"Formal" and "teenage boy" do not seem like terms that go together, but whether your son or nephew or younger brother likes it or not, there really are instances when there is a need for them to dress up all fancy-like, and ditch their ripped jeans, high-top sneakers, and nose rings. Those who thought that problems about getting dressed ended with the terrible twos will certainly feel like someone has just turned back time. This time around, however, it would be way more difficult to wrestle a teenager into the formal outfit that you would want him to wear.Do not "ambush" him.
Give your teenager enough time to digest that he will most definitely have to wear a tux to his cousin's wedding, and that he may most definitely not wear his new neon sneakers with it. Instead of simply picking out a tux and forcing it on him, try bringing him along as you make the choice, so that even if it is not exactly what he prefers to wear, he at least had a say in what he will actually put on (although they would probably insist that most tuxedos look the same to them anyway). Plan a separate trip just for him when you do this, as he will not appreciate having to tag along as you debate whether you should go for chartreuse or pistachio.Be prepared to provide a counter-offer.
Okay, so he is not three anymore, but sometimes, a counter-offer still works. There are several options for this one; consenting to being his mom's date to a charity shindig, dressed up in a coat and tie and leather shoes, for instance, may merit a twenty-dollar bonus, or a promise to loan your SUV, when he goes on his next date. Or you may offer to host the post-game party for him and his pals at your house after the next baseball game.Get his girlfriend in on the deal.
Most moms may scoff at the idea, but if you are chummy with your son or brother's girlfriend, then she may be a big help in getting him to dress up. Things would be a whole lot easier if she was invited to the event as well, and if they are going there together. You may even end up freeing yourself from the responsibility of picking out what he should wear, as his girlfriend will probably do that for you; and if he ends up not liking what he is wearing, well, then it is not your fault, now, is it?Compromise on accessories.
Allow him to incorporate a little piece of himself in that outfit that, for him, is far from who he actually is (at least at this point). So let him wear that earring, for as long as it is not too gaudy and is discreet and subdued enough to be elegant. If, for instance, he is a biking enthusiast, then let him wear a pair of funky bicycle cufflinks
, instead of the traditional monogrammed ones. You would be surprised that there are actually bike cufflinks available that don't mess with the overall formal look and may even add personality to your teen's outfit. There is certainly no harm in meeting him halfway, and ensuring that he will at least manage a hint of a smile when you pose for photos.