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My love of fashion is no secret, but I love children even more. I like their honesty, their sticky fingers, their runny noses, their mismatched outfits, even their various scents – sometimes salty, sometimes sweet; and above all, I love their limitless imaginations.
And let’s not forget their resolve. My young nephew has a favorite color: yellow. Coincidentally, it was my favorite color at his age. A few years ago he decided his favorite lemon yellow t-shirt was his “lucky shirt.” Hence, he insisted on wearing this same shirt every day to school for a period of time.
No other yellow shirt would do. My sister’s attempts to redirect or dissuade his style steadfastness were met with tears and sobs. He couldn’t have a “lucky” day if he wasn’t wearing his “lucky” shirt.
My mother worried that the teachers and students would misconstrue his fashion fortitude for my sister’s lack of concern regarding an unswerving style choice - an overly consistent wardrobe.
In the end, my sister and brother-in-law decided no one was being harmed in the making of this style decision.
The other kids at school hardly noticed; the school personnel were troubled not. And finally, he fell out of love with that thinning, more-beige-than-yellow t-shirt.
I think of Sammy when I think of children getting dressed in the morning and choosing to express themselves through a favorite color, a lucky hue, or even functionality.
While out and about town, I recently ran into a sylish young girl clad in a breezy summer dress from SugarCup Trading in Oak Park. She had an oversized flower atop her head and every child’s favorite food accessory: a lollipop.
She professed her desire to become a fashion designer and didn’t hesitate when I asked her favorite color. “Pink,” she said with the same intensity that Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s Creative Director, possesses when answering questions about the latest inspiration for his newest line.
And while she may change her mind several times over concerning a career path before she reaches the ripe age of eighteen when she declares a formal major (or at least a general direction in her collegiate years), this she knows for sure: she loves to draw original fashion designs, specifically reimagining a new wardrobe for her babysitter (young minds fancy fun frocks when they deem insipid ensembles objectionable), and she loves pants and high heels. Wait. High heels?
“High heels?” I ask. “Yes,” she informs me, “They’re pretty. And I like pants because I can better play in them.” Makes perfect sense.
I spotted another young fashionista perusing a style magazine at Sanem’s in Oak Park. She was transfixed by the pages of color bursting forth via the model’s faces and fashion-forward apparel (see photo gallery).
When I asked her favorite color, the answer came quickly, “Pink.” And what’s her favorite piece to wear? “High heels.”
I detect a pattern. Does she own a pair, I wonder aloud? “Oh yes, in pink and purple, with princesses on them.” And for fashion inspiration, this youngster sang praises for her mother’s fashion sense, “She always looks pretty!”
And finally, I share a favorite photo from my recent trip to New York (see photo gallery). While mom sketches an art piece housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a patient, pint-sized patron takes a moment to read. His pose conjures images of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, and it leads me to wonder: Did he put much thought into that red t-shirt?
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