Me and my 13 year old girl had a talk yesterday about clothes. *sigh*
There is such a fine line to walk with something as simple and as necessary as clothes. My girl loves fashion. But ya know what . . a lot of fashion does not meet school dress codes. That part is pretty much cut and dry. I mean the guidelines are spelled out in black and white.
The larger issue gets a lot more personal. My daughter told me how people at school said this person dressed like a slut. Or said that person looks trashy.
I've heard comments from my daughter herself - though thankfully not that mean-spirited. And I'm sure I've made comments myself too; although I wouldn't be proud of it. I don't believe there is a person on this Earth that has not had thoughts or comments about another person's appearance. It just seems to be human nature. We look and we form an opinion. And we forget that our opinion doesn't matter and shouldn't be given attention. So we are a work in progress.
And the truth is that we are all a work in progress. So when I tell my daughter that other's opinions about her appearance say more about them than it does about her; I mean it. And I hope she sees that.
I explained to her how I have had several people, especially now as a mom, make inferences to the neckline of my shirts. Not one person making those comments knows or fully understands that I can't stand shirts that are close to my neck. It makes me feel like I'm choking. I don't expect people to understand that. It's just a quirky thing about me. I rarely wear t-shirts. And when I do, they are usually very large so that the neck is loose. So because I have a chest and a generally relaxed neckline, I must be trying to show myself off. That's what I hear anyway.
I shared this with my daughter. I told her that those comments don't bother me anymore. There was a time that they did. But I realized one day that the people who say those things are the ones with the problem. No one had a conversation with me about it. They just looked at me and started running their mouths. All I did was stand there.
I also explained to my daughter that I do understand (and she should also) the flip side of the issue. I do understand how the way that I dress myself is taken by others. I do understand that some people interpret the way I dress to mean a variety of things - and some of those interpretations bring unwanted attention. There are those who think that myself, and others, get up every morning and get dressed to "send a message" or seek attention. That really isn't the case. But in this world, you have to be aware of your surroundings. And on some days the people in my surroundings may be people that think I put my clothes on in the morning with the intent of inviting their attention to me.
The moral of the clothing discussion was: dress how you like, for you and not anyone else, do it with decency, reasonable modesty, (if you wouldn't wear it in front of Grandma, don't wear it . . period) and without care for how the world rates your style. I think the only people who should really care about how the world interprets their clothes style would be fashion designers . . . and you know, pretty much because that is their job! Anyone else should be concerned with giving their own stamp of approval to the image in the mirror in the morning; remembering to keep a deaf ear and a watchful eye.
Tonight I am thankful for children with their own sense of style. I am thankful for this time to remind them to be who they are and dress in what they like; and to keep a hint of reality in their thoughts. It is easy to get very idealistic that they should wear whatever they want all the time. But they will be adults one day and this world is not an idealistic world. It is nice to be comfortable in your skin. And sometimes being comfortable in your style can really help with that!