When I was young, I was always amazed that people I knew didn’t value their mother’s fashion opinions. My mom made it her job to teach me about clothing. We talked about the clothing industry, we went thrift store shopping together frequently, and talked about what we found. We admired (and critiqued) fashion examples around us. She gave me books about makeup and clothing. I wasn’t always very interested, but in retrospect, her actions established herself as a fashion ally that to this day I value.
Years later, I see how easily my relationship with my daughters can be combative when it comes to clothes. We had a time when one daughter was rolling up her shorts. I’ve heard more than once “Why can’t I…” with fashion discussions. I’ve lectured about not turning cartwheels when you’ve got a dress on and no shorts underneath. We’ve had repeated instructions to WEAR underwear, and wear CLEAN underwear!
As Bethel gets older (she’s nine), she’s got friends who are interested in makeup, older cousins who are developing strong opinions about clothing styles, and is, in general, becoming more aware of what she likes and doesn’t like about clothing. Laurel is seven, and she is super aware of fashion. She has had strong opinions for awhile now about color, style, and accessories. It’s a little intimidating for me, since managing fashion and style isn’t something I feel competent with, nor is it something I’m all that interested in.
However, I’ve recently realized that if I’m not proactive with my daughters, I’m going to lose the opportunity to become the fashion ally like my mom was with me. I want to avoid developing the pattern of combative modesty discussions. I don’t have to be an expert, but it does mean I’ve had to make more effort to be interested in, and learn about, fashion and style. My mom once told me that her goal was to start talking about topics just before we started asking about them. It’s easier to talk about ideas before children have already developed ideas about them! I agree.
Tomorrow I’ll share some of the things I’ve been learning as I seek to become my daughters’ fashion ally.