On Dressing a Girl



As a young child, my mom dressed me much like a pilgrim. Well, maybe not a pilgrim exactly, but not like every other child on the block. My dresses and outfits could be described as classic rather than current. In the very best cases. And while I did look pretty cute sometimes, I didn’t exactly blend in. I vividly recall my first grade teacher complimenting my outfit one afternoon at recess. You don’t often see kids wearing kilts these days, she remarked. It’s so refreshing.

Flash forward to junior high. While everyone was wearing Jordache and Z. Cavaricci, I donned long skirts and button downs. I actually have a yearbook photo of myself wearing a corduroy vest. I’m pretty sure nobody else in high school wore a corduroy vest. Ever. Say what you will about being independent, but I do believe that my high school experience would have been a little less awkward had I just blended a bit more. If my fashion sense had been somewhat more… fashionable.

It took until college before I realized that I could dress however I wanted, and finally wore the jeans with intentional rips and layered t-shirts just like everybody else. And it was fun. I had a good decade of dressing well before trading everything in for the mom- yoga pants and sweatshirts I live in these days.

It came to my attention, recently, that my daughter was on the same track as me. Like my mom, I too, prefer girls clothes that look classic rather than trendy. I’ve refused to buy the faded jeans and Hannah Montana shirts that her friends all have. I shop discount for the good stuff, rather than the crap that falls apart. Corduroy pants are cute! But add some dated hand me downs to her “classic” closet, and even I could see that it needed some updating.

Last week, she proclaimed that she wanted some “cuter” clothes. Always up for a shopping spree, Jeff brought her to H&M for some retail therapy. They returned with six pairs of skinny jeans, a bunch of “cool” t-shirts and a metallic birthday dress. While the clothes are a bit skankier and have a few more zippers than I would like, I have to admit she looks adorable in them. She can be the well dressed girl that I always longed to be, and living vicariously through her is kind of cool.

But I draw the line at Hannah Montana shirts. And someday, she’ll thank me.


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  1. 1

    Amber says

    I’m not sure if it was because my parents let me pick my own outfits (and haircuts, ugh!), but I often looked like a reject from Little House On The Prairie or Kids Incorporated (depending on the day).
    I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that my mother is NOT a style maven. She’s one that dresses for comfort alone. Does not do her hair…or makeup…unless absolutely necessary. She didn’t get it I guess. I was never able to don a french braid in grade school…
    Oh gawd, the school photos. Why oh why didn’t they let someone “stylish” give me a once over before letting me out of the house on picture day???
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Period…The End =-.

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  2. 2

    Pauline says

    I spend entirely too much money on Buttercup’s wardrobe in a pathetic effort to make sure she looks more like a Gap kid in a magazine shoot that me in my childhood photos. Even though 90 percent of what I buy is on sale, it’s still a hell of a lot more than was ever spent on my hand-me-down and thrift store wardrobe. Trust me, i can relate to being so proud she looks so cute and pissed I’m still looking at the same pictures of me as a kid. ;)

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  3. 3

    Cara says

    It’s funny, I thought I was pretty hip, back in the day, but looking back at some of those outfits now and I’m wondering if most of that hipness wasn’t in my head. These days, my fashion sense leaves a LOT to be desired so I live vicariously through my daughter. You can get so many cute little girl clothes for relatively inexpensive. And she doesn’t care yet that it’s not Gap or Guess or whatever the cool brands are now. In a few years, things might not be so easy.
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..BlogTrotting =-.

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  4. 4

    Shannon says

    I first thought that was a blonde Lily in the picture… then realized it’s you. Oh. Em. Gee. I can’t stand the adorable-ness! (and yes, that is totally a word).
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Notice anything different? =-.

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  5. 5

    Amy (@amyjod) says

    I can so relate! I also remember thinking my mom’s clothes were awful! But, when I look back now, she was “in style.” I guess my daughters will probably think I’m uncool too as they get older. As a SAHM of four with a husband who’s been laid off, well, too long, I can’t claim to be wearing the hottest fashions these days. I just hope deep down, my sense of style is still there when I finally do get to shop for myself!
    .-= Amy (@amyjod)´s last blog ..I’m thankful times four. =-.

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  6. 6

    Shannon says

    Oh, and I can feel your pain… as a kid, I got the hand-me-downs from my 3 older cousins. The youngest cousin was still a good 5 or 6 years older then me… so yeah, clothes were a little outdated.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Notice anything different? =-.

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  7. 7

    Kelli @ writing the waves says

    A kilt? That is hilarious. I was all about the florescent stuff in 5th and 6th grade – sweatshirts, jelly shoes, jelly bracelets, those big Madonna style bows. My mom should have intervened.

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  8. 8

    Joy says

    I have a weakness for spending on my daughter’s clothes. I love that she is so adorable in her cute clothes. I think we like for people to see we have a sense of style even though we may only wear jeans and t-shirts every day. Oh, and I love that you called her a “Little Skank.” I LOLed for real!
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Haiti =-.

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  9. 9

    MoCo Mom says

    Oh yeah, I had the kilt. With the silver pin, no less. Also a corduroy jumper with a coordinating set of (matching! striped!) turtleneck and tights. Oh, gawd, what else? Lots of peter-pan collars. My brother’s hand-me-down pullover sweaters (Mom would say, “but they were Pendletons!”). Unlike my sister, I don’t think I ever had to wear Bass penny loafers, but my mom did try to get me to wear saddle shoes. And black mary-janes (with an actual button and buttonhole on the strap) when everyone else was wearing keds. And when I was real small, Polly Flinders dresses with the smocking across the chest (actually, I liked those :-) Just the other day in Nordstrom I overheard two older dames reminiscing about Polly Flinders dresses. Hmmm.

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  10. 11

    Jen @ buried with children says

    I must say that I am really enjoying dressing my girl and I will be very sad on the day that she wants to take it over.
    .-= Jen @ buried with children´s last blog ..You Need to Run! =-.

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