Sunday, June 17, 2012

Graduation

This post is brought to you by a weird woman who's worn sunglasses more or less non-stop for the last 3 days - I'm wearing them even now as I type this in my living room (and I've diminished the brightness on my computer screen) because the migraine I got late last week seems to have left me quite photosensitive.

M and I, on our crazy adventure today (migraine-inducing for anyone) ate lunch at Holt's and I just know our waiter (a really discreet guy I've known for years) thought I'd had work done. I mean, when ladies wear their sunglasses at the Holt Renfrew upstairs restaurant, it's code. Even M said: Mummy, they're being really nice to you today.

But enough about me, this post is about shopping for a grade 6 graduation dress (plus shoes!) with and for my daughter. I put it off for as long as possible, what with my strong contention that graduating from grade 6 is ridiculous and that spending wads of money on a forced occasion adds insult to injury. Did I mention I have a reno starting in a week? And I'm going to NC (2 grand for tickets people)? And I've got Scott's birthday dinner next weekend? You can see where I'm coming from...

Alas, I'm not going to be the mother who makes her kid wear one of my dresses on principle (largely because she can't fit into any of them). We went out, but first we made a pact. Our pact was that she would back off if I refused to buy something because I couldn't approve of it and that I would back off if she refused to try something because she couldn't approve of it. And, that if we started to fight for any reason, we would hug instead.

We spent a lot of time hugging.

And thank goodness I reneged on my part of the bargain or she never would have been forced to try on this (the last hope for humanity, in case you're interested):

It's Max Azria - a cherry red silk ruffled number with boning (and silicone seams). It's actually sleevless. Those straps keep it on the hanger.

It is beautifully made. Honestly, it's top-notch RTW construction. Originally, it was $400.00 and it was reasonably priced, IMO. We got it for $150.00 which, given that the kid is not going to any cotillions in the next year, is a total insanity.

But wait, you might think, she'll wear it sometime in the future - to a wedding! Um, she has gazelle legs. Her legs are longer than mine at this point and my legs are very long. This thing is on the cusp of too-short already. And it's a petite size 0, so good luck finding someone else who'll fit into it.

In truth, I had to renege on my part of the pact because she flat out REFUSED to try anything on. Store after store yielded nothing she would even consider. She didn't like ruffles, colour, black, white, short, long, sleeves, sleeveless, tight, loose. Lord.

People, today I learned that my child is a terrible shopper. As bad as my mother?! She's like a deer caught in the headlights wherein dresses are the headlights. OMG, I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Of course, this shouldn't come as any surprise to me. I've been buying her everything she wears since she was born, on my lunch hour, and it always fits (it's a gift I have) and she always loves it (well, 90% of the time) so that's that. Horrifyingly, I have facilitated the kind of shopping anxiety in my kid that, formerly, I have only seen on television shows.

Here's what you need to know about me. I am an awesome shopper. Oh, many things I do mediocrely, but shopping is not one of them. I'm decisive. I know what will fit me (or you, or anyone on the street). I know what won't fit anyone under any circumstances. I know how to talk to the SAs so they find things in the back that are perfect that otherwise never would have made it to the floor. I have terrific taste (dare I say it myself - and I am totally bragging right now so I'll keep on)... And I do ALL THE FREAKIN' work. All you need to do is be willing to try the fucking things on and you are going to love yourself at the end of it.

Long story short, after I threatened to make her go to grad naked, my daughter agreed to try on the red dress. Is it an inappropriate cut for a 12 year old? I prefer to ask whether it's any less appropriate than grade 6 graduation. In jeans and a t shirt, she already looks much older than she is. It's not as if I'm trying to pull of a Toddlers in Tiaras thing. The dress fits perfectly and she will be wearing it with flat sandals. OK, flat, gladiator sandals. In gold. (What, they are actually an eclectic match for a kid who knows how to work hard and soft. And have you ever tried to match a fancy red dress with anything other than a leopard pump?)

Natural shopping my kid may not have, but style she has in spades.

30 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm so glad you made it through the day relatively unscathed AND emerged with a stunning dress you can both live with. And had what sounds like a pleasant mother-daughter lunch as well.
    You should know that I'm making a note that I absolutely must get to Toronto sometime to take advantage of your shopping skills!

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    1. Relatively unscathed is a perfect way to put it. I mean, it wasn't the kind of day I'd like to have on a regular basis :-) And I would LOVE to go shopping with you. And for lunch at HR. We can wear sunglasses and see what happens!

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  2. This is a gorgeous dress! I own quite a few pieces of BCBG formal wear (that I got on sale) and am very happy with them. I think they do decently for resale on ebay if your daughter will end up growing out of it. No way I'd have had the confidence to wear this kind dress when I was 12 (not until 22 at least, and I'd have fit in a size 2), but then fashion changed a lot. I admire your daughter's courage. I am not sure if the straplessness is age appropriate, mainly since I don't think it is a comfortable style at any age unless the fit is perfect. It is a very grown up dress, but you are the best judge of her personality and how she looks in it ;-)

    Mona

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    1. Mona: I don't know that I would have either, but I did not have my child's figure. My figure was much curvier. It would have been a scandal at that age in such a dress.

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  3. Dresses and tweens are impossible. Fortunately, my daughter wore her school uniform to her 6th grade "moving up" ceremony, but I had to buy her a dress, on my own, on the day of her evening school orchestra concert. She's outgrown two new pairs of (pricey) shoes in two two-week spurts, so I went to Forever 21 and hoped, hoped, hoped that a wrap sleeveless dress, with a camisole and some pinning, would work. Saved for one more year.

    The red dress is beautiful.

