Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | February 16, 2014

Bat Mitzvah Dress Shopping

What happens when you go Bat Mitzvah dress shopping with two girls who are NOT fashionistas, and whose mothers aren’t either?


The girls debate wearing matching dresses, where you can zipper open the abs.

What happens is you get five hours of girls picking out the ugliest dresses they can find. And complaining about trying on anything you pick out.


They did a fabulous job picking out inappropriate clothes. These are from Topshop.

Pleather overalls and dress.

Pleather overalls and dress.


My mother is taking Dori dress shopping in April. However picking out two Bat Mitzvah dresses (one for the service, one for the party – and maybe one for Friday night) is not something one can expect to accomplish in five hours of shopping. So we were shopping for back-up dresses. Plus Dori has outgrown all the dresses I bought her in the fall. So her dresses now look like shirts. Example below (the cute one she’s actually wearing).

Not sure this will fit.

Not sure this will fit.

Where did we go for this shopping extravaganza? The Short Hills Mall, of course. First stop was Nordstrom because they have a juniors department. Turns out the juniors department only has casual clothes or prom type dresses – nothing in between. One employee told me that we’d have better luck at Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s. We did, but we had to shop in the women’s section.


Dori thought this would make a fun top, along with a pair of short-shorts in animal print.

Bling much?

Bling much?

Of course we were also shopping for the moms. I bought a dress that might work for me.

Rachel found one that will work for her.

It may need tailoring.

It may need tailoring.

If you live in the area, please let us know your favorite dress shops for tweens/teens. We didn’t find anything at Lord & Taylor for Dori (though I got dresses for Friday night and Sunday brunch).


  1. I know. I know. It is so hard to find this dress. They are no longer little girls but you don’t want to dress them like street walkers either. That’s what’s out there. It seems there is nothing in between. Also, if you go to the petite section, most of the stuff there is too old looking. I found a dress for my daughter in Lord & Taylor either in Woodbridge or Menlo Park (you are in the right state for malls!). For the services, I got a sweet looking suit at Nordstrom’s I think. Good luck!

  2. Delia’s in Menlo or maybe JC Penney’s Woodbridge?

  3. Hi Debbie,
    My Audrey is exactly the same way. I’ve been buying dresses (without her presence) since this past Fall (a year in advance of her bat mitzvah). I found a winner at Neiman’s in Palo Alto, brand is Zoe Ltd. Also have a standby from Kohl’s, brand is Speechless in a size 16. Just found this on Zappos:… Good luck! Jen

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