Style Evolution

I am a girlie girl.  I wear mostly dresses or skirts. I love make up and usually put at least a little on every day.  I have a nice collection of jewelry, costume and good stuff.  I like shoes.  I doing my hair; well, it’s short again, but I enjoy the process of ensuring that it flatters my features.

I love being a woman, and I love being girlie.

Hope revels in being a bit of a tomboy.

I realized this weekend that the tomboy thing kinda bugs me.  Not really sure why, maybe because I was hoping she’d want to emulate me?  Not really, but maybe; I dunno.  I guess it could be that I never really thought about having a girl before Hope came along. Like many waiting parents, birth and adoptive, I just *knew* what I was going to get!!! A boy!! I swore I was going to adopt a boy.

And then Hope came into my life, and I couldn’t believe that I ever thought I would have had a boy.  I suppose it was then that the fantasy of manis and pedis with ruffles and sparkly feathers took up residence in my mind’s eye.

But alas, there are no ruffles and there are no sparkles to be seen anywhere.

I realized as we were school shopping during the last couple of weeks that Hope and I aren’t even in the same hemisphere when it comes to fashion.

Hope is still the round the way girl that I met almost two years ago. She can typically be found in jeans, a t-shirt, men’s high tops and not a stitch of jewelry, except maybe a name necklace Aunt M gave her earlier this summer.  She has a couple of dresses and reserves them for special occasions.  I finally convinced her to get a pair of black flats earlier this year. For the most part, she stays right in that fashion zone of non-fussy jeans and tees. I suppose I should be happier about that.  At least I’m not throwing clothes at her to put on, amirite?

Hope will be starting high school in a few weeks, and we’ve been out at the stores for two weekends in a row.  I find myself wandering through the stores, fantasizing about the cool outfits that Hope would look so fantastic in—seriously, she has a body most of us would kill for!  She hovers between a 4 and an 8 depending on the store.  The waist is a loose 4 while the hips are a comfy 6/8, so I occasionally have to have her jeans altered.  She’s tall and lanky with the body of a model and I desperately want to dress her.

And invariably, my daughter goes to items—colors, fabrics, prints, designs–that make me recoil. Like…Wha?  You actually want to wear that?  Outside?  With other people who can actually see you? With no invisibility cloak?????

I’ve taken to rarely offering much commentary because we quickly devolve into bickering.  Also, I found myself considering offering some comments this weekend based on whether or not the outfit would make her look cute for new potential crushes—and I totally put the brakes on that comment flying out of my mouth.  Since when did I, a devout feminista, have thoughts of encouraging my daughter to dress to make her look cute for the teen boys at her school.

What in the entire hell is happening to me??? Am I really that desperate for a style evolution that I will just throw my principles out the window for a cute pair of low heels and a flirty skirt?

(For the record, she would’ve really looked cute in the ensemble…if she had just given it a chance.)

Younger cousins counsel me that Hope is likely on the precipice of a style evolution, what with starting a new school and all. I hope so. But I also hope that we’ll be able to have fun shopping. Shopping is sooooo no fun.  I don’t want to earn mommy stripes by bickering about clothes or anxiously chewing on my cheek because I. CANNOT. BELIEVE. WHAT. SHE. IS PICKING. OUT.

And I suppose when I really think back I don’t have much room to talk.  I vaguely remember some jeans that had a bright aqua panel of lace down the sides of the legs and on the pockets. And, um, there *may* have been a matching jacket…I honestly can’t remember if I got the jacket or not.  My gentle sensibilities might’ve thought it was too much, what with all the neon aqua and all.

<eyeball roll at my own foolery>

In the midst of all of this, I think about how much things have changed in Hope’s “style” over 20 months.  At the time of placement there was a sweatshirt that I practically had to steal from her every few days to ensure that it was included in the laundry.  The outfits underneath were the always the same (jeans and tees), but everything was covered up by that sweatshirt.  She often wouldn’t even wear a coat; just the sweatshirt. It represented security and the past, things she knew, things she lost…that shirt meant and continues to mean a lot to her even though she hasn’t worn it in probably close to a year.

