Tween Fashion Trend Report: What to Wear to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

Tween Fashion Trend Report: What to Wear to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah


Tween Fashion Trend Report: What to Wear to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah 

By Drew Kramer

When Jewish children reach tweenage years, their weekend social calendars can become stacked with bar and bat mitzvahs. The celebration of the transition from childhood to adulthood requires a new uniform that will take them from the temple to party. However, bar and bat mitzvah parties come in all forms these days: from casual, kids-oriented parties at sports complexes to swanky nightclub settings. The invitation will indicate the formality of the attire. While athleisure is a simple answer to the call to attend a sports party, the dress becomes more complicated when the party goes after dark. If your fall calendar is clogged with haftorah mornings and hora nights, below is the skinny on how to look cool in middle school:

Score Some Jordans

Forget Mary Janes or the age appropriate two-inch heels of yesteryear, today’s teens are looking to street style for footwear inspiration. Nike Air Jordans are the shoe of the moment. Launched in 1985, Air Jordans shaped pop culture as we know it today. Today, the shoe is a status symbol in sneaker culture and shul. Across the gender spectrum, cool kids are surfing the internet to acquire rare color combinations that solidify their sneakerhead credibility and individuality.   

Mini Dresses

Hightops paired with a form fitting, often rouched mini dresses announce to the world that the 13-year old girls are not babies anymore. Toned down with the sneakers and made temple-appropriate with a zip up hoodie. Brands like Princess Polly and Katie J outfit the lewk for under $100. 

For the bat mitzvah girl herself, custom dressmakers like Blue by Christina and  Nina Bauer Shapiro create strapless mini dresses that flare from the waist. The look is reminiscent of Dior’s new look, but with sparkle and sneakers.

For 13-year-old girls like me who don’t do dresses, I encourage personal style. For my 90s bar and bat mitzvah season, I rocked pants suits and lady tuxedos. Today’s relaxed dress codes make for even more options. Seize the silhouette of the moment, donning wide leg trousers like a boss. Throw caution to the wind with a jumpsuit that requires help in the bathroom. When you have the guts to go your own way, style knows no limits! 

Classy in Khakis

While the options for menswear are more limited than the female side of the gender spectrum, the more casual celebrations of today give boys more room to play. When a bar or bat mitzvah event signals “cocktail attire,” boys default to the uniform of khakis and a button down (and sometimes even jeans). Adding sneakers takes khakis from accountant to hip. In a sea of khakis and blue and white button downs, sneakers give the wearer comfort and cool factor.

However, when it comes to the bar mitzvah boy, the casualization of the American dress code does not always extend to the temple. Even if the child changes for his party, most families select a more traditional suit and tie for the service to honor the formality of the occasion. But with sneakers. 

Although the spirit of the occasion honors tradition, Judaism supports enhancement or beautification of its rituals through the concept of Hiddur Mitzvah. Hiddur Mitzvah means that Jews must do all we can to make the fulfillment of commandments and performance of Jewish rituals as beautiful and special as possible. Choosing an outfit that makes the wearer feel special and stylish elevates the occasion and spiritual significance of the moment. In Judaism, fashion meets faith at the b’nei mitzvah bimah, and we are here for it. 

Drew Kramer is a writer, performer, and the founder of Lady and The Floofs.


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