Embrace the Emergency (of dressing kids for formal occasions)

Embrace the Emergency (of dressing kids for formal occasions)
And don't even get me started on sports coats

In the old days when I did back to school shopping for my twin sons, I made sure to include a pair of dress pants, shoes and collared shirts for them. This was to preclude a fashion emergency. You know the type: you have a semi-formal event to attend that requires your kids to wear something other than jeans and tennis shoes. And all they have in their closet are jeans and tennis shoes, and by that I mean ink-stained jeans and gym shoes with holes in them. Oh, and collared shirts too tight to button.

At the time, I prided myself on my foresight and planning. I could have been a Boy Scout! But you know what? Every time we had to attend a wedding or a funeral or a banquet or fill in the blank here_______, it would, without fail, turn into a fashion emergency anyway.

The thing about kids is, they grow. Sometimes freaky fast. So by the time the basketball banquet was announced (Usually a week before, because all basketball coaches know how us parents love surprises!) pants were too short, shoes were too tight and belts didn’t fit around waists. Thank God Target is open until 11p.m. because I can’t count the times I had to run out and buy emergency dress clothes. And I can’t count the times I was also forced to give away out-grown unworn dress shoes or slacks, sometimes with the tags still on them. So much for being prepared.

Until I decided I would just embrace the emergency aspect of dressing my young men. (My daughter is not mentioned here for a couple of reasons. One, she’s relatively new in town and by the time she arrived, I’d already done the aforementioned embracing. Secondly, girls just always have nice clothes around. It’s a feature of the double X chromosomes.) Why not thrill to the challenge? Why not, like yesterday, find out my sons needed khaki pants for a school function tomorrow? Surprise! (See, isn’t this fun?) Successfully purchasing two pairs of khaki Dockers at the last minute was a piece of cake. Not even a challenge. It was when I realized they needed brown shoes to go with them that the true fashion emergency set in, because it was not as simple as running out to just any shoe store to grab a pair of men’s size twelves. No, of course not. Too easy. No thrill in that! These guys require men’s size fourteen dress shoes, which are about as rare in this town as a Lincoln Park parking space.

Eschewing the brown Crocs ("We could wear those sarcastically," Ethan suggested.) we somehow managed to scrounge up a couple of pairs of brown dress shoes in under twelve hours. Had I planned ahead, we would have missed out on all the last minute fun and excitement! And by embracing the fashion emergency, I know the boys will actually wear their new khakis and brown dress shoes. At least once.


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