(or Lessons learned from letting go...just a little bit)
A little while back I came across a blog post which detailed the adventures of a mommy who let her toddler son dress her for a week. I thought it was hilarious and adorable all at the same time, so I challenged my lovely sister-in-law to allow her little man to dress her for a day. She accepted the challenge and sent me a picture of herself looking perfectly beautiful in mismatched clothes and with her hair styled like Elsa (who happens to be my nephew's girlfriend).
She then aimed the challenge back at me.
It was not something I had really planned to do.
You see, my guys are not toddlers anymore. While that might be an advantage in some ways (they aren't going to forget to pick pants for me), they are each very opinionated about fashion. And their styles are quite...unique...at times.
I don't always let them branch out on their own with their clothing choices. I like to have a little influence...er...control...over what they put on. I don't force them into a dozen layers of "coolness," but I do like to make sure they match.
Perhaps they wouldn't even be interested, I thought. Maybe, just maybe, bigger boys have no desire to dress their mommy. Pleeeeaase don't let them want to dress their mommy.
They wanted to dress their mommy.
I could feel the butterflies in my stomach as I knew I had no control over what I had just set into motion.
Mr. W got to go first. This boy is a fan of the graphic tee. If available, he likes pants with patterns, and he always likes his socks to show...even over the top of his high tops. He has also been known to attempt to style his hair with some gel to look more like Superman.
He knew exactly what shirt he wanted me in. I don't have a lot of graphic t-shirts, and he particularly likes the one with circus elephants. He paired it with a floral skirt, tall mismatched socks and my chucks. He insisted that my hair be down and straightened and added a scarf and the watch his daddy gave me for our engagement. He weighed his options before choosing a colorful messenger bag and glasses, not contacts.
This outfit was fun and super comfy. I kind of felt like a quirky high school student as I was out and about. He was really proud of what he selected, and it was nice to see him smile at me when I wore it.
The next day was Mr. L's turn. Little Mr. L has a unique style. He doesn't follow anybody's rules but his own.
He sorted through every piece in my closet, declaring each of them "pretty" or "bleh." I noticed pretty quickly that he gravitated toward color and pattern. When he paired up a huge multi-colored sweater with a bright, busy skirt he was so excited that it made it easy not to cringe at the choices. He wanted my brightest shoes and socks with tiny kitties had to be visible. My hair, he wanted me to just brush and then leave the way it turned out. A fan of accessorizing, he wanted glasses, my "special" watch, and he chose my sparkliest bracelet as well as a bracelet he had created for me with ribbon and fake flowers. I think he would have chosen a necklace or two, too, but I managed to distract him with bags before he settled on one. It should come as no surprise that he chose the messenger bag to compliment this ensemble.
I have to admit, I felt a bit silly wearing all of this at the same time. I was even tempted to specifically NOT leave the house. However, I had promised that I would take them to a pizzeria for dinner. I felt better about myself when I glanced at the table next to us and saw a lady confidently wearing head to toe sequins, faux fur, and animal prints. She clearly felt fabulous. I did, too, when I saw the proud look on Shorty's face.
Last, but certainly not least was Mr. N. He likes to wear items which are his favorite color or which have a favorite animal on them. He would wear the same shirt every day if I let him. He also loves to "look handsome" and to add bling. He doesn't just put on one button, he wears all of the ones he can find, plus his watch, and also a necklace.
At first, he was a bit insecure choosing my clothes, but once he found my orange tunic he was full of ideas. Leggings, leg warmers, and high heeled boots, as well as my big yellow handbag. My hair should be curled and I needed glasses. He put a watch and a bangle on each wrist and two necklaces around my neck (one was also a watch).
He was so proud. He said it was the best I had every looked. This was definitely the most high-maintenance outfit of the 3, but it was also the one closest to something I would have chosen for myself. I felt pretty "normal" as we ran errands.
Things I learned from this little experiment:
- My boys crave control, and it is healthy for me to relinquish some of mine so they can have a bit more.
- No matter how strange you think you look, people are not going to ask you about your outfit. They just aren't. They may snicker once you have walked away, but who cares?
- If you act confident, you will feel confident.
- If you feel fabulous in a floral skirt and fuchsia sneakers (or sequins and fur), you are fabulous. There is power in holding your head up high.
- There is nothing wrong with planning an entire outfit around a favorite piece. Or two.
- Mixing and matching is liberating.
- Color is your friend. Don't hide from it.
- Sparkles and bangles and bling make you feel pretty. Remember going overboard in the play jewelry as a kid? Yeah, that.
- Fashion truly can communicate who you are, how you feel, and what you value.
- There is nothing, NOTHING, that I wouldn't do to see my little men beam like they when they looked with pride on their mama out on the town wearing what THEY had picked out. We will likely be doing this again next month.
What do you think? Are you up to the challenge?