Over the course of my 41 years, I've met a lot of great people with fantastic fashion sense. I've known both men and women who enjoy shopping and trying on clothes and always look fabulous. My wife, prior to her accident, was someone who always looked great. Her outfits, shoes and accessories just clicked. She would sometimes come home from shopping and show me things individually, and I'd think, who would wear that? Days later she would come out of the room with that very outfit on, and look stunning. I was always amazed.
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a shorts and t-shirt kinda guy. I wear shorts year round. I prefer a comfortable pair of athletic shorts rather than cargo or jean shorts. When Em and I got married, I owned a few pair of old jeans which immediately went to the trash. They were not even donation worthy because of the age and holes in them. She purchased 3 new pair of jeans for me from some designer I'd never heard of. They certainly did not come from JCP or Gordmans, but these "7 for all mankind" jeans were pretty comfortable. Over the course of the past 7 years, I've probably worn each of the 3 pair of jeans approximately seven times. They are still the only 3 pair of jeans I have.
I would have hoped that my 13 year old daughter would have picked up on Em's fashion sense, however it did not happen. She has a closet full of cute clothing and shoes that came from her Mom's closet or that I went out and bought for her. Rather than learn from Emily's fashion sense, she chose to go the route of her ole Dad......t-shirt and shorts, and the same old pair of Nike shoes, every day. I mean I guess I can understand it, and it would be fine, if only she could understand that a lime green shirt does not go with Forrest green shorts. She has a rotation of about 5 outfits that she will wear day after day, week after week. At one point, as these outfits came through the laundry, I'd wash them, then hide them. She never questioned where her clothes went, nope......she selected her new rotation of 5 outfits to wear out. The one thing she wants to wear all of the time, are high heels. "Dad, can I wear heels to school?", "Dad, can I wear heels to church?", "Dad, can I go to Wal Mart with you and wear my heels?". I'm like, I don't want to be caught on one of those "people of Wal Mart" videos, walking around with a 13 year old, wearing a bright red Nike shirt, neon pink Adidas shorts and purple high heels. I never let her wear heels to school. I just don't feel like it's appropriate in junior high, and maybe I'm wrong, but that's just where I stand.
There was a seventh grade awards ceremony a month ago or so. She had no idea I was going to show up. She actually left the house dressed in an outfit that was completely out of her normal rotation. I just assumed she wanted to look cute, knowing she might get up in front of everyone for an award. After the ceremony, I went to find her. Naturally, she had "borrowed" a pair of high heels from a friend, who told her she "needed" to wear those shoes with that outfit. I know with a teenage daughter, I'm gonna have to pick and choose the appropriate times to fight some battles. I guess as long as she keeps her cheeks in her shorts and cleavage hidden away, I can deal with the heels.
My boys are a complete mess. I'll start with the 12 year old. He is the smallest in his class. In fact, if he were not over the age of 7, according to Missouri Law, he would have to travel in a booster seat. He does not meet the height or weight requirements for someone seven or under, to travel in a car without a booster seat. Emily, at times, will fold laundry and send the clothes of our 6 year old, to his room. A-train will come out of his room some mornings, wearing his size 10 shirt, which still looks way too big on his small frame, and a size 6 pair of athletic pants that belong to his six year old brother. On at least one occasion, he made it out of the house and went to school in this ensemble. I somehow missed it in the chaos of our morning. When I picked him up from school, and noticed the pants were proudly showing off his ankles, I asked him why he wore them. He said "they were in my closet, so I figured they were mine." I've come to realize that if I do the boys' laundry too often, they just grab the pants or shorts that are on top, or the shirt that was hung up last. That means they could and have wore the same attire multiple times a week. For whatever reason, A-train has an issue with seasonal dressing. The kid will try to wear shorts and a t-shirt to school in January, but when it's May and June, he is in a long sleeve shirt and pants.
Neither of the boys know how to use a comb, though his answer for this, is to drench his hair in water, move the hair to the side with his hand and let it air dry. He rides to school in the morning with water dripping down his face.
My youngest absolutely hates clothes. If it were up to him, he would go to school in underwear. When he gets home from school, his clothes immediately come off. If I know there is a repair man coming by the house, or someone we don't know, I have to beg him to put clothes on. If someone rings the doorbell, he is the first one to go sprinting to the door......in his undies! I can not get him to understand the difference between athletic pants, athletic shorts, jeans or cargo shorts. They are all just pants to him. His favorite color is green, so he constantly wants to wear his green shirts. Again, if I wash these shirts too often, he will wear them multiple times within a week. The socks.....don't get me started on the socks. Not a single one of my 3 kids will wear matching socks. At least once a month, I'll go through and put their socks together so they all match. Within days, they are wearing mismatched socks.....I don't get it!
My beautiful wife Emily, who used to have to get up at 5am to get herself ready to be to work by 8am, is a completely different person since her traumatic brain injury. She no longer has that desire to spend all that time to look a certain way. The first time she tried putting on all of her makeup before we went out to dinner, it was a disaster. She was so proud that she had taken the time to apply her own products. It was hard for me to have to tell her we needed to take it off. I tried to help her and convinced her to use just a foundation and some eye liner. I had no clue what I was doing myself. I had to set up an appointment to visit a woman who worked at a cosmetic counter in the mall. We both got a lesson in cleansing, moisturizing and applying makeup. Thankfully, Em caught on quick, and does a great job on her own now.
Before her accident, Em wore XS and small clothing. She was tiny, and her walk in closet was jam packed full of it. She would continue to try to wear her old XS outfits that looked amazing on her 35 lbs ago. It got to the point where I'd ask her to change one XS shirt and she would come back with another. She would get frustrated with me and didn't understand why I was asking her to change. I was probably the least qualified person to shop for a woman who dressed so magnificently, but I had to go out and buy her a new wardrobe. There would be no Nordstrom or Bloomingdales, now she has a closet full of JCP, Gordmans and TJ Maxx. I moved much of her old clothes to my daughters closet or packed it away. Em is in a place mentally, where she is no longer concerned with the name brand or price on the tag, so she is happy with what I buy her. Just like my children, she now struggles with matching colors and not clashing.
I never would have imagined, in a million years, that I would become the "fashion police", in this family of 5. My only goal, is to ensure that our family or any member of it, does not wind up on a "people of Wal Mart" video, in some hideous costume they put together, for all of Facebook to see.