Tag Archives: style

Adventures in girlyness

I have three boys. I got used to the idea that I was going to be a mom of boys. That I would be potty training boys. That I would be dressing boys. Giving boys crew cuts and fauxhawks. That my laundry baskets would be full of blacks, blues, greens, and grays.

Then I had a girl.

I didn’t set out to fill my world with pink and ruffles. I don’t care much for gender issues– my children can like and do whatever they like and want to do– but I can’t help but enjoy the different-ness of a girl after three boys. The vast majority of Buttercup’s clothes were hand-me-downs and gifts, and they were just so pretty!
I let Buttercup’s hair grow out and am setting about learning how to do different things with it. The boys like their hair short.
All my kids like beaded necklaces. Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s, 4th of July… they’re just fun. But only Buttercup puts them on whenever she finds them and walks around saying “pree-yee,” which I assume means “pretty.” I didn’t teach her that: it came to her naturally.
I never thought I would have to figure out how to be a mom of a girl. I was quite sure I wouldn’t be good at it. And I was certain I didn’t want a little me. But it wasn’t entirely up to me, was it?
So if I can get the girl to sit still, I’ll attempt a French braid. Wish me luck!
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Meh…it’s a start.

Here’s to letting children be themselves. Because they are awesome.

STYLE!!

Remember when High School was partially about developing your identity and style in a safe environment? I don’t think it’s like that anymore. Now you have to come in with a fully formed identity, complete with matching friends, hobbies, and school transcripts. The infamous Chef from South Park used to say, “There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college.” Now it seems more like it’s supposed to be 8th grade, when you still have an largely underdeveloped frontal lobe and it’s still possible to have any criminal records expunged.WiseChef

I would never tell you that I loved my high school years. As a matter of fact, I wanted them to be horrible so that nostalgia would be nearly impossible. Sure, I was involved: band, choir, trips, honors classes, prom… all that stuff. But to me they were just a stepping stone to college, where I could really learn how to do what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now that I’m not doing that thing specifically, I wonder what I could have done differently. Should I have studied Archaeology, like I wanted to in 8th grade, or medicine like I wanted as a child? Should I have gone into Marketing? If there was some way to go back and do it differently, all while keeping the parts of my history that I do love (read: the Hubs and the kidlets, as well as my spiritual journey), I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I will tell you what I liked about my (public) high school experience: I was free to be me, and so were those around me. There was a girl at my school who had the most outlandish clothes and hair– she was punk, through and through. Sure, other people might have stared for a moment, but we all went about our own lives and (as far as I know) she was never taunted or hurt. She even went to the Prom with another girl: they weren’t romantically involved, but it was the principle of the thing. No one minded– it was kind of the ‘thing’ in the late ’90s.

As for me, I would wear a different style every day of the week: grunge, preppy, bohemian… whatever struck me that day. I’ll be honest, though: as a heavy-set, well-endowed girl, there were some items I should not have been wearing. But that’s what high school is for*– learning the social boundaries safely.

(*= I know that’s not all it’s for! It’s for learning what you need for the real world, and I wholeheartedly believe people should be able to be successful in the real world with a HS diploma. The fact that this is no longer the case is for another time.)

College was important because I was not only learning how to perform tasks in a professional career, I was learning to dress for the occasion, as well as many other occasions. Joining a sorority helped a lot: it was not about forcing me into wearing a certain style, but rather about being a reflection of something greater than myself. I really learned how to do make-up in college, a habit I’m reviving for the sake of my daughter. I’m wearing my sorority letters on a T-shirt as I type this now, and I feel well put-together, albeit not particularly fancy. Being involved in Campus Ministry, I also reflected a lot on modesty (definitely not as much as I should have, but hey, it’s a process). I know people get very hung up on what the purpose of modesty of dress is, and I could probably go on for another essay about it, but what it means to me is that I have a goal of feeling confident about myself and if that takes more (or less) fabric than it does for others, that’s how it is.

While I was teaching, I felt a need to be sort of frumpy for the sake of professionalism. As Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear” would tell you, this is ultimately not necessary. I was young and dumb, what can I say? But then came the whirlwind that is life: In the past 10 years, I got married and had 4 kids and 4 teaching jobs. Now that I’ve landed, I look at my closet and I see that I did neglect myself that entire time, despite the mani/pedis, the spa treatments, the haircuts, the diets, and all the living: I neglected my style.

Sadly, “What Not to Wear” no longer exists, although I follow Clinton Kelly  and Stacy London on Twitter (and Clinton follows me back! It’s so very exciting!) and know that they offer fashion advice in other outlets. And I did audition for a maternity special when I was pregnant with Toughie. I choose to take it as a good sign that I was not chosen because that ought to mean I didn’t need it that badly.

So now, as I sit in the quiet of my living room, I ponder my apparent lack of personal style, as well as my parenting style. I find the two closely related: you can tell the professional working mom from the sporty mom from the “just don’t give a crap” mom. (I saw a lot of moms at a school dance the other day– these and many others were on display!)

I’m still trying to figure it out, and I do hope I’m not alone in the “trial-and-error” phase. So I’m looking for a little help:

1) This Facebook page. If anyone were ever inclined to buy me something, they might want to consult this page. The shoes, the purses, the jackets. Nearly everything posted there makes me happy in a shallow, fun way. And I am totally ok with that.

2) Another Facebook page for Young Moms (sorry, folks– private group! No linkage!). I know a couple of the other members personally and feel we agree on a lot. That’s comforting.  (I used to live on Cafemom.com, but it’s like an online version of “Mean Girls.” No, thank you.)

3)Buzzfeed. Because why not.  EffortlesslyCool

(Gee, thanks Buzzfeed! I knew I liked you!)

Here’s to developing a real sense of style.

Zero to Hero, Day 6

(Sorry, folks. Serious teething is occurring in our house. Buttercup’s molars are coming all at once. Not pretty.)

Today’s Assignment: publish a post that includes a new-to-you element.

Oy vey.

I’mma gonna have to hit up the Daily Prompts to find something to talk about that bring me a new element. I’ve done pics and web links. I don’t even write HTML (anymore) and leave my sister to the coding whatnot. WordPress is pretty good at making this place user-friendly, so I’ll get something going here….

Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.

If you looked at me right now, in a college T-shirt and scrub pants, you’d realize that my talking about style is kind of a joke. I don’t think I ever really hammered down a consistent style. High school and college were spent trying out different things: grunge, preppy, classic, party girl, total slob, professional. In my time teaching, I was too busy trying to be taken seriously to be trendy. Overall, my style of dress would have to be classified as ‘frumpy.’

My hairstyle is probably the one thing I’ve actually been willing to change. I had very long hair as a kid, and never gave much thought to shape or movement. So now, thanks to a qualified and patient hairdresser with whom I actually have a decent relationship (family friend– she’s even on my Facebook), I have tried a couple different things: bangs, highlights, layering. Trust me when I say it’s the trendiest thing I do.

If I were to look up to anyone famous it would have to be Zooey Deschanel. Now to be fair, I don’t watch “New Girl” or follow her career in any substantive way, so I’m not talking about her being a role model of any sort. But if I could be mistaken for anyone on the street, I’d like for it to be her. She seems to have committed to long hair, and I’ve never had a complaint about the fashion she chooses. What I have seen her in was entertaining, and she’s always struck me as an immensely likable person.

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(Oh… maybe we have more in common than I thought…)

Here’s to being yourself. Unless you can be someone awesome. Always choose to be awesome.