Friday, September 30, 2011

Fashion for the Real World

Jessie and I don’t shop well together. As she told me when we were shopping fashion discount in Maine, “Mom, I have my own style and it is NOT yours. You just don’t understand and I HATE shopping with you.” She is nothing if not direct. Dan claims this trait comes from me, and so I have no one to blame by myself.

Of course her declaration came after she picked out three dresses to try on that had as defining features: gold lamé, a strapless design for the big-busted woman (which Jessie is not), or glitter. All evening wear, which I don’t think would go over well in the recesses of the Food Bank warehouse where she works.

But I do understand the need to dress well and to develop your own style. I think. Okay. Let’s just say that Jessie has taught me the value of being open-minded about style, the same way she has basically taught me to be open-minded about everything—by shattering almost every preconceived notion I have had about the meaning of life and the way things work and making me reconstruct a more fluid yet infinitely more resilient conception driven by my love for her. And the world. But mostly by my love for her.

You see, when she wears glitter and glitz and tight fitting dresses that she has picked out (that make me gag when she shows them to me), she actually looks good! Go figure. So I am willing to open my mind to her style, but also need, as a parent, to make her realize that evening (read “ho”) wear should not make up 75% of your wardrobe. This is where the “But you just don’t get my style . . . “wailing begins and sales people start to herd us toward the exit.

However, we had an exceptional experience at Reitmans (their tag line is “Designed for Real Life”), where the salesperson heard the adolescent keening and came straight to my our rescue instead of scurrying madly off in the other direction. She took one quick look at what Jessie was trying on and said to hold on, as she had something just for her—the most popular jeans for young women her age, in just the right length. And she spoke directly to Jessie, ignoring me with a wink that meant that she knew who she was really rescuing.

Jessie shooed me away with a withering look and a flick of her hand and I skulked around the corner from the change rooms. The salesperson came back with a line of fashionable stretch no-zipper jeans in a 28 inseam that fit her, looked great, and probably wouldn’t even need hemming!

Jessie sashayed out of the dressing room and did a runway walk up to the mirror—turning to admire herself from all directions. The grin on her face (not to mention the exclamation “I look so good!”) had everyone in the change room area smiling, including me!

I quickly pulled the salesperson aside and mentioned that Jessie needed some tops as well, and before I could even turn back she had pulled three off the rack (that I never would have picked, but that, when on, looked great on Jessie) and had Jessie’s full attention. They were now a team and Jessie loved the fact that she had her own “dresser.”

At the end of the day we came out with 5 pairs of pants, 4 tops, 1 well-dressed young woman, and 1 extremely grateful mother who now understands why God(ess) created good salespeople. It’s so mothers won’t throttle daughters in open public spaces.


Cindy said...

I loved this!! I can truly relate! Beth enjoys going shopping with me but once we get in the store, "Bye mom! I have my phone!"

Glad everything worked out. And what a blessing that clerk was! I wonder if she has a sibling with special needs? It sounds like she really knows how to relate to them. You gotta remember her the next time you go out!

Anonymous said...

Too bad we don't live closer (we're in Ohio) my 23 year old daughter would love Jesse. I get where you are:) susan