February 4, 2013

All My Fashionable Children

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What is the issue?

Is there a Neverland of fashion? Because I think I might be in it. I think I might be some pathetic, creepy Fashion Lost Boy, luring the neighborhood children away from their comfortable homes into a perverted world of Hello Kitty-festooned acrylic nails and galaxy leggings. I’m Peter Pan in a peter pan collar.

I first realized I had a problem when I saw a TV news blurb on Malia Obama. She was wearing something nice but subdued, like a jewel-toned fit-and-flare dress with black flats. Naturally, I thought, I like her style. I’d wear that. Then, the woman on the TV smiled and said, “Can you believe she is only fourteen?”

No. No, ma’am I cannot.

Or, rather, I thought, I can’t believe I’m a grown woman who wants to dress like a middle-schooler.

Tavi Gevinson
Tavi Gevinson

I suppose you could argue that it isn’t that hard for someone in Malia Obama’s position to be so fashion forward. She probably has a whole retinue of savvy people (like her mom, for one) advising her on what to wear for the big events, and no doubt her back to school clothes budget is probably worth more than my life. Despite these factors, you can’t deny that the girl (literally, girl) has style. The same goes for Tavi Gevinson, who is universally awesome and charming but who also reminds me of my own sucky, dowdy, high school laziness.

It isn’t just the famous teens.  All over our fine internet there are regular kids with blogs focused solely on handbags and eye shadow and pastel denim cutoffs. If you can’t handle that sort of thing, stay away from Tumblr, that’s for darn certain. They run that whole show. It’s like Lord of the Flies up in there.

Infantile fashion envy doesn’t stop at the teen or even tween set. Did you know there are baby fashion blogs? Well, there are. In this case we might be able to blame the parents. Babies almost certainly can’t tell the difference between a pair of skinny jeans with a miniature Fair Isle sweater or a mix-and-match set of Garanimals. The Garanimals are probably more comfortable, actually. Baby fashion blogs open up a whole new can of weird Modern Mom Culture worms, but the point is still the same — I’m a freak. You’re a freak. We’re all freaks. The other day, one of the clothing stores I like on Facebook posted a picture of what I thought was a cute retro summer dress. Then I realized that it was a dress for a BABY.

Girl. You wanted to dress like a baby.

So what is my deal? Are teens just way more into fashion? Are they more tapped in to what is cool? Are kids becoming mini-adults again? Or, am I, personally, a loser who spends too much time on the internet? Am I trying to grasp onto the last tattered remnants of my youth? Am I afraid of my own mortality?! I don’t know.

I know this: I get older. My fashion icons do not. My fashion tendencies are the internet equivalent of the middle-aged hippie who lives in the college neighborhood and tries really hard to hang at keggers and local coffee shops.

It’s a slippery slope, people. Don’t end up like me. Age appropriately. Don’t be afraid of pencil skirts and trench coats. Find out if pencil skirts and trench coats are even what grown women wear. Monitor the blogs you follow and admire. Make sure there are some legal adults in the mix. Because if you don’t, you might wind up in a pile of fuzzy animal-themed sweaters while weeping angry, hot tears into a mug brownie and whispering, “But they said it was Forever 21! For-ev-er!” TC mark

Rachel Ramirez

Rachel Ramirez lives in Chicago and fancies herself a writer/historian. She likes candy, old things, and gin. Don’t …

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