I went shopping with my daughter yesterday. She's not quite reached her double digit years, but she's always been quite the fashionista. Seriously, she has better fashion sense than half the designers in Milan. But I digress. We were clothes shopping yesterday, looking for summer stuff, and we went to a famous store. I'll not name names, but I'll tell you it starts with a T. So we were at T, and we went straight to the Girl's Section, since that's where we usually go. We loaded our cart with several outfits and headed to the dressing rooms. She tried on the clothes...and they didn't quite fit. Just a little too tight and/or a little too short for her body.
Okay, I thought, it must be time to hit the Junior's Department. No big deal. She's always been a big girl (and I don't mean so much chunky as tall and broad...let's just she has my figure, which means Jane Russell is our mentor). So we go to the Junior's section. She wasn't at all impressed with the styles, but I told her we should look, because sometimes you can find little gems. We dug, we scavenged, we flipped through racks; we found nothing. Let me explain what that means: the clothes (shirts in particular) were V shaped. And not lower case v, but "V". And no U, not even a slightly broader bottomed V. Now, I'm not physiologist, doctor, or dietitian, but it seems to me that girls who are this tiny in the waist can't be that healthy. Not just tiny in the waist, but huge in the, um, chest area. I was skinny as a teenager; seriously, I had a small waist. None of my friends, who were all shapes and sizes, were that small, nor were we proportioned like that. None of the teenage girls I know right now are shaped like this. I was horrified and mesmerized. Was I feeding my daughter wrong? Was she a mutant? Or were we the "norm" in a mutant society? What was going on??
So there I stood in the Junior's Department, my little girl staring at me almost in tears, asking me if she had an okay shape. Was she fat? Then this always chipper, bright girl turned gloomy faced and said she hated shopping (yeah, right) and hated clothes (um, not buying it). All the women reading this will know what she really meant: I hate myself and my body. I soothed her, immediately told her that she was fine, she's not overweight (if she was her plain spoken doctor would have had no qualms in telling us), and the clothes were just too mature for her. Plus they were blah looking anyway. She calmed down, managed a smile, and we left after purchasing only a swimsuit (ironically enough found in the Girl's Department, and it was actually loose).
We headed to another major retail store, I'll call it ON, and there had a very helpful saleswoman take pity on us. I probably looked as frazzled as I felt. She immediately asked if I wanted the clothes to perfectly fit, or be slightly big. I said bigger, so she told me we might be looking for plus, though she pointed out belts to help keep the shorts up (yep, even she saw my daughter isn't overweight). She asked if we wanted regular shorts, Bermuda, or Capris, then took us immediately to where we needed to be. Hooray! There were no pluses in the shorts, but she had no problem finding the fuller cuts and really made my little one happy by find absolutely adorable Bermuda jean shorts. When we looked at their shirts, again in what should have been the correct size, it was much, much closer to fitting her, but still a bit too tight. However, their selection being what it is, we found the perfect compromise: a flowing tank top that hung from her shoulders.
Next year, though, we're not going to have a choice but to hit the Junior's Department again. I'm not looking forward to it.
What I want to know is why isn't there anything in between little girl and sixteen? I know I'm not the only one having this problem. In fact, one of the mother's from my homeschooling group had the same problem with her daughter. So why is it stores don't have something that bridges the gap between little bodies and maturing bodies? And it's always been this way. I had the same problem when I was a girl. You would think some store somewhere would see the need and jump on it. We're talking million dollar idea. Something in between. Something that can accommodate a tween without forcing them into clothes meant for high school teens. I'm not even talking about the provocative lines and cuts (though I could certainly get into that). I'm talking basic shape. When I can take my daughter into the Boy's Section of T and find a shirt the exact same size of the girl's, and it fits, there's something wrong.
Maybe I'll start my own company once we have the Singer working. Maybe I'll begin making clothes to fill in the gap that no one is paying attention to. It might very well be the only way to clothe my daughter for the next few years.