dork or not too fancy. Should I wear make-up? Where should I shop? Do you know any way for boys to get to like you! -Betwixt and Be ‘Tween (AOL)

    Dear Betwixt and Be ‘Tween: Before we go any further, my sweet diva-wannabe, be the star that you are, and forget about “getting” boys to like you. Boys like girls who love themselves… remember, you are your number one! Have the self-confidence to be the best that you can be to yourself and reaaaally groovy boys will follow. And, if the super hotties aren’t around just yet, don’t start angsting out, you have a couple decades to discover the real one. 

    Makeup at your age is way too extreme for everyday. Face it, you are just too cute to paint your face this early. 

    If you want to wear a light coat of mascara, a touch of blush, or a hint of sparkle for a special occasion, that’s cool if your parents say okay, but not for school. For an almost make-upy effect, dab some Blistex Lip Tone lip balm (available at it’s gently colored, has sunscreen, and enough protective moisturizing action in case you start biting your lips in some state of wacky wardrobe waffling. Glam-up your hair instead with beaded jewelry clips and pins, like the ones from Seventeen (Favorite corner store beauty products + free shipping at When you can start to wear makeup, take a peek at  Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty : Everything… for some professional tips that your mom will be glad you knew. 

    Rule this dream gig: I scoped the 4th grade Sears Bizwiz Style Advisor contest winner play fashion buyer for a day to help Sears choose groovy clothes for its stores that her peers actually would think are the bomb! Gosh, this kid’s fly picks had the old-timers awestruck in their seats. Enter yourself in next year’s contest by logging on to by September 22.

    But, putting the fantasy day aside, you can break the bank on your baby-sitting money, outdo your allowance, or make some concessions with mom (or your primo caregiver) about your shopping budget. Let’s get real, somewhere between family and peers, rests the final 411 on your wardrobe.

    Here are some A+ fashion clues to uncover this fall if you are stymied for student style:

    · A stripe turtleneck or a funky cut rugby polo.
    · A cool colored corduroy mini
    · A vest
    · Wild colored tights
    · “Almost used” low rise jeans with big flare legs
    · A-line plaid skirt 
    · Chunky boots
    · Converse All Star sneakers
    · A puffy coat
    · A glitter print T-shirt

    Where should you shop? Wherever you find what makes you look your best within your budget. Old Navy, ESPRIT Kids! , Wet Seal,, Target, Claires Accessories, Bath and Bodyworks, for just about everything, and YAKPAK and Dickies brand bags and backpacks top a fave list of girl shops. 

    Still can’t find what you want? Get a little crafty and learn to whip it up yourself… you’ll save money and be able to create your own personal look-that’s super cool.

    Dear Sharon: My son insists upon carrying his school books in a backpack that looks like it’s about to swallow him. I worry that this can hurt his back. Do you have any suggestions? -Backpack Flack (Chicago, IL)

    Dear Backpack Flack: Whatever trendy way is devised for us to lug around our overloaded daily must-haves, the backpack lives as the staple schlepper for kids. 

    Mom, you do know best. A recent study conducted on behalf of Lands End revealed that 96 percent of kids ages 8 – 13 use a backpack; more than 31 percent of these kids carry it improperly with one strap over the shoulder instead of the two. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), improperly wearing a backpack or carrying one that’s too heavy may cause a child to experience chronic back pain as an adult.

    Think of the size of the child, as opposed to the age of the child when shopping for a backpack. Jerome McAndrews, D.C. of the ACA recommends that smaller kids wear backpacks that fit properly on the small of their backs and do not extend more than four inches past their waist. It should not weigh more than five to ten percent of the child’s body weight. Padded straps and a padded back aid in comfort. 

    Wheels are an obvious choice to lessen the load. Check out backpacks with inline skate wheels at Land’s End in At least this way you can rest assured, your kid wouldn’t be scooting along on his Razor with a ton of books. 

    Hankering for some image boosting advice? Ask Sharon: Advice Page

    Copyright (c)2000 Sharon Haver

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