It’s been all change recently here at Middle Aged Towers, as TSS (twenty something son) has moved out and teen daughter started an art foundation course.
TTS’s big move went well and after several trips to Ikea, a huge supermarket shop and teen daughter and I attacking the dirt in his room like Kim and Aggie, he was all set. Coming back to his half empty bedroom was weird, but after a couple of days we all settled into a new rhythm. Ok, he has only moved to Brixton, so the opportunities to meet for lunch/pop home for Sunday lunch/to do washing etc are many, but we are all trying to establish new boundaries and as any Londoner knows, moving to South London from the North is the equivalent of moving to Leeds.
Meanwhile teen daughter has removed all trace of her brother from their shared bathroom and taken over the entire middle floor of the house. She has also decided that being a student at Central Saint Martins requires a whole new wardrobe and as she is slightly short of funds due to her summer of festivals, girls holidays and lying in bed watching back to back Kardashians, from now on all my clothes will also be hers.
Perhaps I should be flattered as I’m 52 and she’s 18, therefore technically she should hate everything I wear, but working in fashion means I have some of the key pieces she feels are essential for her new look. She is also happy to wear my shoes, borrow my best black bag and add one of my statement necklaces to finish off an outfit. A quick spritz of my perfume and a spot of my hair serum and she is good to go. She draws the line at my underwear as that would be wrong – but apart from that, pretty much whats mine is hers and what hers is her own.
If I dare to enter her room she asks indignantly “why are you here?’ to which I reply “because all of my stuff is in here”. Which of course she denies, while not so subtly kicking my best black cashmere jumper into a pile under the bed with the rest of my dry clean only clothes.
Until now I have been patient and understanding – God knows I raised her and have only myself to blame, both of my children are far too interested in fashion for their own good. Call me shallow but one of my greatest joys when they were little was putting their outfits together and despite living in hippy Stoke Newington – where middle class kids don’t wear ironed clothes or have combed hair – they were always fully co-ordinated.
Despite being annoyed every time I open my wardrobe to find the top I want is missing, a small part of me is enjoying her experimentation. When she stomped off in my Dr Martins on her second day, I was transported back to my own days on foundation course, when finally free of the restrictions of fitting in at school, I started to put together the kind of strange outfits that I still love today.
Working out who you want to be and finding your own individual look is an evolving process which continues as we age and watching my kids move onto new things and explore new ideas is a learning curve for me too. After all it’s never too late to try something different – be it a new place to live, career, or even a new look – if only I were a size 8 maybe I could steal some clothes too!!
“Moving to South London is like moving to Leeds”????? oh dear – what a narrow life you have lived. South London is just over the bridge from Chelsea, from Tate Britain (not to mention on the same side of the river as Tate Modern), from the Houses of Parliament, etc etc – have you never been to the Dulwich Art Gallery? To Borough Market? to Maltby Street? I won’t go on as if you know none of this you need to expand you horizons. Hackney, now that’s that back of beyond. Has anyone ever been there?
Jo-an I was of course being ironic and meant to highlight the difference between living in north and south london.
South London is indeed great and I have written about Maltby st before http://www.thewomensroomblog.com/2011/05/31/something-else-for-the-weekend-maltby-street-market/ and I have no doubt I will be writing about Brixton very soon.
MAM is written in a (hopefully) witty tongue in cheek way. Sorry if I have offended you. Come to Hackney its great.
My just-turned-14-year-old has been wearing my clothes and shoes for about a year, and I feel the same combination of pride/frustration. Her room is a permanent disaster, and I really hate is having to comb through the detritus to find my favourite pair of brogues to wear to work, or finding a good blazer scrunched beyond recognition on the floor … I did once borrow a pair of her jeans (to dress up at Katniss from the Hunger Games, long story) but that felt strangely wrong. If she grows any more she’ll end up bigger than me so this may only be a phase :)