Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fashion

I was *not* a fashionable child. I never wore the "in" clothes. Hell, most of the time I didn't even wear GIRL'S clothes. My dad, ever the practical man, reasoned that boys' clothing was more durable and less expensive than girls' clothing, and could not see why he should purchase a T-shirt and corduroys in the girls' department when it was also available in the boys' department. These things were provided for us in the colors of: dark blue, dark green, or dark brown. (gee, wonder why I am most comfortable in dark colors!) I pretty much never wore dresses or "pretty" shoes. (Easter and Christmas.) We wore boys' jackets and snowmobile boots. My parents have heard me go on ad nauseum about the negative effects all of this had on me**. When I was in middle school I went on strike and refused to wear a boy's jacket any more. I wore a jean jacket every day that fall and early winter, regardless of how frigid the weather, insisting that I wasn't cold, until I unwrapped a (relatively) girly sweater-jacket with PINK on it, at Christmas.

I discovered clothes to a certain extent in high school, although I was still fashion-backwards for the most part, but I had one or two items in my junior and senior year that were actually stylish.
In college I went berserk. I was close to a mall and I had available cash on hand, and I just loooooooved using it to buy clothes. I had lots of clothes, and sexy underwear (matching sets!) and ohmygosh shoes. Lots of shoes! I was stylish and very happy about it, and this lasted until I got married.

Suddenly available cash was nonexistent, and then I was pregnant, and for maternity clothes I ended up wearing plus-sized stuff that did not fit well, and made me look old and ugly. (There was NO affordable maternity wear anywhere to be found.) I even wore some of my dad's clothes.

Then the baby was there, and ohmygosh wasn't he adorable!!! And cute clothing poured in from everywhere and he was always dressed so adorably (in outfits! coordinated outfits!), and all growing up he looked so CUNNIN' (Maine word, means SO FREAKIN' CUTE) I could barely stand it. He was a little preppy, and my friend Tracey dubbed him the GQ boy.

And then I had ANOTHER child and oh, this one was a GIRL, and I have just had the best time with girly clothes for her. And she is not only comfortable in dresses, but she has been wearing shoes with *heels* since she was two and she can RUN IN THEM like you would not believe. She is equally comfortable in dresses, skirts, pants, whatever, the girl can wear it and she can rock it and she looks gooooooood. She has a sense of style that I do not possess and she puts outfits together that I would never think of and they turn out amazing. Really, she's just got this natural knack for it. She's eight and she's been dressing herself for YEARS, better than I could do on my own.

I have an absolute problem with overbuying clothes for both of my kids, because I am determined that for as long as I can, they will be well dressed. I will not have my children mocked, as I was, for looking stupid and dressing horribly. My kids will have the clothes, and lots of them. Kira has more shoes than any other child her age that I know.

My parents are also champion yard-sale shoppers, and provide me with absolute TONS of brand-name clothes for both kids at stunningly cheap prices. My kids have CLOTHES.

Mark, for the last couple of years, has been unconcerned with how he dresses. He still looks great in whatever he wears (he's a natural at it--Old Navy staff used to tell me I should try to get him to model for them), but he's pretty much a jeans-and-T-shirt-every-day kid. I know, it's what "all the boys" are doing, but sometimes I wish he had a little hipster going on every now and then. Instead, he just throws something on and goes. He resists any and all attempts by me to expand his fashion horizons, and if I get him something he's not into, it just sits there until he outgrows it, because he will not wear something just to humor his mom. Like, he will NOT wear sweaters. I've gotten him a sweater or two every year for the last three or four years, and they have never been worn. (well, I didn't this last year. I think I finally figured it out.) I experiment a little with his T-shirts, and that mostly works out.

I just picked him up a few T-shirts during my annual spring oversplurge. I mean, I go nuts in the spring. Especially for Kira. She's just so freakin' cute in all the different styles, and there's so MUCH out there, I can't seem to stop myself. The last two days I have gone berserk at TJMaxx and WalMart, and her closet overfloweth. She got NINE pairs of shoes today. (and as a side spaz: She's eight years old and I bought most of her shoes in the WOMEN'S department! Size six!!!!!!! Although I also got her some 3 & 3.5 in the girls' department. My own feet are only 8/8.5)

Anyway, I also picked up the few T's for Mark. He wore one to school today, and two of the girls in his class just zoomed in on him. Kate (his cousin) shrieked out in glee: "Mark! Aeropostale! You're making your first fashion statement!" (This is interesting to me because he has worn other shirts that say GAP and "Life Is Good" and stuff, but Aeropostale is apparently "popular.") Mark related this to me with a certain bemusement, but I'm wondering if it will have any effect on him. I know that the other day the girls were razzing him about his sneakers, because they have holes in them. I have been trying to get him to give them up and wear his basketball sneakers, but he insisted that they were soooooooo comfortable and just kept wearing them. But five minutes with the girls, and he's been wearing the basketball sneakers this week. So we may be entering a new era with Mark and "fashion."

