I've always loved the Fall--the spectacular colors, the oh-so-welcome cooler air that arrives after a long, steamy Summer...the undeniable thrill of Back to School Shopping. I distinctly remember perusing frivolous fashion magazines as a teenager, excitedly imagining new outfits, checking out what was in style that year, planning the trek through the department store. (Um...not that it ever amounted to anything, really, as I pretty much dressed how I wanted, without any regard whatsoever for the latest trends. But I sure as heck had fun flipping those pages, I tell ya...) So I now find it a bit of a mixed blessing...and curse...that I have sons...with--what's the most infinitesimal number you can think of?--THAT amount of interest in any kind of new apparel.
In August, when I asked the obligatory question, "What do you need, to begin the school year?" they shrugged--actually lifted their shoulders with an incomprehensible amount of supreme indifference--and uttered something along the lines of, "Eh...nothing....or maybe socks and underwear. I'll check later." I swear, they are absolutely No. Fun. At. All. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when I picked Derek up from soccer practice the other day and he said in a warning tone of voice, "I just want to give you an early heads-up: the Captains decided that we're wearing full-dress-clothes for Friday's game...so we'd better plan accordingly."
Now, let me just say how much I appreciate his forward thinking...keeping us (me) from having to run around like crazy people at the last minute...because of course, the boy doesn't own even a stitch of what you'd call "formal wear" (or even, you know "slightly less casual than athletic shorts and tee-shirts...wear"). So we called a sort-of-emergency 3/4 Team WestEnders Meeting (Riley didn't really need to be involved in this matter...but he came along anyway, as an interested--or perhaps "nosy"--party) to take the first step: surveying the contents of Husband's closet. A quick try-on revealed that while Derek and his father are almost the same height, and similar in build...the older man's still got about 20 pounds on the not-quite-finished-growing-adolescent. Thus the Dockers, with the pleated front, appeared....well, the best way to describe it would be...ahem..."MC Hammer-like" on Derek. (So that quickly earned a big NO WAY from me...who would prefer not to send her child to school in balloon pants, looking like an escaped circus clown...or something.)
Moving on, the dress shirts are also a smidge baggy, but it's not as noticeable, and therefore will suffice. And ties...are ties...so he can just pick one off the rack of available options in Husband's collection and be done with it. Finally, the shoes presented a potential problem--mostly because Derek finds his dad's footwear to be 1) uncomfortable and 2) definitely not to his taste. So, with the preliminary evaluation completed, I took the boy off to Kohl's in search of one pair of nice trousers for sure, and a pair of non-sneakers if appropriate choices presented themselves. (Possibly limited by time constraints, with our only window to accomplish this errand being 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, after his practice and my dance class had concluded.)
I'd like to mention here that I offered to purchase him his OWN button-down shirt, and a tie that he actually got to pick out himself...but he flatly refused. In fact, he scoffed at me when I suggested these things, as if I were being unbelievably foolish. "Why would I want you to spend money on those? I don't care!" I admit that I was caught between exasperation at my...anti-sartorial....rebel...and amusement at how vehemently opposed he was to the whole "wardrobe investment" thing. But I let it go, because we had much bigger challenges awaiting us--specifically, how to find items to properly fit someone who has to shop in the Men's Section due to his vertical size...but for the life of him can't get pants to stay put around his non-existent hips. Seriously, within minutes it became clear that what he truly needs is about a 28 waist...coupled with a 32 length. This, my friends, I am sad to inform you, simply does not exist.
So we settled for the next best thing: 29/32...coupled with a spiffy new BELT. (He didn't balk at this, as he readily admitted it was an absolutely necessary item...you know, to avoid the very real danger of inadvertently displaying your undies for the entire student body....and whatnot...) Alas, the quest for shoes proved fruitless, and the hour was creeping too late for us to venture anywhere else, so that particular task will have to be postponed until another trip on a different day. But for now, at least he can coordinate an ensemble that will pass muster...and look pretty sharp...for school on Friday. Yeah, it definitely didn't compare to the early Fall mall-roaming experiences of my youth...but I'll take what I can get and call it a WIN!