School starts on Thursday for the Wesson kids, which means the last two weeks have been full of back to school shopping and also major frustrations on several different levels.
Sunny isn’t really a problem—all we have to do for her is find the stuff with her age on the label and remind her that her parents do not buy shirts advertising shows that she doesn’t watch.* The biggest frustration with her is curbing her inclination to wear out all her new clothes before school starts, and talking her out of pairing brown and pink striped leggings with her new red and black plaid dress.
Jane though . . . Jane is a tweener.
Physically, she’s matured out of the girls section, but mostly isn’t the shape designers imagine a young miss is.
Emotionally, she wants fashion, she wants style, and she wants to knock the mean girls’ socks clean off.
Inexplicably, most of the designers this year seem to have gone back to the Sausage Casings for Living Toothpicks concept: Skinny pants, skin-tight camis under sheer tight tops, and all those other things that don’t work on a body that hasn’t been visited by the waistline fairy, yet.**
Ultimately, she’s ten and I’m the one with the job and the credit cards.
There’s been some conflict.
Yesterday, we ventured forth to find tops to go under the wraps that she’s decided will be her fashion statement this year. I like wraps myself, and thought—with the naivety of a woman whose last tee-shirt purchase for her darling daughter was a three pack of boys’ Hanes for tie-dying purposes—that since the wraps themselves had been found and approved and purchased, finding stuff to go under them would be a cinch.
Except most of the tops we found in her size—technically—were so snug they skimmed the inside of her belly button, or so loose that the shoulder seams had to be yanked up every ten seconds so the lowest part of the neckline wasn’t too close to her belly button.***
I want my ten-year old to wear cool stuff—but I also want her to look like a ten-year old. instead of a co-ed on the prowl.
I’ll admit that my reluctance to explain to her what ‘on the prowl’ means weakens my arguments, but my point is that I shouldn’t have to. Designers need to study the tween market and the tween body types—emphasis on the plural, please—and make some clothes that fit my misses-sized ten-year old daughter without making me feel like I’ll be sending her to a Rave instead of fifth grade.
Finally, after two hours and many trips to various changing rooms and shared explanations of what over my dead body meant, in context,^ we found three shirts that she wouldn’t actually mind being caught dead in and were well within the limits of my tolerance for fit and translucency.^^
And then we hit the accessory store for headbands and Hello Kitty hairbows and Best Buy for a Minecraft download card.
Fashion be damned.
*I have a few problems with prominently displayed brand names, too. If I were to agree to rent my kids out as billboards, Iwouldn’t be the one paying.
**But who has been blessed by the bust fairy. Genetics have a nasty sense of timing.
***She’s not allowed to have a navel until she’s eighteen.
^It meant, “over hers.” no matter who said it.
^^Not price, necessarily, but that’s a whole other rant. Stay tuned.
Image by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images