Jake in Napa Valley, July 2013.
I took my 20 year old son shopping today to buy him some new clothes for Christmas. I know what you’re probably thinking if you’ve ever shopped with a man….you go in, you quickly grab three shirts without trying any of them on, pay and leave. And if you’re really feeling energetic, you pick up a 6 pack of socks too. The whole thing is over in 20 minutes. Now, I didn’t really think I was in for that quick of a trip today; however, I was surprised by what happened. We walked in the mall and I asked him “So, what store do you want to go to first?” His answer, “I don’t know”.
Let me give you a little of the back story. He’s a sophomore in college and has been living at home for the past year and a half; however, he’s moving away in January for school. He has a great group of friends who have been teasing him a lot lately about not having any style! He does tend to wear a lot of athletic shorts and t-shirts. And some of the shorts have holes in them. But moving out and going to a large university has him thinking about himself and who he is. He’s decided he wants a new wardrobe for school. What he hasn’t figured out yet and has been asking himself is “what’s my style”?
Shopping with him today reminded me of what it’s like to be young and unsure. I remember facing the same dilemma, trying to figure out who I was, who I related to, which group of kids I fit in with best. And what I wore connected me with certain groups of people. I remember trying out the new “preppie” look for a while, until I realized it wasn’t me. I also remember being in college when the all black, military look became popular. I sat next to a girl in my psychology class who wore black pants, a long sleeve black shirt, a black coat, and army boots every day to class. She wasn’t in the army. I asked. But she wore that outfit every day, walking up and down hills on campus, in 95° Texas heat. I often saw her walking with a few other students dressed just like her. They had to be miserably hot, but they were committed to their look!
(Note: If you happen to be a fashion designer, please forgive the first part of my next sentence.) What style we choose and what clothes we wear may seem unimportant, insignificant, or shallow, but they really aren’t. They are our calling card when we first meet someone, and what people learn about us before we ever say a word. And they are what can make us feel good about ourselves, even giving us boost, a little bounce in our step, because we feel more confident.
Today, my son and I talked about the significance of first impressions and about how hard it can be to figure out our style. He admitted to me that he’s experimenting, and doesn’t have it all figured out. I was impressed that he was so honest about it….the kid who used to think he knew it all…. is now growing up and realizes he doesn’t.
The good news ~ we shopped around and finally wound up in a store where he found several things he liked. We then went and bought cologne and a new pair of shoes in a couple of other stores. And when we left today, he was smiling, feeling pretty good about his new loot! I think he’s excited to try out his new style.
He said he thought his friends would be impressed.
I know I was.
Written by: Connie Morgenroth
December 13, 2013