Saturday, October 22, 2011

Color me ... grateful?

For the better part of 18 months, she cultivated the look. The princess pinks and other bright and cheery colors disappeared from her wardrobe, replaced ever so deliberately with black. Jewelry became skull and crossbones, music became screeching, heavy metal. And most days, her wardrobe was just depressing. At least for me.

And then Earbaby changed schools. For the first three weeks or so, she followed the pattern of all black, with a few khakis and plaids thrown in. But mostly she was big shirts, Black Veil Brides motif (she actually made a friend when she wore the band's shirt and was approached by another fan) and generally looked either goth, or emo, but without the scary makeup.

Then a few days ago EB turned to me and said, ''I don't like black anymore. I want to wear colors again. We need to go shopping.''

I am convinced by now that EB spends many waking hours conspiring how to separate me from my money. New interest or activity? Fine. Is it expensive? Then definitely. EB thinks she should now get rid of all her black clothes for a whole new wardrobe. She's got another think coming.

While I welcome this new phase (expense notwithstanding), I was intrigued by what inspired this sudden reversal. She had been saying for more than a year that she only wanted to wear black, refusing to wear anything I bought her that smacked of any bright colors. I stopped fighting her on it, because as I told her dad, the quicker she gets into this phase, the quicker she will get out of it. At least I hoped she would eventually get out of it. The desire for blue hair was assuaged with the fake streaks, easily and cheaply acquired from a beauty supply store. The combat boots she obsessed over? She still likes those as fashion accessories.

But now she has decided she likes neon green and bright pink (!) again, colors that used to elicit an ewww, whenever it was suggested.

Seventh grade has changed her.  EB will take advice from her new friends, her peers, without taking offense. A year ago any comment on her clothes would have been responded to with a pout, a sulk and minor rant, followed by a bout of mild depression. This year her friends' wardrobe questions and suggestions don't cause her angst. They make her reconsider. She told me that her friends started asking her why she was always wearing black. The same question from me mere months ago was the beginning of a battle.

EB  looks at what the other girls are wearing, eschews the booty shorts and revealing tank tops, but takes stock of cute shirts, skirts, tights, leggings, jeans and shoes. She has decided it was time for her own fashion makeover. Now she lays out her clothes and puts together outfits. We went shopping for dresses and skirts and she even doesn't mind wearing them to church (Hallelujah!) or when she goes out with friends. She matches up earrings and jewelry. She's gone kind of girlie. At first she was offended by my saying that, but in lighter moments she even admits it.

She still has her hip-hop gear when she goes to that dance class. Hoodies, sweatpants, loose-fitting shirts help her get into the mood of the genre. But she can make the switch to something nicely fitted, well suited and flattering to her nice slim figure and look more like a young lady.

I must say, I'm pleased that she's starting to discover who she's going to be. Sixth grade was one kind of transition. Seventh grade is another. She's now at a place with more challenges and more room to grow, personally as well as socially and academically. This is a time of real discovery for her. Dressing the part is just the beginning. Introducing colors back into her wardrobe is a symbol of her growth, change, acceptance of herself and of others. Peer pressure at some point in the future may be tough for me to compete with. But right now, color me grateful  her friends have brought some wardrobe balance into her world.

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