Monday, October 18, 2010

What my toddler taught me about fashion

I have a 23-month-old daughter - my mom likes to call her the Divine Miss M (Bette Midler ain't got nothin' on my baby!) - who likes to be dressed up, likes to be pretty, & loooooves to be fancy. Some days she'll wear a boa to the commissary. Others, she'll wear her tiara to the coffee shop. But no matter what accessories she wears, she's certain to pick her shoes first. She just doesn't feel complete without shoes. And I love that about her. She'll slide them on, shuffle her little toes tap-dance style, & then say, "Pretty shoes." Shoes make Miss M feel polished.

And that makes me think, what makes me feel polished? What can I not leave the house without? Or, since I'm a mom & can leave the house without pretty much anything, my dignity included, when the situation demands it, I guess the better question for me & my fellow mothers is, "What makes me feel complete & wholly confident when I wear it?"

That's a hard question for me to answer. I might say a manicure, because I do obsessively gawk at my hands when they're all spiffed up, but I am a cyclical nail biter, so periods of manicuring never last longer than two months for me. Perhaps makeup, but that's cliche, & it's also patently untrue for me - I am happiest when I'm fresh-faced (provided my skin hasn't had a puberty relapse). Maybe wearing really great jewelry? Except that I know for a fact that I can feel poised, even at the gym, when I am blingless.

I guess, for me, I feel most polished when my unruly hair has been straightened - something I rarely have time to do, because taming the beast that is my hair is a thirty to forty-five minute ordeal at a minimum. A blowdryer & ponytail can be accomplished in fifteen minutes, tops. As a result, the practically of a ponytail wins out around here very frequently. But on the days when I do straighten my hair, brush each lock out until it's silky & shiny, until it cascades smoothly over my shoulders, I feel most confident & put together. Most ready to take on the world as a take-no-nonsense, multitasking mother. Most polished.

What Miss M's shoes are to her, my sleekly straightened hair is to me. Knowing that about myself is powerful, because it helps me know which events are worth the time to give myself that extra boost, that finishing touch. It's good to have that feeling that makes me want to shuffle like my toddler & beam, "Pretty hair." And that's what fashion is really about at A.C. Valor. It's not about getting the hottest trend off a runway in Milan or wearing a big name label on your arm. We make our clothes & accessories with the thought, "What detail can we add that will make someone smile into the mirror? How can we help them capture their signature style to present themselves to the world?"

So what makes you feel polished? What's that one finishing touch that gives you your personal femme fatale? (Or, men, your, er, man fatale?) Tell me what really makes your day, what you consider your fashion "thing". And I'll get back to you later, because I think I need to go straighten my hair now.

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