Bag Lady Chic
“My daughter is into bag lady chic,” bemoans my friend Chuck about her 10-year old. “I cannot fully explain the horror of today’s outfit: an open silver men’s shirt on top of a tiny Pucci-inspired blouse she found in the hidden give-away bag, track pants and mismatched socks.”
“That doesn’t sound too bad!” I say, Chuck’s daughter is the size of a teenager and infamous for her kooky outfits.
“Did I mention that that the silver shirt was from the men’s section of Value Village? Her dad took her there and allowed her to wander through the store and pick whatever she wanted, so she came home with men’s disco clothes. Oh, I forgot to tell you about the bright orange wool scarf that some amateur knitted it in the 70s. And to top it off, she often goes out with socks on her hands instead of mittens.”
"OK…” says me, stifling a laugh.
“And she went to my cousin’s party in that get-up!”
Chuck continues, “I just don’t understand it. I think I am a normal dresser, I try not to attract attention and I have this daughter who has this bizarre idea of what makes an outfit. But I don’t think she is trying to attract attention either. She isn’t trendy, it’s not about fashion design it is pure craziness. I let her do what she wants but sometimes I have to tell her – that looks absurd!
“And then she always tells me: I don’t care what you think!” (and yes, I noted a sense of pride in Chuck’s voice)
Chuck’s daughter has always had an extreme sense when it comes to fashion. She spent an entire week wearing a clown dress in grade one – not a dress with a clown on it, but a clown Halloween costume, though she did leave the red nose at home. She wore a yellow Pokémon shirt for most of kindergarten and I have never seen her in a pair of matching socks.
Chuck gave up on dictating her daughter’s outfits long ago, deciding that it was a battle just not worth fighting. She is right, fighting with your kids over what they wear is a waste of time and energy. If clothes are the language we use to express ourselves, Chuck's daughter is speaking gibberish.
My daughter can also have a rather, individual sense of style: like most four year olds the more sparkles, rainbows and pink the better. We adults may think that wearing stripes with stripes is a no-no (or any horizontal stripes in my case), but to a four year old red and white-striped pants with a pink and brown striped shirt is the utmost in fashion, and it gets even better if you can throw on a skirt on top of the pants and at least three different necklaces and hairclips.
You can tell yourself that how your child looks is not a reflection on your parenting, that doesn’t always save you from the embarrassment of seeing your kid look like a clown (literally in Chuck’s case). “I used to laugh as I saw kids walking down the street with crazy outfits on, and now I am a parent of one of those kids,” she said.
What’s the craziest outfit your child ever wore? Or did they pick one article and wear it to death, like this 2-year old?