Saturday, November 03, 2007

Clothes shopping Q & A

Q. What do you get when you mix a tall, thin, long-waisted girl with the current style of low-rise pants?

A. A shopping ordeal.

My poor little E is in desperate need of some new jeans or other pants. But we can't find any that fit her. Today we went to 3 stores in search of something - anything! - for her to wear to play in the yard, go hiking, etc. Leggings get too wet and aren't that warm. Dresses and skirts are too full and get in the way. Jeans are OK by me, but... they have to fit, they can't have rhinestones and they can't have words on them. (Especially on the backside.) We both prefer that they not be pre-faded and ratty looking before she's even worn them. We found... nothing. Not even in the boys' department!

I rant about girls' clothing periodically - I guess every time I try to shop. It's time again.

We did a lot of talking as we shopped. My girl asked me why girls' clothes are so ugly and uncomfortable. We talked about the fashion industry, and the fact that fashion designers and manufacturers have to make people feel they need new clothes every season so they keep buying new stuff all the time. We talked about people feeling like they need to be fashionable and stylish. And that some women, for some reason, like their young girls to dress like grownup women, with high-heeled shoes and low-rise pants, glitter and rhinestones and shirts with seaming to show off non-existent bustlines. She didn't ask why she doesn't see me in clothing like that.

We also talked a lot about standards. Kerri blogged about this recently so it was on my mind. My standards for dress are pretty strict; at least that's what people tell me. I don't expect anyone else to follow my standard. But I'm not going to lower it because the stores carry stuff that doesn't meet it. We'll find a way to do without the jeans, or whatever. But the standard is set. If we relax it for the sake of convenience, or fashion, it wasn't much of a standard, eh?

I suggested maybe we give up on pants and wear skirts and dresses. I could make her any number of skirts she wants. But she didn't like that idea. She's uncomfortable running and playing in a skirt. I reminded her of some girls we know who never wear pants. She acknowledged that but said she's still not sure about it. She just feels more modestly dressed in pants on certain occasions. I can't argue with that.

Another standard we have is dressing for church. We dress "up" for church. No jeans or sneakers, no pants for me. Well, I've worn pants when I've had nursery duty. Easier for getting down on the floor with a 2 year old. Now I don't care that other women wear pants or that men wear shorts in the summer or kids wear jeans or sweats and sneakers. But I was brought up to understand that when I am going out to worship God it's worth the effort to do more than pull on the first pair of sweats that I find. I am sometimes amazed at the ratty clothes people wear to church. I have to remind myself that the important thing is: they are in church. They didn't sleep in and stay home!

I know there are places to get more modest and appropriate clothing. Lands' End and LL Bean come to mind. They are great, though even they can't help with the fit problem. My girl has a nonstandard body. But their clothes come closer. I sometimes balk at the cost, though.

Wonder if I have enough corduroy to whip up a pair of elastic-waist pants for her... it's time to crank up the sewing machine.

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