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.


Kymical Reactions said...

I was out shopping for some new cutesy work clothes today, (I start my new job on Monday) and I was at my most favorite store in the mall. It is a very reputable store, and I always have the best luck there.

Anyway, as I was browsing, I glanced at a rack and I stopped dead in my tracks. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped open as I simultaneously let out a horrid gasp.

Right there, staring me in the face like something out of a night terror, were stirrup pants. STIRRUP PANTS, Moi!!!! What the……?

Why, Moi? Why? Who was the person who thought “Yeah! Stirrup Pants! Let’s make women everywhere look like they have cankles! GREAT Idea!”

I’m very upset about this.

moi said...

Oh, girl, I hear ya. Stirrup pants are a most hideous garment. Even the word – stirrup – sounds clunky. Leggings? Yes. Stirrups? Not unless you ride English style.

LaDivaCucina said...

Stirrups? blech...excuse me while I wipe my mouth! Hey, can't that white jacket be washed in the machine? It did look pretty cute.....You niece is lucky to have you!

Any word from Pirate on her triathalon?

Boxer said...

First, you're an awesome Aunty. And brave.

Second, I remember stirrup pants from the early 90's. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE things to wear. Maybe "ok" if worn with boots, but who needs that annoying thing under your foot? I was just about kmwathy's age when I bought a pair of them, so is that the fashion cycle?

Wendy said...

Even as a mom of girls, I can't relate. Elder child, now 21, was always a jeans and T-shirt kid. Younger child, almost 18, puts together wacky-yet-somehow-it-works outfits that usually include one of my vintage sweaters over a tee and a floofy skirt. However, I do know eye-rolling and McPoutsalot very, very well.

moi said...

La Diva: Yes, it was machine washable, but Le Chyllde is super picky about anything looking dirty. She may dress in jeans, tees, and hoodies, but they are neat, pressed, super clean. I know that one spot on that jacket that doesn't come out in the wash and she'll quit wearing it. Then again, at $25, maybe I should have just let her have it. Probably one of the reasons I never had kids: I'm either way too permissive or way too Draconian. Can't seem to hit that sweet middle spot.

Boxer: The ultimate problem with stirrup pants is, as Kym points out, they poof out so unattractively along the leg, creating a wooden log situation from the knee on down.

Wendy: McPoutsalot. I like that. I usually call her Miss Pouty McPoutster, which she hates, but which brings me no end of joy :o)