Friday, November 6, 2009
Off the Racks of Babes
So last week, my brother says to me: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take my daughter, your 16-year-old niece, shopping for some fall/winter clothing.”
"Whaddya kidding Moi?" I replied. "Shopping is my middle name!"
A few seconds of silence lapsed at the other end of the line before he said to me, “Well you know how picky she is. Are you sure you’re up for it?”
Oh, yes, I assured him. You can count on Moi. I will do a mighty fine job of steering said niece into perfectly appropriate but totally cool clothing. And what was he talking about, picky? The kid lives in flip flops and tee shirts from Hollister. Should be no problem, juhzing her up a bit.
My brother then slapped me with another couple directives. Not only should the clothing be appropriate, one of the items should include a warm, practical winter coat. Also, because he is currently on a very limited budget and my niece tends to outgrow things as fast as she can roll her eyes at adults, he asked that we limit our shopping to either Target or Wal-mart, both of which do indeed have perfectly appropriate, decently made, and stylish clothing for girls.
So this past Wednesday, off we went.
First stop, Wal-Mart, where niece immediately spotted hanging on a rack in the juniors section, a totally cool, white nylon puffy bomber style jacket:
“Aunt Mmmmwahhhhhhhh,” she squealed. “That is so cooooool!”
Not for nothing this kid is my niece, and so not for nothing the Fashionista Moi part of me was just champing at the bit to concur. Luckily, I was able to mentally smack Fashionista Moi down with the promise of cruising the new arrivals at Shop Bop later this evening if she would just keep her mouth shut and allow Practical Moi to intone with grown up, Practical Moi Seriousness: “Oh, honey, no. That thing is going to get dirty in about 2.5 seconds and you’re going to whine and cry to me about it and then I am most likely going to go broke from the dry cleaning bills, because I was the one who allowed you to buy it in the first place.”
“But Aunt Moi, can I at least try it on? It’s so cooooool!”
You just can’t fault logic like that, so yes, okay, I caved in and let her try it on, and yes, she did indeed look totally cool in it. So totally cool, in fact, that before I could stop her, Fashionista Moi came running to the fore, never mind the 5" heels, and blurted out breathlessly, “Oh. My. God. That is so cool! You look like some bored European heiress skiing Gstaad on trust fund money!"
Of course, she had no clue whatsoever what I was talking about, but that didn't matter; kid can sniff an Adult About to Give In like I can sniff out a 75 percent off sale at the Dillard's shoe department.
“So I can get it, right?” she enthused.
At which point Fashionista Moi politely begged off, pushed Practical Moi to the foreground and tip-toed away, mumbling something about having to go pour herself a drink.
The pronouncement, painful as it was, came swiftly: “No, honey. You can’t.”
Naturally, niece immediately went into Pouty McPoutster Mode and I was left holding the Bad Aunty Bag.
Then, the heavens? They parted. To magically reveal the exact same jacket, only in BLACK. I held it up enthusiastically. Still totally cool, right?
“I dunno,” said niece warily. “You don’t think I’m going to look like some biker chick in it, do you?”
This from a child who rims her eyes in jet black and has a metal arrow pierced through the left side of her lower lip? Still, she had a point.
Then the heavens, they parted a second time, this time revealing the neon-edged sign for the Miley Cyrus Max Azria Collection for Wal-Mart. Racks upon racks and stacks upon stacks of inexpensive, spot-on-trend, inexpensive, and totally cute inexpensive tee shirts and boho tops and jeans and leggings and what have you. And by the way did I mention, inexpensive?
“Honey, I tell you what. You buy the black jacket instead of the white, and I’ll chip in to buy you this way cute Miley Cyrus top, which will look totally cool underneath the jacket, sort of Rocker Chick Meets Boho Babe. Whaddya say?”
The niece, she actually squinted her eyes at me. Then she slowly walked over to another rack and after a few seconds, triumphantly procured another top. “Throw this one in and you got a deal.”
So, did I mention? The collection? Tres inexpensive. Which means my niece, she gets to be totally cute for the 2.5 seconds it takes her to outgrow her stuff and I get to have money left over for the winter shoe fund. Because my feet? They’re not growing anywhere.