Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fashion Faux Pas

I give up. I am graciously admitting defeat. I have put in a concerted effort for years and have fallen short. Therefore, I am conceding victory to my children.

When my children were born, I was so excited to buy them all of the cute little matching outfits in the stores. I spent hours upon hours perusing the racks of clothing at BabiesRUs...The Children's Place...Gymboree....Baby Gap. I have never been accused of being a fashionista, but I simply fell in love with all of the little pint-sized fashions. Gorgeous little brightly-colored dresses and tights for my daughter. Handsome sweaters and cute little cargo pants for the boys. As they grew older, however, my children began to refuse to wear the nice clothes I would buy for them. Getting them dressed became a chore. I persevered for the sake of pride. I wanted my children to look nice. I didn't want them to look like refugees from a third-world country. Is that too much to ask?

Today, however, I am officially throwing in the towel. Like all of my Democratic counterparts all over this great nation, I am conceding defeat this November. It was not a sudden decision. Rather, it was a progressive process. A gradual letting go. My children are smart. They hatched an insidious plot. They started out small, so as not to call too much attention to their devious plan. A sudden refusal to wear one particular article of clothing. Nicholas suddenly didn't want to wear his yellow striped shirt. big deal. I'll put a different one on him. Then it became all yellow clothing. Eventually, he worked his way up to all shirts with buttons or collars, all shirts with tags of any sort, all pants with drawstrings, and all shoes with laces. For a while, he refused to wear white socks. He wanted all of his socks to match his, blue, orange, whatever. I eventually got rid of all of his colored socks and he'll wear white now. So....given all of his stringent requirements, we are left with sweatpants (with the strings cut out), t-shirts (as long as they have no tag), and velcro tennis shoes...though lately, he has taken to wearing his summer sandals with socks all the time. Nicholas is, by far, my most persnickety child. As you can imagine, he is one stylish-looking little boy.

Don't even get my started on Sophie! Sophie has fewer requirements for her wardrobe than Nicky does. As a matter of fact, there is not a single thing I have purchased for her that she will not wear. The problem with Sophie lies in the fact that she has her own sense of what articles of clothing go together...and her sense of style differs greatly from mine. As a matter of fact, her style differs greatly from anything that anyone would consider even remotely stylish, excluding perhaps the blind and color-blind. Sophie is a big fan of dresses and skirts. However, she likes to pair her skirts with unusual accessories. For example, I came home the other day to find her dressed in snow boots, blue jeans, a brightly colored swing skirt with a wild pink floral pattern over the blue jeans, and a brown, yellow, and red striped sweater. She completed her outfit with a pasta necklace she made at school. All of these items of clothing I bought for her. I love them all...individually. As a combined ensemble though, they were really quite hideous. First and foremost, there is a not a single flake of snow on the ground, so the snow boots were really quite unnecessary....especially considering that her brother was wearing sandals at the same time. Secondly, baggy jeans paired with a skirt went out in about 1983. And finally, I have seen florals and stripes work when they are in coordinating colors, but pink flowers combined with brown, red, and yellow stripes struck me with an overwhelming need to avert my eyes.

To make matters worse, Sophie is incredibly proud of her unusual stylistic creations. Therefore, I am compelled to applaud her efforts and tell her how great she looks...even when every fiber of my being wants to grab her, rush her to her bedroom dresser, and change her clothes. She will hole herself up in her bedroom, all alone, getting dressed. She will refuse to let anyone enter until she has completed her wardrobe creation. She will then insist that I introduce her as if she were a runway model. "Wearing a gorgeous ensemble of pink and red and orange and green from her sophisticated new winter line for the fashion-forward four-year-old's Sophie!" Ruanita and I will ooh and ah over whatever mismatched creation she has concocted, while Sophie twirls and turns and grins from ear to ear. Her brothers, never taking their eyes off the television screen, will mutter in complete monotone, "Yea. Ooh. Pretty, Sophie."

Lucas is my only cooperative child when it comes to clothing. Being 100% boy, he has no interest in clothing whatsoever. I set out his clothes for school every day and he has never once objected. He will put on absolutely anything I set out for him. The only problem with Lucas is that he is incredibly rough on his clothing. Shoes are destroyed in no time. His shirts end up covered in stains. Every single pair of pants he puts on his body ends up with a hole in the knee. I don't know what the kids does, but it is the left knee every time, while the right knee escapes completely unscathed. Very odd. However, despite quickly and effectively destroying every piece of clothing I buy for him, I can't complain too much about Lucas. He gives me minimal grief in this particular arena. I said before, I am conceding defeat. I have concluded that my children are never going to be the beautifully-coiffed children smiling from the pages of the Baby Gap ads. Despite my efforts, they are never going to be the preppy-styled little cookie cutter suburbanites I see on my television screen. No...not my children. They are going to be the kids in the mismatched clothes. They are going to be the kids wearing stained shirts and ripped jeans. The kids with kool-aid mustaches and syrup in their hair. They are going to be the kids who write on one another with magic markers and refuse to comb their hair. Despite my efforts to the contrary, they are going to look like third-world refugees. But they are smiling little refugees.

I suppose there are worse things.


Michelle said...

Individual style is where it's at Shannon!!

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