When your daughter becomes a girl

My daughter has recently discovered girls – in that they are actually a great gender to be friends with, and a great gender to be. She’s been a tomboy for as long as I can remember, hanging out with boys – even dressing like them. And while I have never been one to dictate what my kids wear, I have been known to try and persuade my daughter to maybe girl it up a little only to be met with major resistance. And so this recent change has kind of thrown me for a loop.

Suddenly my daughter is very concerned with the clothes she is wearing. We’ve never been a family who cared about labels, mostly because, let’s face it, “labels” are expensive. So my daughter wears the best of the best from that chic little boutique affectionately known as Tar-jay (or Target, for you common folks). But all of a sudden, these just weren’t good enough. And this became very apparent when the school dance came about, and my daughter HAD TO HAVE a new outfit because all of her clothes weren’t good enough.

But I didn’t begrudge her. I actually jumped at her revelation that her tomboy clothes weren’t cute enough, and that she needed to go shopping – a dirty word in our previous conversations. And when she asked if she could invite one of her girlfriends for moral support, I was only too happy to say yes.

There are benefits to letting your child shop with a friend their own age. I’d like to think that I have a pretty keen eye on what’s cute on the racks, and what isn’t. But even I have to admit that, being 20 years older than my daughter, I may not have a good perception about what’s in style for her. She’s the one going to school with a bunch of other fashion conscious teens, not me. And if I’m her influence when she’s shopping, she’s not going to find an outfit that matches her peers. But bring in a fashionable girl my daughter’s age, and whose style she loves, and now we’re getting down to business.

Armed with a gift card from Christmas, we all trekked over to Forever 21.  In the backseat they were speaking a foreign language of teen girl-speak that I didn’t even know my daughter was fluent in.  And when we arrived at the store the girls promptly ditched me and the Taz to go find clothes on their own. I wandered aimlessly among the racks, wondering if I should at least be trying to shadow them a little in case they needed some help. I finally spotted my daughter and asked her point blank, only to be shooed away. Fine then, I would just do a little “browsing” myself. I set the Taz up on a chair outside the fitting room with my iPhone, and then searched for clothes to try on. And when I was all done, the girls apparently were too. I caught up with them in the accessories section where they were finalizing the finishing touches to their outfits with rings, earrings, necklaces, and a funky pair of sunglasses. And without even showing me her new outfit, my daughter went right up to the cash register to buy her new clothes.

It was a whole new lesson on trust for me.

Today’s the dance, and my daughter woke me up early to help her with her hair. 40 minutes later (man, that girl’s hair is thick!), her long hair hung in soft ringlets, and she was off to change into her new clothes. And when she modeled them for me a little later, I was stunned at the girl who stood before me. She wore a turquoise shirt cinched above the waist with one of my belts. Layered over that was a heather gray long sweater. And she paired it with her favorite jeans and ballet flats (foregoing her usual skater shoes). Her curled hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. And she accessorized with large hoop earrings and a long necklace. She was gorgeous! The two girls had picked out a very cute outfit that still held remnants of my daughter’s personal style. But it was a whole new look, and my daughter was obviously thrilled.

There are a couple things I’ve learned in this whole experience. First, this whole new girl in my daughter is bound to be loads of fun as we play dress up and rediscover all those girly clothes and hairstyles we’ve had to avoid the past 13 years. Two, as the mom of a teen, I am strictly off limits from partaking in playing dress up with my daughter. Boo. Third, a girlfriend is the perfect solution to a fashion crisis. Fourth, girliness is highly time consuming (40 minutes for hair! Did you read that up there???). And finally, I am about to become really, really, really broke.

Really.

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