Landing on your head is dumb, so on a fine March day in 1980, I stood my ground as my Mother began birthing me. My head was pointed towards true north and I refused to turn around. I defiantly balked the status quo and proclaimed to the doctor, “if you want me out of here, you’ll have to cut me out”. Cut me out, he did.
I was born a “bossy pants” and was outfitted in a prim little white gown with pink rosebuds that my mother had literally seen in a dream. Much to her disillusion, that would be one of the last times she’d be allowed to pick out my clothes.
On my third birthday, Grandma Joyce gifted me with the sweetest little lavender dress set that included: gloves, tights, and panties. There were ruffles as far as the eye could see, but the panties were the ruffle-iest part! As my mother dressed me, a critical issue arose when it was discovered that the panty ruffles were only attached to the backside. I wanted to see the ruffles whenever I wanted, so I
proposed demanded a solution. I would simply wear the panties backwards. Sure, a little comfort was sacrificed, but I got to see those ruffles whenever I had to wee-wee. I wore those backwards panties until my growing little body stretched them beyond recognition.
Enter Chocolate Soup:
Grade school was nigh, and my mother had grand plans for how she’d present her little princess. Chocolate Soup was a high-end children’s clothing store at the time, and everybody who was anybody, adorned their children in their precious attire. They offered preppy seer-sucker dresses with cutesie, embroidered sail-boats or butterflies, but even at age 5, I knew these ensembles weren’t for me. I just knew I’d never be a Summer Spain (actual name of an elementary school classmate) who always had perfect bows tied into her perfect hair, to match her Chocolate Soup dresses. Chocolate Soup made a lot of money off my mother but I refused to wear any of the purchased garments. Not only did I find them boring, but I was pretty sure their overt adorable-ness would damage my street cred. My suburban, white bread, street cred.
Just when I needed her, Punky Brewster arrived on the scene. Punky was a fictional t.v. character, with wild rainbow style. She wore what she wanted and it almost never matched. The girl just “got me” and she spoke to my fashion sensibilities.
As much as it must have pained my mother, she allowed me to make my own fashion choices when she took me shopping. Sure there were moments when I’d catch her staring longingly at a preppy dress or hair bows, but she embraced my compulsion for self-expression a la Punky. I’m sure she cringed when I mixed polka dot and plaid (a cardinal sin in her fashion rules book) but she mostly bit her tongue. I often paired one red ked’s sneaker with a blue one. I crimped my hair when the other girls had buttoned-up french braids. I was just about as punk as a k-5 kid could legally be.
Now I’m a wildly successful fashion designer. Now, at 35, my shoes match, but I never grew out of my love for fashion. I don’t care about brands, but I love that I get to be a human canvas, who can reinvent myself each day, after my morning shower.
The possibilities are endless, but Chocolate Soup is off the menu.
This post was inspired by Paola. https://dotedon.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/375/