Thursday, September 7, 2006

How my daughter is changing my clothing habits

I am not a big fan of shopping for clothes, mostly because I feel I do it wrong. Nothing seems to go together. When I was a teenager, my mom gave me a clothing allowance of $50. Back in the 80's, that seems like it could be enough, but I am not creative enough to shop at places like Ross and Marshalls with great deals. I need to shop at places like Limited and jCrew, the places with the models displaying complete outfits that I can just walk up and purchase. Oh, and the fact that I was 5'11" as a 10th grader did not help.

When I got my first job out of college, I used some of my savings to meet with a personal shopper at Nordstroms. This was a big treat. Liz helped me find all these work appropriate outfits and even went the extra step of writing all my outfits down on index cards, with the corresponding jewellry listed, so I hardly had to think about anything. Wow, I looked good for a couple years, until Liz retired.

Then, I started working at home, so work clothes did not matter much. I mostly wore shorts or jeans, or my lovely jammies. Comfort was important, not style.

Mat_tshirt When I got pregnant with my first child, I only shopped at Target for maternity clothes. Maternity was easy in 1999 - there was not that much to chose from, very basic stuff and I would just buy the t-shirts in every color. This was also my first foray into crop pants. Being tall, I thought they were silly, but then I wore them while pregnant and loved them. I tended to focus mostly on shoes during this pregnancy, determined to have cute feet with my growing belly. This carried on after pregnancy, when my son was an infant, as my regular clothes did not.

Jap_weekend_1 With my second child, I said "heck with it" and decided to splurge at Japanese Weekend for some cute clothes. Wow, what a difference that made! I still had cute shoes, of course, but now I had some cute maternity clothes as well.

Now to my biggest shock and surprise - all during my second pregnancy, I was positive I was having a boy (bad mother's instinct), and so when my daugher popped out, my first thought was "Good G*&, what is she going to wear?". For me, a girl baby is a bigger responsibility. Not only do I need to show her about all the important things in life (some of which I am competant at), I also have to instruct her in the art of feminity and fashion (not something that comes easily). With my son, his clothing was easy - shorts or pants with a shirt, long or short sleeved. To dress up, we tucked the shirt in. For my daughter, getting dressed is so much more - dress, skirt or pants. If dress or skirt, socks or tights? If tights, stripes or solids. And it goes on. Hair clips to coordinate with tights and dresses, the right shoe for the right outfit. How am I supposed to keep this straight?

The other thing that happened was that I learned something from my daughter. Skirts can be fun. Dressing up is ok and when my daughter tells me that I am wearing the most beautiful thing she has ever seen, I believe her. I look forward to making clothing selections and I enjoy going shopping with my daughter. At age 4, she is experimenting with her outfits and I love watching her creative combinations. She mixes colors that don't seem to go together on the color wheel. She does her hair with reckless abandon. And, she has a great time doing this. Fashion is not scary for her. Hopefully this rubs off on me, or better yet, maybe she can be my personal shopper!

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