Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Past Deadline: When's The Flood Coming?

From fashion diva headquarters...published in The Perth Courier on Tuesday, April 7/09.

When’s the flood coming?

Have I talked about kids and clothes before? Forgive me if I have – half a million words is a lot to keep track of.
Anyway, kids are weird.

I know this boy, and I wouldn’t dare to name names because that would just be so uncool, but he doesn’t like to wear anything new. Now, I’ve heard of remaining faithful to a favourite pair of sneakers, jeans or a sweatshirt. I mean, I have some old favourites that are like heirlooms, but that doesn’t usually mean forsaking all other garments.

So let’s say this kid is going to school with old jeans that have holes in the knees and that are an inch or two away from being called Capri pants. What do you do? Well, you buy some new pants, right? In fact, knowing how much some folks like things to be just so, you go so far as to buy the exact same kind of pants – just a size bigger so no one will ask, “When’s the flood coming?”

Sounds reasonable, don’t you think?

Well, those pants will not do. Nor will any of the other bigger pants of various styles, even the ones that are brand new but are made to look seasoned. (I must be getting old because I find that whole concept to be annoying – pay more for something new that looks half wrecked.) Anyway, this is just to say I don’t get it. It’s not like this kid is being forced to wear velour leisure suits or anything.

I suppose, in a way, I can relate to the clothes dilemma. This is the part I may have talked about before, so I’ll try to be brief.

You may be shocked by this news if you’ve ever seen me live and in person, but I’ve never been called a Fashion Diva, nor do I ever expect to achieve this distinction. That said, I’ve got enough on the ball to know that some trends eventually should be left to die.

Let’s take 1970s fashion, for example. As we moved from bell bottoms and frizzy hair into, well, the almost equally hideous 1980s, I knew enough in Grade 5 that the plaid pants mom made me wear to school were enough to single me out in a way that wasn’t all that appealing. I mean, it’s one thing to be held up as The Shining Example of Extraordinary Fashion for 10-Year-Olds, but quite another to have the tough kid in the class point and laugh and sarcastically say “Nice pants!” while you’re standing in front of a whole buncha classmates.

Good times.

The day that happened confirmed for me that it was time to emerge from the world of “slacks” and enter the exciting new frontier of blue jeans. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can actually remember my very first blue jeans. We drove to Lanark to get them at Drysdale’s store. I don’t know why we didn’t get them in Perth – maybe Perth only had slacks.

Anyway, I picked out a pair of GWG Scrubbies which, I learned fairly quickly, had already been left behind in the fickle world of fashion. By the time I got my hands on them, Scrubbies were already yesterday’s jeans. Still, they were enough to keep me well beneath the radar. Except for the crazy curly hair, boatload of freckles and teeth that were too big for my face, I looked, more or less, normal.

All that said, I can understand a child’s reluctance to sway from clothes that have been working for him to something new that, for whatever odd reason, may be found “unacceptable” in some way. Because I know how unsettling this situation can be, I would find myself in support of school uniforms if the circumstance arose. (While I’m at it, I still maintain people should attain a psychology degree before having children.)

For now, though, relying on “spin” is key. It’s time to work on explaining the subtle difference between “no one notices when your pants look normal” and “everyone notices when your pants are too short.” And believe me, being the proud owner of mile-long legs I know from “floods.”


momma's heart said...

Good luck with talking up those new pants! Isn't it funny, the unique quirks our kids have? Tries the patience, no question, but later, the memories will be precious. Save those holey jeans, for a keepsake. He might get a kick out of them someday.

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

I have been there. It's why I sneak stuff out in the middle of the night. Stink: "Mommy, where are the track pants?" Me: Um... I have NO IDEA. Weird! Good luck.