One Thousand Words on Mom’s Fashion Advice

I was dreading writing tonight because I couldn’t think of a topic. Then I had the following conversation with my mother:

Heather’s Mom: I’m going to the drug store tomorrow. Would you like me to get you some green nail polish for your toe nails.

Heather: Ummm…. No thank you.

Heather’s Mom: Why not?

Heather: I don’t think I’d like having green toe nails.

Heather’s Mom: (after a big long sigh) All right.

She was so disappointed. My poor mom is cursed with a plain daughter who doesn’t like lots of jewelry, nail polish or make up and doesn’t wear flashy clothes. I know she loves me, but I think there are times when she would prefer a stylish, hipster daughter. Or at least someone who painted her toenails.

I usually wear pants and a simple button up blouse or sweater to work. I’ll ask mom over a cup of coffee, “Do I look all right?” or “Does this outfit look ok?” Her usually response is, “You look nice, but you should undo a couple of buttons.” Are mothers really supposed to tell daughters to flash more cleavage? That never happens in the movies. And the conversations between television mothers and daughters are more like “That skirt is too short” Or “Is that a nose ring?” It’s not usually, “Show a little more skin, sweetie.” By the way, my mother would be thrilled if I got a nose ring. She’s always saying to me, “You work in the arts. You can be a little funky.”

Take the toe nail polish. My mom’s toe nails are always blue. Lately they’ve actually been a little more turquoise than blue, but she’s painted them some shade of blue for years, way before it became popular to use non-red, pink or beige nail polish. People comment on them all the time. They’re cool. So she tries to get me to use bright colors too. If I paint my toenails, it’s usually pale pink. I think it suits me. And it’s less noticeable when it chips. See, I think part of my dislike of nail polish is borderline obsessive compulsive disorder. If my toe nails are painted and get chipped, it drives me crazy. Fingernails are even worse. And when they chip, I have to take it all off and paint them again. It gets time consuming!

Last week, I let my mom paint my toe nails with the color of her choice. She picked a deep, blood red. I didn’t like it and it lasted only few days. We tried again this week, with bright orange. I actually didn’t mind that as much (It didn’t chip) but that came off this weekend. Thus the green nail polish offer.

Another one that drives her nuts is jewelry. First, I don’t like to mix yellow gold with silver or white gold. My mother discussed it with her friends and apparently no one worries about that any more. But I still don’t like it, even if that makes me hopelessly unhip with the 60 and older crowd. I like to match. So sue me! Mom keeps threatening to buy me a piece of jewelry that combines gold and silver, thinking it would force me to wear gold and silver in order to match the combo piece. I’m not sure that would work.

Also, I don’t wear enough jewelry. I have tons of bracelets and earrings. And I think I own enough rings to wear one of every finger… and nothing would make my mother happier than if I did just that!But I wear a small pair of hoops and my watch every day. That’s usually it. I do wear necklaces, but not all the time. (Oh, and a toe ring. I wear my toe ring all summer. That’s funky, right)? Other than telling me to unbutton my shirt more, the most common remark I get in the morning is “No necklace?” I’m such a disappointment.

But of all these things… nail polish, jewelry, cleavage…. I think my shoes bother my mother most of all. You have to understand that my mom has feet that fit in any shoe. We’ll go into a shoe store and everything she tries on fits and looks great. That’s not the case with me. Sandals are especially painful. My foot is wide across the top. I will try on pair after pair after pair of sandals and I’m lucky if one fits. And of course, since they have to be wide to fit my fat foot, they aren’t usually the most stylish sandals on the rack. We were in a rather urban shoe store a few months ago and my mom was strutting around in every pair of hootchie mama shoes they had in the place. Hot pink, zebra stripes, big flowers between the toes, three inch heels. You name it, they were on her feet. I was trying on the equivalent of nursing shoes and they still didn’t fit. Mom tries hard. She kept picking out shoes for me to try on and she’d smile when I couldn’t get my foot in them, but I know it was bugging the heck out of her. I’ve actually taken to shoe shopping alone. It’s less stressful for both of us.

Don’t get the wrong idea from this post. My mother doesn’t pick on me or make me feel bad about not dressing like a glamour girl. I actually feel sorry for her more than anything. It’s got to be frustrating to make all these suggestions and have them mostly ignored. And her suggestions are usually good ones. If I get a compliment on an outfit or an accessory, nine times out of ten it’s something that my mother suggested. She’ll say, “See, that mustard yellow toe nail polish looks great. You got a compliment on it!” And I’ll smile and nod, and sneak off to remove the yellow nail polish because there is a minuscule chip on my big toe that is distracting me.

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