I've been hearing about this for years from my friends with older daughters. And dreading it, I might add. The Clothing Wars.
The first shots were fired last night in the mall, and I'm already wondering how to best arm myself for the battles ahead.
It started so innocently. Rachel and I were out for some Girl Time. We'd had dinner with a friend at Panera and then after the friend and her son went their own way, Rachel wanted to go to the mall "just to look around". With it being a school night and already past eight o'clock, I told her we had time for just one store, and she chose wisely (or so I thought). We ventured in a store which until this point has always been a reliable source for great kids' basics. A place where I could stock up on t-shirts, jeans, khakis, underwear, and socks all in one place and be confident of receiving great quality for a great price.
She ventured confidently over to the little girls' department with me tagging along behind, and she'd stop every few minutes or so and touch a fabric. Scrunching her brow, she'd say, "I like this. Do you?" Common sense told me that even if I hated her selections, I should keep my opinions to myself. And so I did, painfully grimacing a time or two when she had her back turned to me.
From where I stood, watching her gleeful foray into the world of shopping for herself, I had a shocking peek into the junior department where several pencil-thin mannequins were arrayed in this season's prom offerings. Plunging necklines and slit skirts appeared to meet in the middle with entire dresses held on by mere threads, it seemed. My father wouldn't have let me out of the house attired in a single one of the four dresses which had been selected for display. Of this I am certain.
But back to the drama in the girls' department. As Sis fingered one blouse after another, I realized she's really an odd size right now. What fits her in the length is falling off her tiny little hips. That's not a problem I have EVER had, so I find it hard to identify with her frustration. However, I must admit I did hurt for her a few weeks back when she came home crying because a couple of rude little boys in her class made fun of her "plumber look" during story time when the back of her jeans had crept down a little low.
So last night as we perused one rack after another of really tacky "prostitot" clothing, I bit my lip and let her express her developing sense of style. "Look, Mom!" I heard her exclaim a few feet behind me. "This is BEAUTIFUL!" I tried very hard not to laugh. She was down ON the floor spreading out a turquoise blue gypsy skirt made of the most wrinkled gauze you've ever seen and a turquoise tank top with the word "Hottie" screenprinted across the front.
"Don't you just love this color, Mom?" she gushed, eagerly peering at me, waiting for the expected response. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words would come. I was still trying to digest the fact that my precious and very innocent six-year-old daughter was enamored with a t-shirt that was screaming "HOTTIE" at me. What in the world was I supposed to say if she asked what it meant?
Thankfully, she did not ask, and I was able to divert her attention to another outfit fairly quickly. But the whole adventure got me thinking about clothing and the responsibility we as Christian moms have to guide our daughters in their choice of apparel. It was all so simple when it was me choosing all her outfits for her. But now she's getting older and wants to make some decisions for herself, which is as it should be. The problem lies in SELECTION. How does a mother encourage her young ladies to dress modestly, yet still be somewhat stylish and cute, when the majority of stuff on the racks these days is anything but modest?
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus gives these instructions to His followers: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"
That being said, it's hard NOT to worry about clothes when summer is just around the corner and there's a whole lot of shopping to be done. Perhaps it's time to hone my sewing skills and be very grateful that it's not prom dresses we're shopping for.