Kid Clothes: Why I Sweat The Sweats

This weekend, the family and I went to the Giants game. Wilson’s brother works in media and gets amazing perks that often land us in box seats at sporting events that we would never able to swing on our own. Call me old-fashioned, but I still think there are certain places where you should dress like a decent human being and the CBS 50-yard line skybox at Met Life Stadium is one of them.

When my delightful boys (ages 6, 9, and 12) got up, I told them I wanted them to wear jeans for the game. 6-year-old Eli put on his adorable skinny Levi’s without hesitation, but my older boys refused.

You would think I had asked them to wear a tuxedo.

The whining, yelling, and near tantrum behavior that ensued was ridiculous.  I was okay with the Giants jerseys on top but wanted them to step it up a notch and leave the synthetic shorts and sweatpants at home. “But Mooooom….it’s a sporting event, so why can’t I wear sports clothes!” they wailed.

I’ve been in these boxes before and they’re not like the bleachers. While there may be a few people in sweats, most wear jeans and some dress up more than that. The skybox crowd can look like they stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalog in blazers, designer shirts, loafers, boots, etc. and I didn’t want my kids looking like slobs.

I held firm against their loud complaints and pouting, and tried to ignore them. But they wouldn’t let it go. They goaded me into arguing until I threatened to stay home with anyone who was not wearing jeans when it was time to go. And I meant it.

Somewhere between their indignant insults and stubborn defiance I dug my heels in and wanted them to understand that listening to their mother– whether they agreed with her or not– was not an option, but a demonstration of respect.

We’re talking jeans here people. Not a tutu.

When 12-year-old Jacob realized he had lost the battle, he changed and then spent the next half-hour bellyaching about how “uncomfortable” the jeans were to wear.

“Look at how baggy and wrinkly they are! They feel horrible!” he yelled.

I’m flabbergasted at how these kids have rejected jeans in favor of sports pants and actually believe they are fashionable. As I told my boys, I hold my tongue every day when they come downstairs for school wearing baggy shorts or sweats and an oversized t-shirt emblazoned with a sports team or logo that doesn’t remotely match.

I let them wear whatever they want to school and on weekends with their friends, even though I often think they look like vagabonds. A few times a year I ask them to put on a pair of structured pants and a nice shirt, and they give me grief.

And while we’re on the subject of kids couture, what is up with the sports socks and slides trend?? I HATE  that look. These boys are quibbling with me about what’s cool to wear when their favorite footwear makes them look like an 85-year-old Florida retiree.

Ironically, when I asked them to dress up for temple for the Jewish holidays, they donned dress clothes without fanfare. Here’s 9-year-old Aden looking handsome, posing in fancy clothes  (although note he refused to wear a belt!)

That was okay…. but jeans, no, no. In the enigmatic mind of a boy, khakis are smoother and more comfortable than jeans, which are apparently akin to a strait jacket.

But I prevailed.

They wore jeans and looked nice and I felt sheepishly proud.  But they were bitter and I earned the title once again of  “meanest mom in the world.”

Sometimes I’m okay with that.

9 responses to “Kid Clothes: Why I Sweat The Sweats

  1. My thirteen-year-old son doesn’t own jeans. He wears shorts 365 days a year. Crazy. Luckily I live in So.California where he can get it away with it most of the time.

  2. stand strong!!! good for you!! I do the same where situations warrant. My husband started in on it for church class (“but other kids were wearing shorts and sweatpants”) and my response was “well i don’t care what other kids wear, i care what my kids wear.” I seriously really don’t care what other people wear, I care about showing respect in certain situations. my mom would have had my head if i wore sweatpants to church! anyway. in sum, i totally agree. lol

  3. Good for you! Girls, on the other hand, can want to dress up too much. Wait till you see the shoes I bought Ally this weekend for the upcoming bat mitzvahs … I must be insane!

  4. i agree with this article completely – as well as Sasha’s comment! The 21st century sure isn’t like it was in the 70’s and 80’s (i remember my mother making me wear danskin “outfits” in elementary school. However, i do recall our fights and her cringing when i donned rock t-shirts with jordash jeans and comb in my back pocket!

  5. Jackie Klein

    I really enjoyed reading this one. I think Aden is gorgeous in his dressy clothes.

  6. Excellent article, as usual. The girl flip-side of this whole scenario is ho-like Forever 21 clothing that they don for nice occasions that hardly hides their hoohas.