I know I'm setting myself up for some serious pain with Kira. When she gets older and is more resistant to sale clothing and (gasp) yard-sales, she will have a rather rude awakening in the sparsity of her wardrobe. She's already got a shoe fetish going on, along with purses (yeah, like mother, like daughter there, too). I know that I'm WAY overcompensating for feelings of inadequacy in my youth. I know I'm putting focus on how she looks, and rewarding the superficiality of the entire thing. And you know what? I'm really okay with that. Because she has got a level of self-confidence that I have never had in my entire life, and if part of that is because she has never felt bad about her clothes, then I'm relieved. There is enough other stuff out there that will challenge her, and while I never intend for her to be so fashion-forward that she's out there setting trends, or looking down at someone because of what *they* wear (she hasn't done that, ever, and if I ever hear it, I will squash that so fast her adorable little head will spin). But she will go forth knowing how to wear heels, and knowing that she can kick butt in them. She and Mark both have the security of wearing what they like, and if my daughter wears boy clothes, it's because she WANTS to, not because she HAS to. And that, I think, has made all the difference. mk


Kira's shoe haul.
















These are her favorites. Note the kitten heel.







I think I'm going to pick up a pair of these for myself.







**My parents give me now infinite grief because I have actually purchased boys' clothing for Kira. Namely, snow pants and boots. In my defense, she wears the snow pants and/or boots along with a BRIGHT FUCHSIA winter coat. She is NEVER in head-to-toe boygear, as I was. (except lately she has been wearing her brother's castoffs from her dad's house. I guess she likes that they were Mark's...she loves her brother.) Also, I am often forced by finance to purchase things either at end-of-season clearance for the next year, or at Goodwill. Color choices on snow pants and boots are limited in those instances. But if I ever have the choice, it's a girl color. Like, she ALSO has a pair of fuchsia Sorel boots. So there.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

mk -

Glad to read that your enjoying this time in your kids' (fashion) lives. You already know, it all goes by sooooo fast! I wish I had actually saved some of my kids' more memorable outfits (Matt's 1st pair of Levi's, and his 1st pair of Docksider shoes, Katie's ballerina outfit that matched her 'my-size' Barbie..) Before you know it, nothing YOU choose will be acceptable....nowadays, it's just 'baggie' pants for him, and hip-rider jeans for her.....(sigh).

I know I'm a day late (2 days, now!) for your movie quotes...but - do you remember these?

1) Owen loves his mama!!! (Said by me to my son, when his mother has to almost beg him for a hug. From "Throw Mama from the Train" with Billy Crystal and Danny Devito).

2) Bring me back something French! (Said by me to my wife and daughter when they head out shopping, and tell me I can't go. From the movie "Home Alone").

Finally, a line that never works for me, no matter how many times I try to use it!! It's from the film "Silence of the Lambs", when Buffalo Bill is "transforming himself" in his lair with the girl down the well, and there is a song playing with the lyrics "Goodbye Horses". I use it to get my wife in the 'mood'...... It goes:

"Would you @#$* me? I'd #$%@ me!!"

For some reason, she just doesn't find it romantic!! :)

Whaddya think?

Paul

markira said...

Paul,

Dang, buddy, where ya been?! I know you've been reading, but you've been so QUIET.

You asked what I think: I think you owe me two more quotes! ;)

I know what you mean about saving the significant outfits. I did keep a lot of their baby stuff: the outfits each wore on the way home from the hospital, their first little pair of shoes, etc. It took years before I could let go of any of their clothes.

Now, I HAVE TO let go of their outgrown stuff, or I would literally be swamped with clothing. I would be swimming through a sea of jeans and skirts and dresses and tops and socks and swimsuits and fleeces and.... mk

Karmyn R said...

Growing up - I was completely oblivious to fashion. Suddenly all my friends would be wearing Guess jeans and I'd be completely blown away.

My daughter already has more fashion sense than I ever did. (which is kind of scary!)

I enjoy shopping for my kids too - more so than myself!

Amy said...

I'm convinced that clothes are cheaper now than they were when we were kids. I was never very stylish, either, having no money to buy the things that were stylish, but rather second-hand or dorky stuff. I didn't have to wear boy clothes since I only have sisters, but I did wear a lot of out-of-fashion hand-me-downs.

Things are different today, a lot because kids only wear things for a couple of months before tossing them aside. This benefits my kids because I am able to find super-stylish clothes that are in great shape and cost next to nothing at my favorite thrift shop. My kids are well-dressed, but not because I spend a lot. In fact, I tend to be quite thrifty when it comes to clothes. I just don't think it was as easy to find clothes like that when we were kids.

Ro said...

OMG! I thought you were exaggerating about your shopping spree yesterday, but how wrong I was! Those shoes are great. I can't believe that she fits into a size 6! The red ones are my favorite too but I also like the polka dot ones! Geez, woman! I also love your MK sunglasses...I see you didn't write about THEM! Did I use enough exclamation marks for you?! Ro

markira said...

Ro, I did forget to talk about my sunglasses, didn't I? I should remedy that.

Amy,
My parents find TONS of clothes in new-to-nearly-new condition at yard sales, that are completely stylish. It's true, they go through them so fast, other kids benefit. I try to do the same, passing on the kids' outgrowns.

Karmyn,
It's SO much more fun to shop for the kids! Plus, there's none of the fitting-room horror. It's like having life-size Barbies. That walk and talk and roll their eyes.