For years, I shopped for kid #3’s clothes exclusively at Gymboree. Their stuff was cute, feminine without being sexy (you wouldn’t believe some of the clothes manufactured for 4 year olds!), well made and appropriately sized. A mom acquaintance taught me how to get Gymboree clothes for Target prices. When the clothes were outgrown, I sold them on eBay, then used the proceeds to buy more Gymboree clothes. It was awesome.
Kid #3 only had one expectation of her clothes: comfort. She hated pants with buttons, zippers, or obvious seams. So I bought leggings and bike shorts which were soft and easy. Two years ago, she outgrew Gymboree sizes. I almost cried.
Her friends shopped at Justice for Girls and we went there. Dear heaven. The sizes made no sense at all, the clothes were flimsy and, yes I’m gonna say it, slutty, and the store was rock concert loud. We never went back.
That left me at sea on where to buy her clothes. And she was beginning to talk about her “style.” Her sense of style came from Pokemon and YouTube. We’ve been to the usual suspects (Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s), but it’s a battle. Gone are the days when I could leisurely put together endless outfits at Gymboree and have every one of them coordinate. Now it’s hemming and hawing (from her) and lines in the sand regarding midriffs (from me).
My Auntie J gave her a Kohl’s gift card for Christmas and kid #3 announced that she wanted to head there to buy jeans, that most dreaded of clothing items. I warned her that we’d have to try on a lot of jeans to figure out what worked for her. It’s not like buying leggings, I admonished. She was undaunted.
As we perused the aisles and stacks of jeans in the junior’s section at our local Kohl’s, I found myself trying to cram a lifetime of positive body messages into one shopping experience. She tried on pair after pair of jeans and I assured her that the sizes make no sense, they have no relation to being fat; the pants are all cut differently, so size 5 in one can be size 1 in another brand. And nobody’s a size 0, that’s why they’re all on clearance.
The whole experience pissed me off at women’s clothing manufacturers. First, I’m over the low-rise skinny jean fad. They look good on maybe one (young) woman out of 20. We don’t need to go back to mom jeans, but there’s a middle ground, for Pete’s sake.
Second, why aren’t the sizes standardized? Or, at the least, defined. A size 5 equals a waist measurement of 23 inches or whatever. But nope. We grabbed an array of sizes for every pair of jean she liked.
Third, why are so many of the jeans being sold with sparkles all over the rear pockets and/or rips and paint splatters all over the legs? Kid #3 thought we could do better at a thrift store, “They’d be cleaner.”
And finally, my perfectly healthy and fit 12 year old felt fat and defeated by the process. At that point, I reminded her that I buy my jeans (Levi 501s) in the men’s department because it’s straightforward. Waist size plus length desired equals a functional, acceptable pair of jeans. We headed off to the women’s department and found far less sparkly jeans. Ultimately, we were able to find a pair that fit well, didn’t require a thong, or cost half a month’s mortgage.
She slept in them last night.