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    1. Oh, I know! I only wish the kid had a uniform, as you and I did. But it sounds like you did a great job. The shoes are a craziness. We spent 100 bucks on shoes she may be able to wear for the summer. Her feet grow constantly. And they're not quite big enough to fit me, so no crossover. I have huge feet. Although I should try them, just for kicks, they're just a half size off from mine...

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  4. This dress is gorgeous. As for appropriate? Well, I've always kind of thought that if it passed the "dad" test, then you're golden. If your husband approves, then the rest of the world can stick it. ;-)

    You sound like the kind of shopper that (don't laugh) my dad is. When I was a kid, I hated shopping (still do), but my dad could always pull the most random stuff off the rack, throw it at us and tell us to try it on. Oddly enough, he was almost always spot on. Wal-Mart/Target/consignment or not, he could always find clothes to make up a pretty darn stylish wardrobe.

    I can totally relate to your daughter's hatred of shopping. Ugh! There's very little in this world that can irritate/frustrate/make someone want to cry quite like shopping for clothes. And it doesn't seem to matter what size you are.

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    1. Oh, that's so right! But we were so tired when we got home, that we didn't try it on for him. And tonight we just got home from a school concert. So tomorrow will be the litmus test.

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  5. Oh boy. This sounds like a shopping trip I'll go on with my 8 year old in a few years, long legs and all (she is the same size now that I was at 11 - but I was a puny 11 year old).

    I think the dress is perfect. I think it is more awkward to force a maturing girl into a dress that is too young looking. If my 8 year old saw it she would want it now, but she will have to wait a bit.

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    1. It's a hard call. I do appreciate Anon's perspective (below). But I think the dress will work for my kid's dimensions and her personality. She can't be put in some little girl dress because that's how I see her.

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  6. If it's any consolation my daughter has a graduation ceremony from nursery tomorrow. NURSERY!!!! She's 4!!!!!!! It's insane.
    Thankfully it's children only, but there will be a photographer.
    Good grief, Charlie Brown!
    PS...I think with gold flats the dress will look really cute.

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    1. Ha! M did have a mini "fake" junior kindergarten grad but it was really just a garden party followed by ice cream.

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  7. I loved your idea of hugging instead of fighting :).

    The dress is really beautiful Kristin. She's going to be a lovely, stylish grad. And I know grade 6 graduation shouldn't be a big deal but I still remember mine, cello ribbon and all.

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    1. Well, if you remember yours, then maybe it's more special than I'm giving it credit for being. I guess I need to reconsider...

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  8. You are really excellent at shopping. This I know from experience.

    The dress is lovely and I think it will look fantastic with gold gladiator sandals.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad you commented to corroborate my bragging! :-) Of course, you are an excellent muse!

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  9. Super pretty! I love the dress! And I'm glad to hear that you're a good shopper-- I'm more like your daughter. The whole scenario just stresses me out!

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  10. You and I are on a parallel course. I went shopping Friday for my 6th grader's graduation dress. Her graduation is not a fancy affair, just an assembly on the last day and a march down the yard-stick arch held by all the teachers. She announced to me last week she had to have a new dress. She never wears dresses unless forced to. We went Friday evening and had a terrible time, but compacted into about 1 hour. We went to The Mall and checked out all the Junior's stores. There was nothing appropriate that could be worn to school. I finally steered her to the kids dept of Macy's and we found a very cute polka-dot sun dress that will do nicely. It is not little girlish but it is not grown up either. She was suspicious of my taste since I am ancient (much older than you and her friends moms). We bought it and went over to her friend's house and it was pronounced beautiful. The deal is that if I was given a little lead time I could have made something better. We did get some extra use out of it since we were at a wedding all day Saturday and she wore it then.
    I feel your tween shopping pain. I, also, have always bought my daughter's clothes. She just doesn't really care, most of the time.
    I think that may be changing.

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    1. They're all suspicious of our taste! Until they think about it for a couple of minutes (and do some texting) :-)

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  11. K, the dress is fantastic. I had a painful shopping experience this weekend too, but take solace in the fact that my shopping 'partner' (hahaha) was a stubborn 14 yr old boy. He also needed reminding of my shopping prowess, and while I love the idea of hugging instead of fighting, I'm betting that would be a losing approach. I'll have to stick with threats...

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    1. OK, maybe that's slightly worse! :-) Trust me, the hugs strategy was hit and miss!

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  12. OK, junior high teacher here. I've been debating whether or not to make a comment here, but finally decided to do so. Will your child be comfortable if she wears a short, red, strapless, cocktail dress to an elementary school function? Although her body may be mature enough to wear the dress, will it make her feel comfortable with her peers and their parents?

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    1. Thanks for this comment, Anon. I sense she'll be comfortable because, as soon as she tried it on, my daughter loved the dress (and proceeded to email a photo of herself in it to her friend for feedback). The friend corroborated that she the dress was special. And while I am concerned that my daughter feel beautiful and comfortable at this event, I'm not particularly concerned about what other parents think. I care what she thinks, and what I think. My child will not be wearing makeup, or "sexy shoes". She's not busty - as I was at that age - so her breasts are not prominent in the dress. It also fits in a lovely way, not too tight, not too roomy. I do appreciate, though, your expressing something that many others may be thinking. I guess time will tell whether this was a sound decision... Keep in mind though, I've lived with my kid for her whole life and, for her many qualities, she's no shrinking violet.

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  13. It's a big deal. Enjoy, before the whole high school thing starts....

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  14. Aw, honey! You must be so proud :-)
    What a beautiful dress -- share pix please!!

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  15. It is beautiful. And I am sure you are an awesome shopper even though we did not do any shopping when we met in NYC. It would be fun.

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