Although I've never been a girly girl, I've always liked dressing up in pretty clothes. I know I've mentioned here before that I've had some serious opinions about what I wanted to wear since I was about two. And my mother, bless her, may have disagreed with my preferences, but she has always done what she can to help me realise my fashion dreams. I think it comes from being a chubby child, something my mom and I have in common but my grandmother did not understand. Grandma didn't encourage my mom to express herself...just encouraged her to lose weight. So my mom made sure that, regardless of how misguided my fashion sense was, I was able to feel pretty and stylish on my own terms.
My mom scoped out all the best stores to find places that carried cute things in my size. This was before the rest of America caught up with me, and so there wasn't a vast array of choice for a chubby/stocky kid. (Please don't tell the AMA that the obesity epidemic is my fault...can I help it if the world wants to be like me?) If we couldn't find what we wanted in a store, then my mom made it for me, or she'd hire a local seamstress to do so...but she was determined to let me be fashionable.
There were three shopping occasions...school, Easter/spring, and Christmas. I'd start planning my new wardrobe well in advance of the actual shopping season. A girl with my style and grace required forethought to look that good. I'd spend hours poring over magazines and catalogs to decide what I wanted. For Christmas in particular, I was a fan of sumptuous elegance. I liked my rich fabrics....velvets and such...and was not adverse to a little lace if that was required for the look. When I was four, it was a green tweed mini-skirt jumper with lace tights, and a white little turtleneck, with shiny patent mary janes to complete the look (for a more casual use of the jumper I had tall boots, and I had little fake fur poodle coat for getting me from house to venue). When I was 10, it was a spectacular dark green faux velvet floor length pinafore thing with a ruffly poet's blouse underneath. The Reitan girls made fun of me at church because I was so dressed up, but they looked like ragamuffins, so I took no heed. At twelve, I had burgundy corduroy gaucho pants with a burgundy velvet vest, trimmed with some lovely gold braid and frog closures. (Tall boots were required for this one, and I believe I used one of my many ponchos to dramatic effect, as well.)
Most girls are plagued with doubts about their fabulousness...they don't think they're pretty, they think they're too fat...and I certainly had my fair share of this. But in my Christmas finery, I felt positively gorgeous. I would strut like a catwalk model, confident that every eye in the room was tuned to me, wondering how one girl could be so marvelous.