Tag Archives: clothes

how it begins

My children were playing Harry Potter in the basement with friends. They use my suitcase as their trunk when they are waiting for the train to Hogwarts.

Somehow the suitcase made it to the top of the stairs before it was abandoned for another part of the story.

My husband moved the suitcase out of the hallway into our bedroom, next to my closet.

I came to bed after he was asleep and  tiptoed around in the dark getting my pajamas on because I am a considerate person who doesn’t want to wake anyone. (ever. I pretty much NEVER want to wake anyone. It’s a good rule to live by.)

I put the clothes I took off on top of the suitcase that was in front of my closet.

THAT is how a pile gets started around here.

It begins so innocently.



Have I mentioned that my daughter has an interesting (cough, cough) style of dressing?  With the change of seasons seemingly arriving early (it’s a total fake, it always is, and I fall for it every year) I have begun to think about what clothes will fit from last year and what will need to be purchased.

So this got me thinking – maybe she wears strange combinations because that is what I provide for her.  Then I remember that she just likes to be her own girl, and I’m cool with that.  We get looks from some people, but she is happy and she is dressing herself.  Those are two pretty important criteria.

I admit, each season I think maybe I should spend some more time/money to help her look more like a cutesy-matching four-year-old.  Then I remember that she will wear what she wants to wear and I have little say in the matter.

And then it rained.

And for three days it has been warm enough to play in the yard.

In the mud.

Because that is the way she rolls.  In the mud.  With both hands dirty and streaks across her face.  That is what being a kid is all about.  So I cringe a little at the fact that the bottom ruffle of her pants is covered in three inches of mud, but it’s only a little cringe, because I know the pants were consignment and pretty cheap. (I totally snuck the ruffle past her by calling attention to her shirt while she was picking out her clothes.)

So, yes, she’s a tomboy.  She is in no way a girlie girl.  But neither was I, so I get her.

She plays hard at school.  And paints.  And spills her yogurt, sometimes.  And brings home shells and rocks in her pockets.  And simply finds a way to get dirty.  Which I love.  Maggie wouldn’t be Maggie if she wasn’t wearing a souvenier from her day.

And I wouldn’t be a very good mother if I cared whether her clothes came home clean.

closet envy

I realized something today.  I miss my old roommates.  For their closets.  (I really do miss them also.)  Seriously, sharing space, time and belongings with other women was a great part of college and post-college life.  And damn, could I use a little closet shopping right now.

I figured out today as I try to plan my wardrobe for the first actual “event” I am attending is as long as I can remember, that this would be the perfect time to raid my roommate’s closet.  Except he’s 6″5′ and has a bit different taste in clothes than what I have in mind.

I miss the days of walking down the dorm hallway and finding a sweater to go perfectly with a pair of pants.  Or boots to compliment the skirt that I have already borrowed. Someone offering up the perfect necklace to compliment a neckline.

I have also just realized that my closet doesn’t have much to loan out.  I dropped off my maternity clothes to a newly-pregnant friend.  The more I looked through them, the more I realized there wasn’t much there.  Lots of comfy clothes.  T-shirts in brown, navy, black… Then I got to peak in her closet.  She already has better maternity clothes than I ever had.  Then I recalled all the maternity clothes I borrowed.  I loved borrowing maternity clothes.  Getting to wear things that I might not pick out, but that looked great.  Having fashion delivered to my door.

And now reality is setting in.  I am out of the loop.  No roommates to borrow from.  No more maternity clothes to borrow.  I’m on my own.  For just about the first time in my life- my closet is my own.  And I think it needs some help.  Short of going on “What Not to Wear”  I have a long road ahead of me.  Anyone feel like delivering fashion to my door?

beautiful clothes

Eureka!  I had one of those moments today.  Let me start at the beginning…   at Maggie’s school they have a clothes box for each child.  If said child has an accident or major spill or sits in mud (like Maggie did three weeks ago) they change their own clothes.  Partly due to the mud sitting, but mostly due to the change of weather, we were due to replenish Maggie’s clothes box with some long pants and long sleeve shirts.

We packed up a pair of pants and a sweater one morning to send to school.  Maggie helped me pick them out.  All is good.  Then for the next 3 weeks she brought them to school in her bag and brought them home in her bag.  At first I thought she was forgetting to put them in her box, or maybe couldn’t be bothered to put them in her box.  It became a running commentary when she would get in the car at pickup. 

“Did you put your clothes in your box?” I would ask

“No,” she would say.

“Why not?” I would ask

“I don’t want to,” she would say.

“But what if you have an accident, or sit in the mud?  You won’t have clothes to wear.”

“That’s fine.”

Conversation over.  This went on for more days than I can count.  I even started to laugh about it.  So I finally emptied the bag at home and told her to put them back in her room.  She happily did so.  Fine, I thought to myself, you wait and see, one day you will need those clothes and you won’t have them!  And we moved on.

