If you have a teenage daughter, you know that there is no better source of cold, hard truth—especially about your appearance and fashion sense.
I rely heavily on my 19-year-old daughter for honest answers to critical questions like, “Hey, is it okay to wear socks with these?” I text pictures to her while shopping so she can assist with wardrobe choices. She screens my outfits before I leave for dates.
This may be her most significant contribution to our household—she keeps me from looking like a dork, or at least from looking like an old dork.
I became aware of Maddy’s gift for hard-hitting fashion feedback when she was very young. Consider this magnificent exchange from when she was just four years old.
I had just bought a new outfit, and it was a bit of a style departure for me. Fifteen years ago, I was every bit as bottom-heavy as I am now. Big butts weren’t as acceptable then as they are now. (They ARE acceptable now. I believe in my heart that they are.) So, I tended to hide my “curvy” lower half under big, tunic-style tops.
This time however, in a moment of body-bravado, I’d purchased a fitted black sweater and a printed wrap-around skirt. It was a long, narrow skirt with a tribal pattern on it. Between the fitted sweater and narrow skirt, my shape wasn’t hidden at all.
“Wanna see my new outfit?” I asked four-year-old Maddy, and she, already clothing-conscious and opinionated, gamely agreed.
I put on the outfit and stood in front of the mirror, where I could see her little face looking at me from behind.
Head tilted, she considered my ensemble with a definite frown. It was so clear that she didn’t approve, I just had to do it: I had to ask that age-old question. And she gave the best answer that I’ve ever heard.
“What’s the matter, honey?” I asked. “Do you think this skirt makes my butt look big?”
“No,” she said seriously, my joke lost on her. “I think your butt makes that skirt look big.”