Posted Carrie Hanson on 12/7/2015 |General
My daughter has always been somewhat of a style maven with a quirky sense of shock-and-awe fashion. When she was younger, I highly encouraged it – for comedic value if nothing else. I thought it was adorable when she mixed animal prints and plaids or wore princess costumes with motorcycle jackets over them to preschool. There was nothing cuter than the tutu and rainboots combo.
So why was it that on this brisk December morning when she came galloping down the stairs wearing white cropped pants, it caused me to cringe and ask, “Are you sure you want to wear white pants in December?”
(Insert sound of record scratch here.)
“Why wouldn’t I?” she asked.
“Well, because they say you are not supposed to wear white after Labor Day,” I replied, immediately realizing I couldn’t pull the words back in my mouth like reeling in a fishing line.
But Kiki is quick and asked, “Who is they?”
I was stumped. And embarrassed.
“Good question. You picked those pants to wear today because you like them, so as long as you are not cold, you should go ahead and wear them. I don’t really even know who they is.”
Kiki’s always been a confident kid, seemingly immune to teasing or peer pressure, so why was I concerned about her following a dictum that I upon researching found out was established in the early 1900s by arrogant, high-society women who were trying to delineate those with old money from the vulgar nouveau riche.
She ran upstairs to do one last mirror check while my brain spun around my own insecurities. I flashed back to Scarlett Jr. High where I once wore a (gasp) unbranded polo shirt with my sweater strategically tied around my shoulders all day consciously covering where the alligator logo should’ve been.
“Hashtag wear white in winter” Kiki said.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“It’s going to be trending by the end of the day” she avowed.
Then she explained to me that there’s no reason to dress for anyone but yourself. People like you because you are confident and unique and a good friend to them. Plus, when people see her wearing white, they might want to step out and do something brave themselves. Or it might just start a new fashion trend. Either way, this tiny act of social impudence was a good thing.
For the rest of the day, I thought about all of the things we do that are the equivalent of not wearing our white pants when we want to. How many times have junior associates refrained from voicing their thoughts in the boardroom, afraid higher-ups would scoff or shoot down their ideas? How many times we have not registered for a race afraid of being too slow? How many times have we not had the confidence to outwardly express our individualism that makes us who we are?