Thursday, September 12, 2013

One For The Good Guys: A Lesson On Personal Style

When Mr. Darling and I discovered that our daughter would be wearing a uniform in Kindergarten this year, we immediately locked eyes, slapped our hands together in a massive high five, and declared, "One for the Good Guys!"

What no one but Mr. Darling, our son McClain and I hear in the morning is the phrase, "But it's not fancy enough!" This somewhat benign phrase, from the lips of our darling daughter,  turns into a whining chant that makes me want to tear out my hair strand by strand. In fact, it would probably be more painful to listen to our daughter whining about the fanciness of her outfit than it would be to light my entire head on fire.

I suppose this is payback for the mornings that I tortured my own mother because I refused to wear anything but a party dress to school. One lesson I have learned again and again, even in parenting, is: What goes around, comes around. No child can understand this. If it was possible, I would have been the on the straight and narrow from the word "What".

The introduction of a uniform leaves no question as to what our darling may wear during the week. There is no option except for what color jumper she would like to wear in the warmer months and whether she would prefer to wear khaki pants with a button down blouse or her wool jumper in the colder months.  Fortunately for Izzy, her school uniforms are absolutely charming! At the start of this school year, she may wear a pastel pink, blue or yellow jumper with a white Peter Pan Collared shirt, knee or ankle socks and Mary - Jane shoes. Is that not the definition of The Little Girl Uniform? I don't know who would rather wear it at this point, she or me? (Don't answer that, Darling).

After I had to explain that jewelry was not allowed at school because the goal was to remain the same in appearance, Izzy asked, "Well, isn't it important to be different?" (YES, Darling! Yes!).  I further explained that the most important thing is not what you put on your body, but how you carry yourself, how you treat others and how you act as a human being in a community of other human beings and learning and knowing how to contribute to that society in a constructive and meaningful way.

For as much as I live and breath for fashion, parenthood has also taught me that there will be days when I'm lucky just to get my hair out of my face. These types of days, where walking over to my closet means that McClain will follow me, rip out my clothes while I'm trying to find something to wear and dump whatever he can get his tiny hands on into the shower or on the floor, are becoming more and more frequent with each physical milestone met by the littlest darling. Now that he is climbing, it is nearly impossible to even brush my teeth in the morning because in the time it takes me to put the toothpaste on my toothbrush, he has usually climbed on top of the toilet and begun to try and dance about on the lid. Travertine floors and an 18 month old head do not do well went met at falling speed. The toothbrush hangs out of the corner of my mouth and I have to finish brushing with one hand holding my darling monkey-baby before he finds something else to climb on.

On these days when I'm feeling unkempt and unsophisticated, I occasionally wonder what happened to the days of effortless chic? The truth is, when I think about it, those days weren't always so effortless. I constantly thought about what I was going to wear, what my outfit would say about me and how I could translate what was editorially chic with my current wardrobe. With the passing years, and now that our daughter is wearing a uniform to school, I've come to find real meaning in the phrase: Style is personal and innate. Personal style makes chic possible and effortless every day... specifically the style of one's manner and demeanor towards others.

So far with the start of school and the introduction of a uniform for Izzy, mornings have been pleasant, relatively peaceful and I still have my hair. It may only be swept out of my eyes, but our vision as a family is clearer and our daughter is learning the importance of showing her individuality at school with her actions and thoughts. Weekends are a completely different story!

With love,
Mrs. Darling

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