little boy, you’re in the girls department

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I sported a pixie cut for the most part of grade school not because it looked cute but because I was a very hyper child. I was always running around, naturally I was always sweaty and I would yank the hair clips off my hair because they made my head feel hot. My mom finally got annoyed and worried I would yank all of my hair off before I even turn 10 so she decided to just cut my hair like a boys since I acted like one anyway.

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In a time when super straight silky hair was considered the only “cool” and appropriate option for girls, I was always being made fun of for looking like a boy, it didn’t really help that I have a boys name either. My mom would compromise by letting me wear dainty dangling earrings, dresses and floral prints.

My sister who is 7 years older than I am was already a teenager by the time I started school, she was in the rebellious angst-y teenager phase whose wardrobe only consisted of baggy shirts and baggy jeans (TLC-era hello?!). I didn’t care about what I was wearing as long as it made me feel pretty and I can run around with it. I became my mom’s little doll.

I remember she would make me step on a piece of paper while she traced my foot with a pen. She would then cut the outlines and go shoe shopping with my little paper foot and come home with the latest baby Doc Martens, Jelly Sandals and Birkenstock’s. She loved dressing me up because I never complained, and even as a kid I always loved standing out, “new looks” excite me. She would reference the movies that she watched and the 90’s icons that she loved with every item of clothing. I had more clothes than I did toys, all of my toys were hand-me-downs from my sister. I felt like dressing up was more fun because I can put on a more realistic character as opposed to doing voices with Barbie.

Most moms wouldn’t let their 6 year old daughter step in their closets, but my mom shared whatever she could with me: her little butterfly hair clips, her Hard Candy nail polish and even her small jewelry. This was how we bonded. I don’t remember a significant day when I was finally able to choose my own clothes and I don’t have to wear whatever my mother bought me anymore ,because we always liked the same things. She always had a great sense of style, and all of her purchases have always been very timeless. When I could finally afford clothes with my own money, I would end up buying the same thing as she did, there were even plenty of times when we stepped out of the house kind of in the same outfit only styled differently.

For the longest time, when other people thought my choice of clothing was inappropriate or odd she always reminded me that as long as it makes me feel good, then it’s all that matters. She didn’t just mold my sense of style, but she also taught me that you should never compromise who you are and what makes you happy for others’ approval, in fashion and in life.

To this day, I still send her pictures of purses and shoes I’m planning to buy and she would tell me why it is or why it’s not a smart purchase (I’m stubborn so most of the time I buy it anyway). I still borrow her purses and now she can finally borrow mine, I ransack her closet for vintage finds whenever I go back home and force my size 6 feet into her size 7 Balenciaga heels.

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I’m pretty sure she can say the same thing about her mom, my very fashionable Lola who was always ahead of her time.

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