One day, I just looked up and noticed that she wasn’t wearing it anymore.  She didn’t need it anymore. She let it go. I don’t ever expect it to land in the Goodwill box, but she rarely even pulls it out anymore.

So, I guess Hope will continue to evolve, and I will have to just sit with it and be patient. And I suppose I should just accept it if she’s just a jeans and tee kinda  chick and never evolves past this style choice. Nothing wrong with that I guess. I do hope that at least we can switch to women’s fit t-shirts…they at least look nicer.

I’m going online now to browse something blingy, since I’m also guessing this leaves a little more budget for my own girlie purchases.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

12 responses to “Style Evolution

  • Deborah the Closet Monster

    If it helps, I was a total tomboy growing up. My mom asked repeatedly if I was a lesbian. Now I suspect she might still wonder, were she here, but she’d be glad regardless for days like today where I wear pastel, a skirt, earrings, necklace and bracelet! 🙂

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    Yes I do hear you here. M1 has a fashion sense that makes me look like I actually care about what I wear (which I do not for the most part). Honestly I drove by the HS and looked at other kids, yep my kid looked like many of them so shut my fat mouth and let her go. My choices heck no but ya know what if she is comfortable and basically blending I have to let it go. As you mentioned everything is covered and that is my basic requirement. Maddening though when there seems to be no rhyme or logic to it.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Ahh, yes, for every great outfit there’s one that makes us go WTF? Typically, it doesn’t bother me really, but when we’re doing concentrated shopping I can’t help but wish she would choose some things that I think accentuate her beauty. But whatever…I suppose it took me years to grow into my own style too.

  • Caitlin

    My mom and I had the same conflicts during my early teen years. I grew out of it, eventually, and we now agree on SOME of the things I choose to wear. I also think that there is a certain vulnerability that comes with wearing cute feminine clothes, and she may not be ready yet, given her history, to be that vulnerable. There is a safe defensiveness in wearing clothes that don’t draw attention to her and are familiar in comfort and fit. I figure I’m going to end up with a little girl who wants tutus and leotards, and I’m going to have no idea what to do!!

  • Belladonna Took

    On the other hand, she could be insisting on a bare muffin top and underwear showing – which is what a lot of teen girls seem to be wearing now. I think, given the emotional immaturity and social insecurity you’ve mentioned, tomboy is a very safe place for her right now. And in time you might find she’s willing to add a little bling, in the form of embroidery on the jeans or sequins on the tees… 🙂

    Btw, I had my daughter bring over a little something for Hope – I hope you don’t mind; I thought she might like to have something from South Africa. (I brought over gifts for a few blogger friends’ children.) If that wouldn’t lead to awkward questions along the lines of “Who is this person and what does she know about me and why is she sending me stuff”, please send me a mailing address. My email is

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Hahah! Yes, I know, I know, I’m glad she’s not prancing around half naked asking for thongs and such. A lot of it has to do with her immaturity and insecurities. I know that her tastes will evolve this year, and it will be interesting to see how she’s influenced–hopefully in positive ways. I also hope she grows into her beauty–which is really what this is about. She is beautiful inside and outside, but she struggles with the outside. I hope that her confidence is improved in that area as well.

      How sweet of you to think of Hope. I’ve also been known to do gifts for a few online friends as well! Will drop you a note. Thank you so much!

  • Jackie

    My Mom used to say, “You don’t have to get this, but just try it on for me! Pleeaasssse?” 😊

  • Valarie Johnson

    If she is always trying on crazy stuff and can feel confident outside of the mainstream, she should DEFINITELY be a model! I mean, have you seen the stuff they wear on the runways? It is absurd. Sign Hope up for a (friendly) agency! The androgynous look is very “in” right now for women in high fashion (I don’t know if she looks that way in person, but since she likes to dress that way, I bet she pulls it off).

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