Monday, May 07, 2012

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

I'll tell you all something right now; I don't always love what my daughter wears. Sometimes, the color combinations jar the retina; other times, I'm fairly certain she'd be comfortable if the weather swung thirty degrees but will probably come to regret this ensemble later in the day. For the most part, though, I say nothing. I say nothing because she rarely misses and usually has a flattering, charming sporty/gamine chic thing going. I say nothing because we're not the same person and part of being a human is figuring out what delights you. I also say nothing because this "Saying nothing about Daughter's clothes" is a practice to get my brain used to a few years from now when I'll feel all sorts of things about what she wears and saying something will just lead to door-slamming and threats of tattoos. Usually, I find something to commend (the color, a creative use of contrasting patterns in the socks) and ignore the parts I wouldn't wear.

But a few days ago, Daughter and I were at the store and a girl about her age crossed our path. Daughter inhaled in delight and sighed softly, "Love that shirt."

Readers, the shirt basically looked like this:

I hissed softly and recoiled. Before I could construct something politic to say, the words "Not until I am dead" sprung from my lips.

Daughter looked at me and said "Well, okay then."

"I mean," I backtracked quickly, "I can see why the fringy bits are appealing and there's nothing nicer on a hot day than a t-shirt and..."

We enjoyed the silence. I gave up.

"I'm sorry, honey. This is the first time you've seen that style of t-shirt and I get that the novelty is delightful. But, see, that shirt and anyone my age have history."

I explained that in the usual path of modern fashion, styles go from the runway, to the high-end store, to the regular department store, to the kid's department, to limbo, where they wait a generation and are revived as delightfully ironic. Leopard print, skinny pants, cropped jackets; whatever women's style you can imagine has been created at every price-point. You can buy the cheap item and hope you resemble the socialite you saw wearing the couture version in W magazine.

All except for cropped, fringed tops. At their most aspirational, cropped, fringed tops shouted to the world "I'M ON TOUR WITH MY BOYFRIEND'S HEAVY METAL BAND! WE JUST GOT BACK FROM WISCONSIN!" The next level down was the band groupies, and then the groupies for the roadies. Finally, cropped, fringed shirts were sported by the last person I saw wearing one, a woman solidly in her fifties with three inches of black root, ten inches of peach hair, acid-washed cutoffs and dirty feet in flip-flops. She was in line in front of me at a gas station at 11:30 at night; I assume she was related to the five or twelve children Visigothing around her because of how she screamed "If you don't stop messing with Grandma's lighter, I'm going to tan your tails!"

I explained this to Daughter; we both glanced at the shirt, now a half-storelength away. Daughter pined a bit.

I said grudgingly, "How about this; fringed, but not cropped. Not over shorts."

Daughter sighed and said "I'll accept that."

Because she was a good sport and to prove I have no hard feelings towards the 80's as a whole, I bought her some day-glo ankle socks. Because, as well all know, girls just want to have fun.


Blogger Chris said...


As a child of the seventies, I can only say you speak truth. Case in point, hiphugger jeans. Popular in the days of my youth, now a standard. My daughter won't be caught dead in anything other than "low-cut" jeans, and calls what I wear "Mom jeans" in utter disgust.

Ah, to be young (and thin)...

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Thank you for introducing "visigothing" as a verb. It's perfect!

3:58 AM  
Blogger MomQueenBee said...

"Not until I am dead" may not have been the best choice of time frames. Guess what Daughter will be wearing at your funeral? (Loved this!)

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The choosing of the battles will pay off later, I promise.

I have been blessed with two amazingly fashionable daughters who are very modest but very chic at the same time. They have been known to kidnap me before I had a chance to escape the house to "fix" something I was wearing that they thought I should not be seen in public wearing. Not that I have ugly taste. I generally a) don't care and b) never buy new clothes.

My sister in law, who could be blog fodder for years upon end, once bought her daughter shoes for school that were cute but not mom's taste. Therefore, daughter was ONLY allowed to wear them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know. What?

1:48 PM  
Blogger Mark Moran said...

You think you've got fashion issues? I LIVE in Wisconsin ...

5:54 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

But....but....I love that shirt! I seriously wish I still a teenager band groupie living in the 80s. But I swear I was not the woman in front of you at the gas station.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Lydia said...

I'm holding my breath as my daughter develops her "fashion sense" at 12 years old. I wonder what the in-style look will be in a few years. Enjoyed this post, as I can relate!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a pre-school teacher, it was always obvious when the girls started dressing themselves. Let's just say, that Cyndi Lauper, her rainbow colored hair, striped shorts, tie-dyed shirt, and mis-matched socks, rules. Then, and still now. better her than Snooki, I say.

10:06 PM  

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