My niece became a teen this year. Last night she asked me to take her shopping as she needed a green t-shirt for her school’s forthcoming cross country event. As bright green is not fashionable this year we eventually found the t-shirt at a sports shop. Her ‘special interest’ is football, so I was subjected to a commentary on all of the photos of footballers in the shop, which teams they played for and whether or not she thought them to be any good. European teams in the Barclays Premier League interest her the most. Her knowledge is better than her playing. Having joined the local girl’s football team, she quickly lost interest as she wanted to be fast-tracked to the team chosen to play nationally. Unfortunately, in her mind if she is not good at something immediately she loses interest. However, she can rattle off details about Neymar’s football history.
While looking for the t-shirt my niece expressed an interest in some of the clothes in the fashion shops. As her clothes are bought online, one or two shops are familiar to her. It was beautiful to watch her realise the shops had some similar items e.g. leather jackets with colourful patchwork, camouflage jackets and shirts, etc. I introduced her to a shop she had never visited before and she loved the clothes. In fact they were really great for her age group. Wanting to exploit the beautiful moment of her discovering fashion by herself, while pointing out that she needed to enjoy her shape I decided to let her choose a few items. It was endearing to watch her look for the clothes she liked which were hanging on the rails, as she had no idea that she needed to look behind those displayed to find what she needed. It was like watching a beautiful flower open slowly as she tried clothes on, choosing what suited her and what felt good.
I dropped her off at home feeling really privileged to have been part of her journey helping to explore a new developing interest in fashion and what suits her body shape. It is such a shame that her mother’s ill-health meant she was unable to be a part of that experience.