Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Best Dressed Tomboy and Her Not-So-Best-Dressed Offspring

This blog is named "The Best Dressed Tomboy" and this blog's author has been obsessive about clothes since, well, birth.  Despite my Dorothy Hamill bowl cut, I was the best dressed kid in 1970's polyester at preschool. I was the kid who scoured Seventeen magazine in June to strategize my first day of school outfit.  I was the kid who wanted to wear a dress with my sneakers on elementary school gym day.  I could walk in heels (very well, mind you) by the time I was 5.  I couldn't tell you what I ate for breakfast yesterday or locate Turkey on a map, but I can tell you exactly when, where, and why I bought every single article of clothing in my closet. I'm not joking.  Every.Single.One.

You're not thinking anything I don't already know.  I know that I have issues.

Just imagine my excitement at my ultrasound (which, inexplicably was 4 years ago), when I learned that my firstborn was a girl.   A GIRL!  A shopping buddy!  My own dress-up doll!

I spent the second half of my pregnancy painstakingly curating a wardrobe that would make Suri Cruise tinge with envy.  The technical term for this affliction is "apeshit" and apeshit, I went---mostly out of excitement over outfitting the next generation, but also partially because  I was being frugal with my own clothing choices, mostly stemming from my avoidance of all reflective surfaces during my pregnancy as to not catch a glimpse of my own heft.  (It should be noted that I was the most miserable and quite possibly the most melodramatic pregnant person in the history of life).

And then, my Little M arrived.  For the first 18 months or so, my little buddy was perfectly frocked in all sorts of fashionable little girl wear.  My little peanut wore all sorts of adorable things, virtually all the time.  It was awesome.  I was in heaven.

Then one terrible, awful, very bad day....Little M became (almost) just like her mother.  She became very opinionated about her clothes.  She demanded that she make all of the clothing purchasing selections.   She was ready to usurp me as creative director of costume design and wardrobe.  It should have been a very proud day.  I was ready to turn over the reigns to her, except for one very significant hiccup...

My girl has some pretty bad taste.

I'm stunned.  I'm horrified.    I am not sure how this happened.   On any given day, my daughter looks like she could be a candidate for ""...if only that site had a "kiddie" section.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm all for her expressing her individuality and I'm all for picking my battles wisely.  Most days, I don't care that she wants to go to Target dressed in a SpongeBob Halloween costume paired with her soccer cleats.  I don't normally care that she likes to wear her shirts backwards and her jackets so that they zip in the back.  I don't care if I grocery shop with Cinderella, and it doesn't  bother me if she wants to wear her plastic dress-up princess shoes with her soccer shorts and bumblebee wings.

What does drive me bonkers, though, are the "festive" wardrobe choices when the setting calls for her to be dressed nicely.  Let's just say that there have been many reasonably ugly clothing battles in these types of instances...and one of those battles happened this morning.  For the record, I lost this battle.

This morning, we had late morning reservations for brunch at a reasonably nice restaurant to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday.  As is normally the case when we have weekend morning plans, we were scrambling to get out the door despite having been awake for 4 freaking hours before scheduled departure time.  Suffice it to say, weekend time management at Casa Sunshine leaves much to be desired.    In any case, with 8 minutes to spare, the Taming of the Shrew   Dressing of Little M portion of the show commenced.  I'm still recovering from those 8 minutes of unmitigated, torturous hell.

It should be mentioned that I was fully aware that most brunch patrons would be dressed in their Sunday best, and despite the fact that my daughter wouldn't know a house of worship from a skyscraper, I fully expected her to dress accordingly.  The little lass has a closet full of completely appropriate dresses for this occasion- dresses, for the record, that I bought her.

For her part, Her Majesty insisted that she wear her favorite flower jeans paired with her Optimus Prime tee-shirt and a pair of hot pink suede maryjanes that (a) i hate and (b) last fit her in 2010.  The fact that jeans and a tee-shirt are inappropriate for a non-redneck brunch notwithstanding, the real kicker was nothing on her body even FIT her.  Little M is a tall child, but at least 2 inches of hem drag along the floor when she wears them.  My best guess is that those flower jeans might actually fit her in 2 years, and God willing, they will have fallen apart by then.  I suppose I could hem them to fit now, but (a) I don't know how to  sew anything and that's why God made tailors and (b) I have no idea from whence they came, and I wish they'd go back to that place.  Permanently.   I did actually purchase the Optimus Prime shirt, and I did once love it- when it fit her 18 months ago.  Thanks to growth spurts, finger paint, and dryer shrinkage, the shirt now is now a stained, faded a midriff baring shirt, which JUST.IS.NOT.GOING.TO.HAPPEN.IN.PUBLIC.

Oh, and she's going through a phase where she doesn't want to button her pants, because it's so much more comfortable to "let it all hang out".  WRONG.   I'm not sure how any child of mine thinks that dressing for comfort is a reasonable notion.   I can't be entirely certain, but I'm pretty sure my response to that was "I'll dress for comfort when I've entirely given up on life."  :)

To me, the enforcement of the dress code is not about social conformity or about  how others regard my parenting.  It's about how I regard my own parenting.

The way I see it, my primary function is to teach her the life skills that she will later require to be a functional adult in this society.  For better or for worse, one of those life skills is the ability to appropriately clothe yourself for a variety of situations. To take pride in your appearance.  To put your best face and foot forward to the world.

By no means am I saying that clothes make the man (or the girl) or that clothes need to be designer/pricy/new to meet this goal---but I am saying that missing the boat on what is construed as "appropriate" becomes increasingly detrimental to adults.  I don't even want to talk about the number of times that I've wanted to say "This is an OFFICE, not a nightclub" to someone...or "if this is what you'd wear to an interview, I'm afraid to see what you'd wear to see a client."  It's not about style- it's about good judgment...the good judgment that I'm trying to instill in my daughter so that she can someday succeed in the real world.

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can rule the world....

1 comment:

  1. That's hilarious! One of your best posts yet. But that might be b/c I was there and actually experienced it first hand. Don't forget the butterfly t-shirt that also had to accompany us to the restaurant...