last week my sister, amy, and i traipsed my niece, allyson, through a shopping tour of manhattan. as i’ve mentioned before, now that allyson is thirteen, her interests have radically changed. not surprisingly, therefore, my suggested activities based on yesteryear produced only scoffing and eye rolling. planets and dinosaurs at the museum of natural history? BORING! ‘miles and miles of books’ at strand bookstore? NO THANKS!
so up and down snooty fifth avenue and through the flatiron district we did traverse, the imposing facades of prada, fendi and louis vuitton sneering at us along with the uber cool and unaffected sales people, giving even gung-ho-allyson pause and reminding us, she’s still our little girl, ‘mommy, you go in first!’
this inspired a rule that excused us from many stores: if you want to go in, you have to open the door yourself. once inside, i marveled at what these labels can get away with selling as such ridiculous, out of nowhere prices. a whole line of shoes looking identical to the trashy end of a bridesmaid heel line wore $1000 price tags thanks to the red sole branding them laboutiens. many items amy and i had to restrain our facial reactions to, knowing for a fact allyson would wrinkle her nose at if they were purchased from the goodwill (as it would appear). instead, these drew excited gasps which were only last year reserved for the latest nancy drew mystery novel. where does she learn about this stuff? why does she care?
the answer: project runway, miley cyrus and the likes of other ‘tween idols.
it’s an incredible thing to watch a younger generation evolve. especially when you sometimes still remember of them as toddlers like it was yesterday! having not chosen the path of motherhood, this is something that’s only recently snuck up on me completely unexpectedly.
suddenly you go from the cool auntie who can do no wrong to just another adult. actually, most of the time i was a little too cutting edge for her, prompting her to beg as soon as she could speak, “take that nose ring OUT!”
enter uncool auntie: at juicy couture, where i felt surprisingly much more at ease, allyson said something teasingly to the effect of, “i’m the only one of us dressed stylishly.”
a quick survey of my outfit yielded nothing embarrassing in my perennial standards, the kitty classics, if you will. i sported grandma’s costume jewelry and vintage blouse offset with designer jeans (a gift!) knee high boots and a cropped black leather jacket (another gift!) akin to those recently showcased in ‘us weekly’ (i know, i should be proud) by Katie holmes and even the young gossip girl crowd. the whole ensomble struck me as rather pulled together. and did i mention my super cute new STYLISH haircut?
such comments from a thirteen year old are to be expected (though a new milestone for me) and easy to shrug off. i remember saying similar things to my own mother. except i’m pretty sure her year-round uniform of biker shorts and oversized animal t-shirts (love ya mama!) were worthy of such commentary.
yet, i noted with amusement, that my ego was still stinging the next day. perhaps i am unrealistically tricked into picturing myself as vaguely and eternally hip and youthful due to the fast paced city environment i live in, combined with my tradition of careful consideration my own unique and funky style.
weird, i’ve been called. ad naseum.
as i performed one last hotel room check after amy and allyson departed for the airport, i discovered allyson had forgotten her new black trench from forever 21 in the closet. on a whim, i put it on, imagining a cloak of style would envelop me and inspire me to go shopping to update my image. but eh, no change really. still looked like me, like auntie kitty. that’s when the realization came.
i hadn’t necessarily become UNSTYLISH, rather, i’d simply become OLD.