I left the house the other
morning in a Thumper thermal under a Hello Kitty T-shirt, shoes bearing
embroidered monkeys and boy shorts covered in pink French poodles that
poked ever-so-slightly out of the top of my jeans. I was – as I realized
way too late – ridiculous-looking.
Ten years ago, when everyone
was dressing like children, with barrettes and Mary Janes, my duds would
have been adorably en vogue. But in this era of elegant circle dresses
and skinny jeans, I looked like an oversized Muppet who had lost her
way. A big doll that had somehow stumbled out of a kid’s playroom
and staggered into the street.
Of course, that’s exactly
what I am.
We women always dress for our
men (or our women, depending on our orientation – but you get the
idea). If the person we’re trying to impress mentions a passing fancy
for purple, we’ll raid a Prince reject sample sale just to supplement
our wardrobe. Tell us we look good in animal prints, and we’ll start
hunting our own pelts.
Unfortunately, the “man”
I’ve been trying to wow with my wardrobe thinks the height of haute
couture is not soiling your Elmo underpants. Consciously and not, I
have built up a wardrobe of cartoon-festooned clothes meant to impress
I have always had a soft spot
for whimsical T’s, but I kept it in check. A newsroom isn’t the
most formal setting in the world, so I could pair a Giant Robot T-shirt
with some wool pants and heels and give the bosses the illusion that
I’m both professional and “quirky,” or whatever.
Once Zev came along – and
I traded office life for Mommy and Me classes – the wool pants got
tossed aside, I kicked off the high heels and expanded my T-shirt collection
to include unicorns, Disney characters and an embarrassing number of
Zev now thinks he is my own
personal Rachel Zoe – vetoing sartorial choices and making bizarre
demands on my wardrobe. Some mornings, when he wakes up on the wrong
side of the crib, he’ll even throw a fit if I’m not wearing the
“Where is your pink Hello
Kitty shirt?” he sobs, refusing to get out of bed.
“It’s OK, Zev. The sun
still comes out no matter what I’m wearing,” I say – but mentally
I make a note to myself to do the laundry and start the day right tomorrow.
I still have enough adult clothes
in my closet to pull together a kinda grownup ensemble, whenever the
occasion demands it. But I fear “real” clothing is a dying breed,
getting increasingly gobbled up by monkeys. In fact, when I run through
my most recent purchases in my head, I can’t come up with anything
that isn’t emblazoned with simians, dwarves, fairies or robots.
If this continues, I’m going
to end up wearing pediatric nurse smocks with rainbow leggings and clown
I’ve started to notice that
the other moms at Zev’s preschool always look much more primped than
I do. And when I meet Keren for a play date with our sons, she sometimes
wears a dress. I have a dress, too. It’s covered in bright yellow
embroidered flowers. I bought it this summer for Zev’s birthday party.
As I drove to a play date in
down on myself. I never let my husband swallow up my identity; why am
I letting my son?
I got out of the car and carried
a sleeping Zev to Maayan’s front door. She opened it – wearing jeans,
sneakers and a T-shirt bearing the image of Grumpy.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Much, much better,” I
said. “Thank you.”