Free Dress: Norma Kamali, Ton Sur Ton and Skinny Jeans

My kids go to a school where they wear uniforms. I love the uniform. I would list all the reasons, but we’d run out of space.

Every so often the kids get free dress. Free dress days are when the kids are able to wear whatever they like. Free dress accomplishes many things, it delights the children and, all too often, it reminds us parents why we chose a school where children wear uniforms. This morning the schoolyard was a mass of fluorescent knee socks, skinny jeans and sports jerseys.

Although it’s a 95 degree day here in Los Angeles, my sweet Jane is wearing her dark wash skinny jeans with a new black and royal blue flannel shirt. My husband was horrified, “she’ll be hot. What is she crazy?” He may have spoken more but I was lost in my own reverie. Somewhere around 6th or 7th grade Norma Kamali had a fall line that included drop waist long skirts, tailored flannel shirts in red, royal blue or white plaid. I had the blue and white shirts. I wore them with a pair of stirrup pants, extra shoulder pads (because the ones they came with were big, but not big enough) and a white double wrap Ralph Lauren belt that I’d bought in Sun Valley on a fly fishing trip. I believe I wore ballerina flats. I loved that outfit, and though I lived in sunny Southern California I sometimes covered up with a Ton Sur Ton puffy jacket, just because I loved wearing it so. It was impractical at best, I loved it as Jane loves her skinny jeans and flannel. I understand.

When I was in Chicago, in a moment of intense longing, I skipped out of BlogHer and ran to the Tribune building to get Alexander a Cubs Jersey. I stood staring at little boy jerseys and player names and as I was about to buy one, the man next to me whispered, “nuh uh, steroids.” Quietly I thanked him and returned the jersey to the rack. I called my husband at home, “Hey I’m buying Alexander a jersey, who is the nicest guy you know on the Cubs?” He ran down a list of several names and ended with “… and Derrek Lee is a super guy with a daughter who is the same age as Alexander. His daughter wears glasses too and he does a lot of charity work…” Good enough, I tuned out, and bought the Lee jersey. Alexander wore it today for his first free dress. It’s a heavy weight shirt, but he knows Derrek Lee is a good guy, and he knows that I bought it for him when I was missing my boy.

It all matters. Every subtlety, every nuance, every piece of clothing we pick and purchase, there’s something wrapped into all of it.

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Comments 9

  1. Love it! I remember back in high school I was the rocker chick that wore Ralph Lauren and got away with it. I would wear my dad’s Levi’s denim jacket that was 30 years old even on a hot day because I felt special in it. I love clothes. They have memories.

  2. So glad it was overcast (forecast was for 85) my first day of ninth grade. I wore a white, long-sleeved, v-neck sweater with a shawl-ish collar. At fourteen, it was far more important to look good than to be comfortable.

  3. omg love this post so much and can totally remember the pieces you write about. i had all that stuff too. and i loved ton sur ton.

  4. Fashion is king! I just took my 12 year old girl shopping and she ask me what I liked? Out of a whole store there was only one cool purple top. I loved it and she did too. Kids need to express. Adults need to pay the bills and just go with the flow and try to be cool.

  5. There is no such thing as fashion blunder for kids. They will wear what they fancy, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Fashion is just one avenue for children to express themselves. Some of us may not admit it, but we all went through this stage at some point in our lives :)

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