daughter of Smartmom’s rich cousin in Baltimore is getting married
in June — a black-tie wedding — and Smartmom’s clan is
in tizzy about what to wear.
For Hepcat and Teen Spirit, a quick trip to a tuxedo rental will do the
trick. That is, if Teen Spirit can be convinced to abandon his worn-in
leather jacket and holey jeans for a few hours. He’s just like his
dad, who considers a black T-shirt from Target and black Old Navy jeans
to be dressy. Wonder how their Merrill slip-on mocs will look with the
Needless to say, being 9-going-on-20, the Oh So Feisty One loves a party
dress. Last week, she, Smartmom and Diaper Diva subwayed to Macy’s
to find the perfect dress for the occasion.
That subway ride to Midtown might as well have been a train trip back
in time for Smartmom, who dreaded sharing this particular rite of passage
with her daughter. When Smartmom was a child, buying clothing with her
mother was pretty traumatic. Her mother always had strong ideas about
what she could and could not wear. And every trip to the dressing room
became a referendum on what Smartmom didn’t like about the way she
Ah, the prickly issue of self image. Smartmom envies OSFO her fashion
sense and the fun she has dressing. Since she was a toddler, OSFO has
always been opinionated about clothing. And Smartmom always let her decide
what she wants to wear (no “Mommy Dearest”-syndrome, here).
Consequently, the OSFO is much more comfortable with her own sense of
style and the way that she looks.
The three determined shoppers averted the make-up department, where swarms
of women converged on them like bees with small bottles of perfume, en
route to the eighth floor.
Once there, it was clear that OSFO had an extremely clear vision of what
she wanted. She scanned all the girls’ party dresses in an instant.
“These are too princessy,” she said waving dismissively at one
display area after another.
And she was right. Too frilly, too frothy, too frou-frou, most of the
dresses were more suited for an Easter service than a sophisticated Baltimore
wedding. As far as OSFO was concerned, they were way, way off base.
Then Smartmom spotted the tween prom dress department. “How about
this?” Smartmom asked, holding a yellow-and-green patterned dress.
“Too fruity,” she said. And this one? “Not right for a
wedding.” OSFO replied with an assurance way past her years.
“What about these?” Smartmom was holding up two or three perfectly
acceptable choices. “I like them. But not for this wedding.”
This wedding? Smartmom wondered.
Then OSFO made a bee-line for a dress — a cross between a ballet
tutu and something a tad more burlesque. Tight black elasticized top,
light pink, tulle skirt with an uneven hem. Diaper Diva looked a little
Smartmom knew it would be either really great or completely tacky.
OSFO and Smartmom crowded into the small dressing room with a thicket
of hangered dresses. Diaper Diva was dispatched to the shoe department
to search for appropriate footware. The sexy tutu was the first thing
OSFO wanted to try. Tight on the top, frilly on the bottom, it actually
looked pretty terrific. Smartmom pinned up OSFO’s hair and she was
a vision to behold.
“I think this might be it,” Smartmom thought to herself. But
OSFO looked at herself quizzically.
“What does ‘slutty’ mean?” she asked staring at herself
in the three-way mirror. Ah. Ah. Ah. Smartmom stalled not sure what to
“Why do you ask?” she stammered.
“Because I heard [Diaper Diva] whisper that the dress might be slutty,”
“Oh. She meant … sexy,” Smartmom said nervously, OSFO continued
to stare at herself in the mirror and then pulled the dress over her head
and reached for another hanger. And so it went, dress after dress.
“Nope,” she said pulling off a pink dress that looked utterly
stunning. Finally, a white chiffon dress with faded flowers met her approval.
“I’ll need the right shoes,” she said.
But still she persevered. A half-hour later, the room was awash in inside-out
dresses as a half-naked girl surveyed the mess.
“I like these two,” she said, picking two out of the pile. “One
for the wedding. One for the dinner party the night before.” Where
she got the idea that there might be a dinner party the night before is
anyone’s guess. She’s probably right.
Truth is, she selected the two most perfect dresses — and the sexy
tutu wasn’t even in the running.
No big fights, no fits, no yelling matches. Once the dresses were selected,
OSFO tried on every pink shoe in the shoe department and settled on a
pair of jeweled slides. As they waited to pay for their booty, Smartmom
and Diaper Diva reached their department store saturation point and were
in dire need of double mocha latte frappucchino macciatos and a similarly
sized Advil. Still, Smartmom was proud of her girl. That OSFO, she thought.
She sure knows what she wants and she’s damn good at finding it.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010