Every member of the family has his or her role within the familial structure. Well, unless you’re a mom, in which case any and all roles can default to you at a moment’s notice.
Even at a young age, my oldest son established himself as the Tim Gunn of the family minus the snooty accent (most of the time anyway,) He was arbiter of cool and had the power of veto over his brothers’ purchases.
This, of course, made Back to School shopping a breeze for me. I gave him a budget and watched him work his magic. It was a sight to behold, really, the way he could work a rack of t-shirts at Marshalls or find bargain shoes at the Nike outlet.
We covered a lot of ground before college drop-off but this was the one thing that wasn’t on my radar. . We were so busy outfitting his room that I forgot his brothers needed an outfit or two as well.
The fact that I used “outfit” to describe something my teenagers would wear is precisely why I can’t be in charge of picking out clothing. It is cringe-worthy vocabulary (insert eye-roll)
How the hell was I going to shop with my stylist 7-hours away?
Between football practice and work schedules, I found just one morning with a few hours available for a trip to the Mall. Without my assistant buyer, I simply did not have the faculties to tackle the outlets.
Each boy made a list. Ok, that’s not true. I badgered them until they came up with a couple of items they really needed. Oh and I had to promise them lunch at the mall in order to extract said list.
I never missed my eldest more than in that moment.
I stood in a sea of Nike and didn’t dare touch a thing. I wanted him to get the shorts that were on sale but I knew if I said that, it would have the opposite effect.
We both felt comfortable in the realm of team logo apparel. There was another mother held prisoner by indecision, like me. We exchanged a look that promised we would forget anything we saw there in the Young Men’s department and never speak of this day again.
My youngest, who was really just looking for shoes that fit the uniform code, had wandered off to play Pokemon and pretend he lived with another family.
We settled on Terp shorts, no shirts and socks that may or may not be the right ones. I can now detail the 100 different kinds of white socks Nike distributes that look exactly the same, except they aren’t.
We tried on no less than 10 pair of Sperry’s for my 8th grader and none of them fit. I willed a little Sperry cobbler to appear, put my son’s foot on that slanted stool and make him a custom shoe right there. I mean, everyone knows it’s Sperry’s or nothing. (insert eye roll)
Guess what? I opted for nothing. Did I mention we were T-2 days until school?
I headed for the one area where I knew we would find success—the eatery. I’m not sure if it was the Diet Coke or finally getting a win after a discouraging trip but suddenly it was all so clear to me.
The boys needed to shop alright.
IN THEIR BROTHER’S CLOSET.
Even after taking a crapton of clothes to college, his closet was still bursting at the seams. Shoes, shorts, t-shirts, all cool and approved by the Dalai Lama of design himself.
Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
Maybe he was feeling nostalgic for home, maybe it was pity or perhaps now that he is living with other men he realizes the gross excess of clothes he possesses but he gave the in-home shopping network the green light.
Although I took anything I thought he’d want for himself off the market, his brothers were primed for back to school–including the elusive Sperry’s—in no time. Those Sperry’s looked suspiciously like they had never been worn, which just proved my genius.
So, I guess my role in the family is to be right—AGAIN. Such a burden (insert eye-roll).