I was born without fashion sense. This led quickly to having no interest in clothes, beauty products and shopping. I admire friends and colleagues who are fashion savvy. They often translate the language of fashion and I need all the help I can get. My goals are simply. Do not walk out of the house naked each morning and try to match at least 50% of the time. As the only daughter of a shopaholic, I have been blessed with something appropriate to wear at all times.

Attending Catholic school for half of my life was truly a blessing. Finally, it was okay to wear the same outfit every day. Can I get an AMEN?! Even when I went to public school, my mother sewed ‘uniform’ style blouses and slacks that could be coordinated without any thought. Clearly, I was not very popular in school. Even though I was somewhat embarrassed by this, it was a relief. At least I didn’t have to shop.

As we prepared our children for school, I was surprised that I had rather conservative beliefs about how our children would dress. Uniforms were a huge part of my educational experience and you ALWAYS dressed up for school. As my son started school, he knew that there were school clothes and home clothes. We stressed the importance of being ‘dressed’ for school despite his complaints that his friends wore fun clothes to school. When Sharlene would choose sweatpants, I would bite my tongue and complain later. Strangely, she understood my militant attitude towards school clothes better than I did.

I believed that how you dress is a sign of how you want to be treated? How often have I heard the comment, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Or, “Dress for success.” My early training was steeped in the hopes of an immigrant family who wanted the best for the generation. We were groomed to be professionals and appearance was a BIG step in that direction.

As a mother, I had to learn how to keep these values, yet honor the self-determination we strongly encourage in our children. My mother’s shopping skills came through once again and we found the balance between fun clothes and conscious dress. As a physically active family, my son has become a fan of ‘workout clothes’. He now has a series of ‘uniform-like’ workout clothes in various dark colors we rotates throughout the week. He’s comfortable, happy, and practices his unique sense of style. My mother is happy she gets to shop, and we have stress-free mornings where I no longer ask the question, “…what is he wearing?”

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