I should title this: How to Dress like a 12 year old, but it wouldn't fit into my theme. Also there is some debate about whether my dressing style is more 12 year old or 10 year old in nature. I am good with either one, but I would like to think by 12 you'd at least know not to mix burnt orange and country blue. Not that anyone should ever wear country blue. For any reason.
In one of my first rants, I discussed things that 30 something mom's shouldn't wear at the risk of appearing like a prosti-tot with wrinkles and cellulite. What I failed to mention is that I think there are certain juvenilish articles of clothing that are perfectly acceptable and help facilitate the aura of a forever young and geeky wannabe. Which I am totally ok with. Allow me to illuminate:
1. Graphic Tees:
Since the plague called WalMart came along and flooded the market with crappily made novelty tees, ripping off perfectly cool companies who were making shirts that didn't end up with barber pole twisted seams after one wash and knew when to stop pushing a certain theme, you have to be careful with your graphic tee selection. Like you can only do SO MUCH My Little Pony throwback styles, and then the only direction you have to go is like My Little Zombie Pony or you're forced to generate Peptol Bismol pink rainbow shirts that should only ever be seen on a toddler. My personal rule of thumb is that if you can get it at WalMart, it's no longer cool. I am on the fence about Target because they have some really Rad Captain America Tees that do not play wring around the body after a washing. My first shopping choice for awesome graphic tees is Fuego, which we fortunately do not have here in Bend (but I just located it ONLINE!!!) . It is always one of my first stops in Olympia. I do like Busted Tees dot com but can't let my mother go there or she might disown me. I currently have a grand collection of graphic tees that I love - one is a GI JOE throwback in army green, and fits like a champ (which I hate to admit since my sister got two of them for both of us and gave me the bigger one, even when she was pregnant), and a red CCCP (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic) shirt that reminds me of high school. I also have a pile of band tees and beer tees that technically count but probably push me over the age bracket into at least middle school. But that's ok. My favorite are the springy-stretchy heather gray ones that feel like vintage 70s shirts. I also have a Captain America shirt that is awesome (not from Target), and one that has an environmental "Respect Your Mother" message and picture of the earth, but obviously has a double meaning for my children. Most likely they weren't expecting ACTUAL moms to wear this shirt, but it sure the heck works. The important thing, when selecting a graphic tee, is to double check WalMart, and to make sure that you have baldies to match, which brings me to my next item:
2. Chuck Taylors:
Anyone who has ever been young, or cool, or definitely both, knows that you can never go wrong with Chuck Taylors (or baldies, to those of us who grew up in the Colville Clique). Unfortunately since my Darling Husband was homeschooled by parents on the wrong side of the fence, he never learned this timeless lesson, and I have been slowly drawing him in to the age-diminishing freedom of wearing baldies. We started him off with some all brown suede leather ones that are from some fancy designer that we found at Buffalo Exchange, and he has worn them at least once. We're still working on it. I, on the other hand, have kelly green, and the origininal Mighty Ducks Purple - which carries a back story of it's own that involves a midnight madness shopping spree at JC Penny in Colville, a new Mighty Ducks Graphic Tee and my first very own self-purchased firm pillow, circa 1992. I also have red velvet and white Christmas striped high tops, deer camo low tops (thank you Urban Outfitters), and about 5 other colors I have shared with Mackenzie, not including the Dr. Suess ones that I got just for her. In our house all together we have at least 20-25 pairs of baldies, ranging in size and color. The reasons for this are A) they are timeless and always in style B) they are suitable for EVERY occasion C) they are adorable D) if they don't fit somebody and/or nobody likes them, I have never ever failed to sell a pair of baldies on eBay no matter how beat up, dirty, destroyed or ugly they are. Case in point: I bought a pair of red white a blue high tops at Goodwill for $9.99 which Josh was giving me total crap about, until they sold on eBay to some wannabe American in Thailand for $90. Liv wins. My short list of colors I want include: Broncos Orange, Classic Navy Blue and Bright Red. My first pair ever was a pair of Forest Green low tops which I customized with an ink pen and the names of various crushes, and then bequeathed to my little sister. I hope she still has them.
Josh is forever bemoaning the fact that my wardrobe is almost exclusively jeans and hoodies, with a few pairs of sweatpants thrown in. I would like to state that I wouldn't trade my closet for a walk in full of Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to save my life. At this point I am using the perpetual pain I am in to justify my need for "comfort clothes" but after I have my hysterectomy I will have to come up with a new excuse. I love jeans. I just do. And as the styles come and go and I try to squish my weird body into flares and skinnies and capris and jeggings, I have settled on one pair (well, ok, like 7 pairs of the same) of jeans in various sizes to accommodate my fat and less fat days. I wear Livs. At some point, maybe I will grow up into Not My Daughters Jeans, but right now, all my daughters would kill for my Livs, which makes me feel Really Cool. They are a mostly straight legged boot cut that are ultra casual, ultra comfortable and mildly less unflattering than your average pair of flares. On my especially ten year old (or pain filled) days, I wear my baggiest ones that feel like sweat pants. My friends (and husband) hate them. I <3 them.
It is absolutely imperative for any person desiring to dress like a 6th grader to find socks that will really announce their immaturity to the world. Especially in a retail setting where I have to dress my age, I find it crucial to at least throw in some weird socks to remind me that I am really a total goofball. "OOOH is that a Calvin Klein Blouse?" "Why yes, and my socks are totally Sponge Bob!" Ok, so not Sponge Bob, but I do make a concerted effort to find stripes and patterns of over-the-boot socks that cause customers to really contemplate whether they actually match what I am wearing. "Well, there is some yellow in her sweater???" I am sure this habit of mine gives my Very Professional Boss no end of exasperation, but since she vetoed my drawstring linen pants and jacquard slippers from the sales floor, I have to have my little glimpse of self expression. I find that goofy socks are also extremely helpful when choosing baldies, in case there is an issue of color determination to coordinate with the graphic tee. In my Very Professional Boss's defense, she does have a collection of crazy socks for her days off. Or her days they don't show. It's quite rebellious.
And this is it, folks, the Pieće de Rèsistance of dressing like a 12 year old. The Big Dish. The Necessary Piece of any junior high wardrobe. I have 27. Hoodies. Most of them are full zip but I have a special place in my heart for pull overs, like the one Victoria's Secret Pink one that is Blue with embroidered hearts all over the yoke and looks just like something from when I was 4. My sister has one too, but this time SHE got the bigger size. Mostly because I bought them when I was really skinny a long time ago. I have at least a half dozen Broncos hoodies in various color combinations, and the rest are primarily souveneirs from Breweries - my favorite of which is a Red Hook Red hoody that fits just right. Hoodies are very important pieces of your wardrobe in how they really reflect your personality and tie back to your baldies. Sometimes if your baldies aren't quite right it's ok to match them to your socks, but never, ever abandon the hoody in exchange for a partial zip mock neck or some other mature-dressing travesty.
So from here I could go into Flannels, ala 1990, or sloppy buns, baseball caps and other hair non-fixes, and wife beater tank tops that are now made in much better fabrics, but I am kind of out of time and my favorite jeans are calling to me... If you have any questions about how to dress like a 12 (or 10) year old, I am always open, Just Call Me Maybe, and feel free to leave pointers and tips or upload pictures for comments and suggestions. This IS my specialty. And hey, truthfully, it's better than dressing like I am 35, right?