Author Topic: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"  (Read 14051 times)

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JeseC

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Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« on: January 12, 2013, 08:24:46 PM »
Is this special to our family, or is there just something about mothers wanting to interfere in how their children dress?

I have always had a predilection for a somewhat gothic style, ever since I was young (and picked up the predilection for the music as soon as I had access to it, which was significantly later).  This was largely suppressed at my mother's insistence for a long time, in her ever-present hope that I'd grow out of "that all-black phase."  Seeing as that didn't work, I have of course updated my wardrobe to the dark tones and styles that I prefer, and donated much of what I used to wear.

This, for some reason, drives my mother absolutely nuts.  She seems to have taken it upon herself to teach me how to "dress properly," and is somehow entirely convinced that I'll never get anywhere because of the massive bad effects of my clothing.  It gets quite silly at times.  For one, she seems to be convinced that my tastes in clothing mean I have no idea how to dress in different situations.  One time, she saw an outfit I had on to visit a friend from college while I was in the area - striped tights, a flared purple skirt, black top, and black cloak.  This immediately launched into a lecture about how I couldn't wear clothes like that to work and expect to keep a job.  She also seems to be terribly afraid that any clothing that "stands out" at all will lead to employment problems, despite my being in a field where the dress code lecture we got was "please refrain from wearing anything with stains or noticeable holes in it."

I could go on with the stories.  What amuses and slightly irritates me is the constant advice on my clothing.  As though in my mid-20's I still had no idea how to put together an appropriate outfit.  Or alternately, as though this is some remnant of childish rebellion, that really should have been outgrown a while ago.  We've pretty much gotten to the point where I ignore her whenever she starts up on it - engaging and trying to explain just provokes more outlandish responses, along with the firm certainty that I cannot possibly know the actual responses my clothing will get.  It's probably handled as well as it could be, but...aaaaargh mothers!

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 08:40:15 PM »
Not quite to the same degree, but my mother and I are of different style sorts.  My mom tends to go with trends because, well she likes them and can afford to, and her tastes run towards the preppy. 

I remember in college trying out different styles since when my mother was buying my clothes I didn't get a lot of say in my style.  She did buy me my first two broomstick skirts and well that was about it.  Though when I discovered Hot Topic there was a time I wondered if that would be a good look for me.  I was at the mall closer to home with my mother when I was home from school and asked her what she thought of a certain item of clothing from HT.   She said "Are you trying to shock me?" 

I told her no, I genuinely wanted to know if it looked good on me but said sort of jokingly "I'll take that for a no?"

Well while I like getting tshirts and accesories there, I really am not the goth sort, I tend to be more of a hippie in style.  Which she never really said too much about but it was like she was practicing some "Teen 101: Do not respond to their efforts to shock you and they will eventually come back to normal." Which meant thin smiles and forced compliments on my boho style.  Once at my son's old school, I wore a long broomstick skirt, a boho lacy like top (it had a lining) under a light jacket since the top had spaghetti straps.  I got a lot of compliments from the kids and some of the teachers.  On the way out, my mom, who had done a plant related presentation, said "Well, it does look nice" like someone was force feeding her worms. 

Mind you at the time I was 30.  WAY too late for a rebellion. 

I got the same "pretend you're not shocked or disapproving" look when I got my first tattoo a few months later.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

afbluebelle

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 09:01:22 PM »
Its a mom thing... I get grief for my tatoos, my t-shirts, and the fact that I wear jeans and front fly/zip pants (not side zip like a proper woman).


The work wardrobe is the elephant in the room, as is my penchant for my old, ugly wallet.
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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SPuck

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 09:42:02 PM »
(not side zip like a proper woman)

Proper modern woman wear side zip up pants? /:?

Yvaine

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 10:01:51 PM »
(not side zip like a proper woman)

Proper modern woman wear side zip up pants? /:?

It was A Thing for a while, like in the fifties, when pants had first started being acceptable for women. Front zips were considered to be for men because of...the functional aspect. But I have no idea how one would even stick to this rule anymore and have a wardrobe of any size, because almost everything is front zip now.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 10:08:27 PM »
Its a mom thing... I get grief for my tatoos, my t-shirts, and the fact that I wear jeans and front fly/zip pants (not side zip like a proper woman).


The work wardrobe is the elephant in the room, as is my penchant for my old, ugly wallet.

Isn't your work wardrobe...ummm mandatory ???

Hmmmmm

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 11:20:49 PM »
It's a mom thing and the best thing to do about it is to have a sense of humor.  I have two mid-50 yr old, very elegant, ex-model cousins who definetly know how to dress. Before a recent wedding, my cousins, my sis, and I were waiting for their mom in a hotel lobby. We had a bet going on whether aunt would tell cousin 1 her dress was too short for age or cousin 2 was in too high of heels for a woman her height.  Aunt was a little miffed when we all burst out laughing when she asked elegant cousin if she really meant for her dress to be that short?

CakeBeret

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 11:55:05 PM »
It's a mom thing. My mother is continually despairing over my tattoos, my hairstyle, and my vast collection of black clothing. And I don't ever wear floral prints. :P
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

JeseC

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 12:21:36 AM »
Its a mom thing... I get grief for my tatoos, my t-shirts, and the fact that I wear jeans and front fly/zip pants (not side zip like a proper woman).