Last night at a parent meeting they mentioned bringing in winter clothes for the boxes.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am a RULE FOLLOWER.  So this morning I had a hard time sending her off to school knowing she didn’t have any fall clothes to wear if she needed them.  I took a different approach with her.

“Was there a reason you didn’t want to leave your clothes at school?” I asked.

She nodded yes.

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

“They are too beautiful.”

“You mean the pants and sweater?” I asked, hiding my shock, as they really look to me like every other set of play clothes that she wears daily.

“Yes, they are too beautiful and I don’t want to leave them at school and not see them for a long time.”

“OK.  How about if we go up together and pick out some clothes you wouldn’t mind leaving at school.”


We went upstairs and she picked out a plain red long-sleeve T-shirt and a pair of navy pants and yellow underwear.  All solids.  No patterns.  Patterns are what make things “beautiful.”  I don’t know where she gets that, most of my clothes are solids.  An occasional stripe or pattern gets into my closet.  I guess this is only the first time we will not see eye to eye when it comes to clothes.  I’m just glad we could talk about it and come up with a solution that we both liked.

And guess what?  She put her clothes in her clothes box today.

perfect outfit

In my never-ending quest to add a little fashion to my life, I must pat myself on the back when I get things right.  I did the other night.  It was just book club.  I was among friends.  But I felt good.  I liked what I had on and it showed.  How I came about it is a different story, but those who saw me didn’t hear the story, they just saw the final product.

So here’s the story.  I got a bag of hand-me-down clothes from my sister-in-law.  Most of my in-laws know I LOVE hand-me-downs.  They have much different taste than I do, so it helps me to spice up my monotone style.  Many things I could barely stand the first time, have become favorites.  I never know what I will scoff at and then fall in love with later.

In this bag I found THE PERFECT PAIR OF JEANS!  I know, it’s crazy.  They fit right in all the right places.  I’m thrilled beyond words.  I paired it with a shirt I got at Goodwill a few months ago.  I love the shirt, a little artsy, a little sheer (near-sheer might be better, it is still me we are talking about, after all.)  I tried it all on together, threw on a pair of shoes from 12 years ago and I was off.  Feeling pretty good about myself too.

One friend looked at my feet “because I usually don’t make noise when I walk.”  Translated that means – my sandals are very quiet in the summer and my clogs are quiet in the winter and what in the hell did I have on my feet that was making noise?  My high heel sandals, that’s what.  I pull ’em out for special occasions, like when I know I will be sitting for most of the evening.

Another friend e-mailed me later to say that I looked “spiffy” that night.  I felt spiffy too.  It’s all about how you feel.  Throw in the new haircut, that I am finally getting the hang of, and I am a woman to be reckoned with.  At least when I am wearing that outfit (which now that I have blabbed about everyone will recognize and it will totally lose it’s allure.)  The rest of the time it’s back to my sandals and monotone, or monotone with khaki accent.  If only Tim Gunn would help me get outfitted and teach me how to feel like that all the time. 

Now that I’m done birthing babies and actually might have a few minutes to shop, I’m going to try to improve my inner fashionista.  If I can stay in one size of clothes for more than two months I will be off to a great start.  And if I can keep those jeans fitting through the holidays, I will be sitting pretty.  Literally.

fashion advice

I am going to start taking fashion advice from my daughter.  She has strong opinions about some things and could care less about others.  For instance, she has about seven pairs of shorts in various colors that are hand-me-downs.  She loves them.  I am envious of her ability to pull off wearing shorter shorts, but her long lean legs are perfect for them.  The catch is that she wears them all backwards.  On purpose.  Because there are two pockets on the back and she doesn’t see the sense in that.  “If I want to put something in my pocket, it will be right here where I can reach it.” 

At first, I used to try to argue with her that the tag goes in back, blah, blah, blah.  Now I appreciate that she has a good reason to wear them the way she does and who am I to interfere.  I have spent years trying to figure out what looks good on myself and come up with a clothing style of my own.  She had pretty much figured it out already.  I say pretty much because I don’t want to mislead.  She wears some scary-crazy outfits, but they are all her.  I doubt that many strangers would wonder who picked out some of her choices.  I bet some wonder how I “let her out of the house looking like that” but I dare them to ask me. 

For awhile she wore her green frog boots just about every day, raining or not.  My husband wore a look of embarrassment, I wore a look of pride.  Go for it, I say!  Yesterday she mentioned something about her “beautiful shirt that was her new favorite.”  I had to laugh and say, “wasn’t it the only one left in the drawer?”  She said “yes, but I love it.”  That makes me happy.

Tonight she picked out the top shirt in her drawer and the top pants in the other drawer with barely a glance.  I’m sure tomorrow we will have some sort of conversation in which she explains why this is the best outfit for today.  I can hardly wait to hear her explanation.  Right after that I will stumble to my own closet and try to pick out something I am equally as excited about.  At least for right now, I am finding a lot more joy in her choice of clothes than in my own.  Maybe I should try wearing my pants backwards…