Friday, November 16, 2007

Woodyettes and Fashion

The Woodyettes, although the name is vaguely redolent of a 50's pop group, have never so much as seen a fashion show. Trend-wise, in fact, the Woodyettes are probably styling mostly 90's era clothing at the moment because of the hand-me-down network to which we currently belong. This won't last forever, due primarily to the fact that the other major player in this network has a teenage daughter who for awhile styled, oh, modesty challenged clothes. She's a sweet girl, and that phase has passed, but we prefer that our daughters keep more of their mid-sections covered up. It's a lifestyle thing.

Anyway, we have other contributors to this network. A couple of families in our ward also like to drop clothes on our doorstep, probably as a way of thinning their closets without having to drive all the way to the Goodwill or Deseret Industries bins. These clothes are probably only a couple of years old, so that the Woodyettes have a style that is mostly current with just a hint of retro. At 10 and just about 8, though, they're still young enough to wear pretty much anything and still be cute as can be.

[Note: Woody is not bad-mouthing the hand-me-down network. Woody has saved a small fortune on clothing over the years. Woody's only complaint is that we need a smallish warehouse to store all of this wonderful clothing, which warehouse currently resides in our bedroom. We are not a storage-intensive facility. I occasionally have to shift large bags of clothing around in order to give Mrs. Woody a goodnight kiss.]

Because the girls are still fairly young, they are heavy into "dress up." I never really grew up with the "dress up" mentality. As a kid, Woody was lucky to find the same pair of pants two days in a row. Woody's bedroom was used as a training facility by agents of the County Health Board, to the eternal chargin of Woody's long-suffering and thrice-sainted mother. "Dressing up" as a kid meant tying a towel around my neck if I wanted to be Superman. No, the "dress up" thing comes from Mrs. Woody's side of the family. Mrs. Woody's sister has always had boxes full of "dress up" clothes for her kids. They are encouraged to dress up as any character they like, with the usually hilarious result that one of her sons might parade around the house in anything from a super hero costume to a wedding dress. As her oldest son has reached teenage-hood, Woody begins to miss this particular wardrobe compared to what he wears today. But then, Woody himself has pretty much always dressed like a member of the Junior Republicans Club anyway. When he could find his pants, that is.

All this by way of saying that Mrs. Woody has always encouraged the dress up thing. We have a box in one girl's room designated as the "dress up box." It sits in the closet and holds miscellaneous bits of costume and odd clothing that we would never let the girls wear in public, but which they love to wear as they pretend to be pioneer girls, or Madeleine, or (heaven help me!) Eloise. When they were smaller the list included such luminaries as Maggie (of Ferocious Beast fame), or any of the Disney princesses.

Last night, Doodle announced that she was planning to tie ribbons around her socks like garters. Even for Woody, this one came as a surprise. "You're not supposed to even know what that word is," was my initial response. However, it turns out that pilgrim women used garters to keep their stockings up, and the girls had learned about this practice in (surprise!) homeschool. Since this is Thanksgiving season, she's getting into the mood through her dress-up box. Thus, bits of her pioneer costume from last year are now serving as a pilgrim outfit this year. The problem, of course, is that Doodle doesn't have any old linen stockings that are any taller than her ankles. So today she's been pulling her standard socks up as high on her leg as they'll go (which is about three inches above the ankle) for maximum effect. No sign of ribbons yet, except for a couple that mysteriously have appeared on the couch as if lying in wait. These are hair ribbons, which are some of the girls' favorite accessories in DressUpLand. They get used not only in hair, but serve as belts, restraining devices, and so on.

The funny part is that both girls are pretty enough that they can make almost any outfit look terrific. Only occasionally do they try to put together a real outfit (i.e., not a dress-up outfit) that makes Mrs. Woody cringe. Mrs. Woody has to do the cringing because Woody is clueless on the fashion front. If the girls want to wear a blue top and green pants, hey, Woody is all for it. So Mrs. Woody doesn't really trust Daddy to advise the girls on fashion. This is probably a good thing because one of Woody's goals is to get the girls grown up and married. Fashion helps that process along as Woody understands things. Mrs. Woody will be their fashion advisor for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of dress-up, ol' Woody had better get himself dressed. It's my Friday off today, and I'm pretty sure Mrs. Woody doesn't want me to wear these sweat pants while we're running errands today. They sure are comfortable, though.

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