The work wardrobe is the elephant in the room, as is my penchant for my old, ugly wallet.

Isn't your work wardrobe...ummm mandatory ???

Of course, if she's anything like my mother, she might be miffed that her daughter doesn't "dress appropriately for work" even if the clothes are perfectly in line with the actual workplace.  My mother still has not gotten it through her head that the sort of business attire she considers appropriate would be far and away too much in a workplace where the boss typically shows up in a t-shirt and cargo shorts.

I've at this point settled on a little sigh that's become the family code for "I heard you, I just don't want to discuss it."  (Not a PA gesture; this is employed after indicating verbally that I don't want to discuss a topic, and not wanting to be drawn into another "but why not?" conversation.)

Iris

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2013, 01:19:08 AM »
Definitely a mum thing. My mum STILL does it and I've got a daughter as old as I was when she started doing it, plus I dress WAY more conservatively than I used to due to a career change plus weight gain.

Interestingly, I remember sitting with another friend with somewhat way out style and discussing what our kids would be like when they got to the 'rebellious years'. I laughed and said that since I didn't really care about how they dressed as long as they're reasonably neat my kids would have to rebel by wearing mismatched and unironed clothes.

Yeah. Before I went out to lunch today I had to tick off my teen daughter because she hadn't ironed her clothes  ::) She's probably on another forum saying "My mum is SO mean! She wouldn't let me express myself through a wrinkly t-shirt!"
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

afbluebelle

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2013, 01:49:14 AM »
Its a mom thing... I get grief for my tatoos, my t-shirts, and the fact that I wear jeans and front fly/zip pants (not side zip like a proper woman).


The work wardrobe is the elephant in the room, as is my penchant for my old, ugly wallet.

Isn't your work wardrobe...ummm mandatory ???

Yes. Yes it is. That's why it doesn't get mentioned much anymore. If I cross trained into an office job, I would wear the blues with the skirt... at least in DM's head  :P

I do need a new wallet though. Mine is 9 years old, velcro, and a bit torn/ripped. I really like it though =)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 01:51:59 AM by afbluebelle »
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
-Love is Evol: Christopher Titus-

camlan

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2013, 06:57:51 AM »
My mom grew up in the 1940s, when "sweater girls" wearing tight, form-fitting sweaters were in the movies and fashion magazines. This look, however, was not appropriate for nice, high-school aged girls. I suspect my mom and her mom may have had some discussion about this particular style.

I was a teenager in the 1970s--billowy boho style clothing, low-slung bell-bottom jeans, skin-tight body suits. I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school. I was not allowed to own a single pair of jeans. I was the freak in school who was wearing cute little jumpers and skirts while everyone else was in hip-hugger jeans.

In college, I started buying my own clothes and favored baggy, comfortable things like denim overalls and flannel shirts and oversized sweaters and the like.

One weekend when I was home, my mom sat me down at the kitchen table and said, "I never thought I'd have to say this to a daughter of mine." I tell you, I froze. I was terrified--I had no idea what was coming next.

"You wear all your clothes too loose." Yep, in an era where most moms were trying to peel the skin-tight, too short clothing off their daughters, my mother was concerned that my clothing was too baggy.  Poor thing, apparently she'd been bracing herself for the "your sweater is too tight!" conversations, but got a daughter who was the exact opposite.

You just can't win, no matter what you wear.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Yvaine

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 08:27:55 AM »
My mom--and I have an amazing mom and love her to bits--took a few years to just adjust to the colors I like. She's big into wearing white, red, and black almost exclusively. My wardrobe looks like I dunked the whole thing in grape juice. She thought it was weird to wear as much purple as I do. I mean, purple? Is it that weird?  ;D She did get used to it and has given me some amazing purple clothing in recent years.

Just Lori

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 09:15:26 AM »
Moms, like most people, tend to see things through the lens of their own experience and time.   For instance, when I was younger colorful tattoos were associated with military men and bikers. If a woman had a tattoo, she never had it anywhere it would be visible in work clothing.  At least this was the case in my social circle and region.

Nowadays, tattoos are what pierced ears were when I was younger.  Yet if my daughter came home with a tattoo on her neck, I might still have an "oh!" moment where I'd fret that she was sabatoging any effort to land a job in her chosen field of teaching. I know logically that tattoos are mainstream now, but there's still this portion of my brain that thinks "bikers and military men."

What I'm trying to say is that it takes some of us a few years to catch up with trends and let go of our preconceived notions.  The older we get, the harder can be to shake those notions.  Keep wearing what you want to wear.  With time Mom will realize that you're perfectly capable of working and supporting yourself in outfits that are appropriate to the occasion.

Thipu1

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Re: Oh mothers, or "I think I can dress myself, Mom"
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 10:40:17 AM »
It wasn't my own mother.  It was MIL but she was gentle about it.

When I was first married, I favored bright colors.  MIL had been to some kind of seminar about dressing according to your 'season'.  She informed me that I was a 'Winter Person'.  Therefore, I should limit my strong colors to navy blue and hunter green.  I could add a bit of baby blue or mint but I should never wear any warm colors and I should wear lots and lots of white. 

BOOOORING!

On a visit to Vermont, she and FIL wanted to buy me a new ski jacket.  She really pushed for a navy model.  That is when I became a purple parka person.