Pleated skirts, tasseled shoes not on BTS list

Ainsley and I took advantage of having Columbus Day off to do some back-to-school shopping.

We headed to Yorktown, primarily motivated by the bubble tea store there. (We had visited the same spot Sunday, but misguided ordering had left Ainsley with a thick, sludgy drink rather than one filled with tiny bubbles that burst when you bite them. She wanted a make good.)

A neighbor who also is the mom of a tall girl had given me some recommendations on stores we might visit. At our first stop, Ainsley immediately found an item she was interested in acquiring — a yellow “Simpsons” sweatshirt. It was slightly overpriced, but the fact that the show and its merchandise have survived for 33 years amused me, so I gave it the OK. We also found a pair of seriously flared jeans that I thought might be as close to bell bottoms as we would find. So we bought those, too.

Beatles “merch” was on the list as well, and we stumbled on a matching set — sweatshirt, T-shirt and sweatpants — all on sale. We also found more flared jeans, these with substantial rips that I chose to ignore. And another Beatles T-shirt. (I think Ainsley might wear Beatles shirts exclusively if she had the option.) Our final stop was for a pair of black Converse high tops.

All in all, it was a successful trip. We had a nice lunch and only one minor disagreement about trying on clothes before you bring them home, which I lost. Other than that, it was a delightful day.

If Ainsley is called on to dress up for any reason, however, she’s in trouble.

I used to love to dress up and would save up my babysitting money to buy plaid wool skirts and sweaters and tasseled shoes (it was the ’80s, mind you). The last time Ainsley wore a skirt or a dress was when she dressed as a hippie last Halloween.

Of course I was in high school, and Ainsley is just in seventh grade. But I’m not sure it makes a difference. I attended the Hinsdale Central homecoming pep rally the Monday before Homecoming. I observed exactly three different outfits on 95 percent of girls. 1. T-shirts and jeans. 2. T-shirts and leggings. 3. T-shirts and sweats.

I should not be surprised. You can go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and see women dressed in leggings that I think should be worn only to the gym — or maybe to run a weekend errand. You go to church and people are wearing jeans and shorts, something my parents never would have allowed when I was growing up — and which I still am not comfortable doing. Times have changed. And I, as Ainsley points out from time to time, am old.

So is she, relatively speaking.

I couldn’t help but notice the cutest fall outfits in the toddler and little girl sections, tunics with leaf embroidery or an appliquéd owl paired with patterned leggings or little plaid dresses with ruffles. I miss the days of buying clothes like that for her and choosing her outfits every morning before preschool.

But you can’t turn back the clock. Nor would I want to.

Plus, at 5’ 9” and all legs, Ainsley rocks her new flared ripped jeans and Beatles T-shirt. Best of all is the smile on her face when she’s wearing them.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean