Friday, November 11, 2005

Fashion Statement

I have a pair of yolk yellow bell bottoms a couple of years younger than I am. My mother saved it for her grandchild among many other things. That getting J to wear them to daycare would be a monumental struggle is not something grandma had counted on.

While the outfit was the fashion statement of it's time, it's importance to us is wholly sentimental. J's friends sport Ralph Lauren and Hilfiger labels of the season and to them this relic from the past is laughable simply because it does not look like anything they are familiar with. That four year olds could discern between in and out of style clothes has been an educative experience for me. I guess I have their parents to thank for that.

J will kick a royal fuss each time I want her to put on the infamous yellow pants. In submitting to me she has to prepare for the barbs of her friends - hardly a choice to be excited about. We had a conversation about the yellow pants one morning. I knew it was about time.

"Why don't you want to wear these, J ? You know grandma saved these for you. These were Mommy's when she was as old as you are" I ask.

"My friends say my pants are funny" she says with a forlorn look hoping I will relent and let her wear something else.

"The thing to remember J for all your life is that what your friends think about what you wear or what you do does not count for anything. Mommy does not care whether her friends like or don't like what she wears." I say.

She does not have anything to say. She is too young to defy convention or authority, to understand that distinction is about not running with the herd. I know she does not get it.

"Do you think Mom looks bad in what she wears ?" I ask her.

"No. You look pretty" she says.

"I think I look just fine in my clothes so it does not matter if someone thinks they are funny. You look really cute in the yellow pants and if your friends say it's funny too bad for them. They just don't get it. " I tell her hoping I can get a subliminal message across.

She puts on her pants. She reminds me of me from another life. She is so much me and yet so different. I know I have many more lessons to teach her on self worth, confidence and most importantly distinction and why that is so special.

I make a note to myself for when it is time to battle designer labels versus generic brands. I have to explain to J how she would be endorsing a brand for free by wearing clothes with visible labels and not getting paid for it.

It's one thing for Agassi to wear the Nike logo or Zeta-Jones to wear Chanel to the Oscars and quite another for a regular person to waste their money to feed a designer's revenue stream.

I have to explain to J why that is complete stupidity and how her money is much better spent. Designer labels are fine as long as there are no visible tags or labels and it is on the mother of all sales. That could be a hard sell but I am hopeful - J is the is kind of kid who who buys into a good, logical argument.

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