Pants for the School Dance
This past Friday, Jaden had a school dance at her middle school. If you have met Jaden (in-person or on the internet) you’ll know that she has her own style and she expresses herself through what she wears. She has one of the unofficially largest collections of Star Wars and science themed shirts that she wears based on the events of the day.
Her school announced a couple weeks ago that the 8th grade “Formal Dance” was coming up and her friends started to talk about if they would go and what they would wear. Although they decided pretty quickly they all wanted to go together…they had mixed opinions on what they should wear. Many friends planned on dresses and expected Jaden to wear one as well.
Stereotypes for Girls and Boys
We interrupt this blog post to remind people that gender stereotypes are sometimes embedded very early in life. Even before the baby is born, we are having gender reveal parties (cute idea!) with blue for boy/pink for girl colors (which makes sense because you want everyone to realize what your baby’s gender is at the same time.) Unfortunately, this doesn’t always give girls and boys a chance to figure out what colors, style, personalities they’ll develop and like on their own. If your daughter loves pink and dresses that twirl, more power to them! It’s important though that along with teaching them to be confident in their own skin…to allow others to be confident too. It can be very confusing and self-doubt inducing when everyone around you tells you you’re only supposed to wear dresses to dances. It’s humbling to realize how much influence we have on the words our kids mimic and speak.
After being chastised at her decision to not wear a dress to the dance, Jaden went back and forth a lot about wanting to go to the dance. She wanted to go and hang out with her friends but she did not feel like compromising and wearing a dress. She did not want her friends to comment the entire evening and she wasn’t sure what she’d wear instead. I know I do a lot of things well but style, fashion, and pattern matching has never been my strongest talents. Outfits and pieces that I thought I was mimicking well did not actually translate. I turned to my fashion expert friends on Facebook. I posted the question, giving context of the dance, Jaden, and implored my tribe for help picking an outfit Jaden felt confident in. I wouldn’t have even known where to start (besides Pinterest) and I wasn’t even sure what to “Google.” My friends came through (of course!) and pulled outfits, pictures, and an arsenal of support that helped Jaden feel even better in her decision. She started to get excited about the outfits she could wear and I realized how much practice I needed in order to find these things on my own. Never putting too much time into my clothing ensembles, I was humbled to realize this was another thing I could learn more about, not only for myself but for Jaden too.
Where to Buy
- Fitted blue, Linen-blended blazer from H&M
- Blue Viscose shirt from H&M
- Martie pant in bi-stretch cotton in “warm cerise” form J Crew
- Original Penguin cloth flower lapel pin from Nordstrom Rack (Men’s Tie Accessories section – lapel pins sold individually too!)
- Speckle jersey Authentic Lo Pro from Vans
- Blue skinny tie (should be same width as your lapel) with white polka dots from Zara
Suit Tips and Tricks
Check out these infographics for tips and tricks on styling suits. Mostly called out for Men’s Wear but the suggestions transcend gender and were quite helpful!
Although my sister and friend Gita were my direct fashion consultants, these charts helped me better understand matching patterns and colors in outfits, styles/trends that I didn’t know about, and more.
Gita, of Mimi and Chichi Fashion Blog, also created a Pinterest board, Tomboy Prom just for Jaden here that you can follow. You can ask her questions and check out her great style on her very popular Instagram, @mimiandchichi, channel too!
Facebook Friends Recommendations
Thank you so much to all the people who took the time to answer my clueless questions. I think as parents we want to prevent our children all the pain in the world and embolden them with confidence. Sometimes though, especially on topics you don’t feel strong giving an opinion on, it is great to have some extra help. Thank you for just immediately jumping in and making us both feel ok.
- “Janelle Monae inspired funky suit/tux”
- “Emma Watson always wears pants in a cute and fancy way.”
- “I would not go with a blazer bc that would be hot but I love the stuff Victoria Beckham is doing for Target…simple, stylish & definitely way less than $150.”
- Jumpsuits are a great trend right now and very cute for girls. She could use a blazer over it with cute hills or sandal.
- This great article, “Seven Tips for Wearing Pants to Prom“
- “Maybe breaking a little out of her comfort zone…What about something like a peplum or tunic with slacks?”
- “Peplum is that extra piece of fabric resting on the hips”
- Esther Quek – Check out this blogger. Love her style: http://citizencouture.com/citizen/esther-quek/
- “If she decides she doesn’t necessarily want to go traditional dressy, what about cosplay? Could draw ideas from steam punk, historical references or fictional characters she admires.”
- Tons of pinup inspired/reproduction- from “casual” to more formal http://unique-vintage.com
- “I was going to suggest a jumper, romper, or a blazer with skinny jeans/pants with heels. Sequin leggings or tuxedo pants could be a fun alternative.”
- “Pantsuit or even dressier pants would work. Heels are ? for us tall girls. Would she do a statement necklace???? You have a ton!!!
ALSO, I feel obligated to mention that it is called, “dress up,” for a reason. It is a chance to add on to your normal style, to step it up a notch, to go above and beyond your daily wear. Confidence comes from knowing who you are no matter what you look like or what you wear. Getting dolled up doesn’t mean you are looking for attention or unintelligent. Lastly,
make up is for fun!!! It’s supposed to enhance beauty. It is a creative outlet. It is AMAZING. It should make you HAPPY. If not, don’t sweat it! “
- “Other than Janelle, One of the other things that came to mind is actually one of my favorite fashion muses, Yasmin Sewell. A lot of her style co-opts menswear influence into an edgy recasting of unmistakably women’s fashion.”
- As for hair- to me, no question Dutch braids. They work for everything. They’re fashion forward, can be edgy and tough like boxer braids, but still adorable. And her hair! Just perfect. (Not French braids- def Dutch)
- H&M usually has some for reasonable prices! Maybe get a bigger size and have it tailored to fit her perfectly
- Prom trends from 2016 – we can draw inspiration from everywhere!
How Did it End?
Jaden went to the dance, walking up to the school surrounded by girls in dresses, some short and fun, others long and formal, and still more a mix between both. Apprehensive only at first, as the night went on her friends would exclaim how great she looked! Her confidence continued to build the entire night and she felt like she stepped out of a modern fashion catalog.
P.S. We didn’t get into her hair but as you can see she rocked a double crown braid. Look for a post to come out soon on that as well!