The first thing said to Hans when he walked into his new school was, “Why are you wearing your pajamas?”
He wasn’t, of course. He was wearing jeans. Extra skinny Levis jeans. That just happened to be plaid.
This stuck me as particularly funny, as Hans had originally chosen his canary yellow jeans for his First Day Outfit. They used to be even more bright yellow, but somehow the family Laundress had mistakenly thrown them into a batch of whites that were being highly bleached due to some particularly nasty stains. (Note: turmeric is a bitch to get out of white clothes.) Instead of being angry, he admitted they had gotten “even more cool.”
Even so, I thought that bright yellow jeans with bleach blotches might not be the way Hans wanted to make his grand entrance. I was scared that perhaps kids might think he was weird. So I told him that bleach-spotted jeans were too trashed looking for day one, and so he pulled out the plaid pair.
“Wow,” I said. “Now those are much more subtle.”
“Mom,” he fired back, stretching the word out and bending it around his raised eyebrows, “it’s ok. It’s fine. They’re plaid.”
They day I found the pair that looked like someone had gone mad with a Sharpie, I knew I had found the best Christmas present ever. The Internet is basically the only way to go to find extra skinny Levi’s 505 jeans, although Tilly’s had the red ones on sale at Christmas time. Sometimes you can find them at Macys.com. We found the black and white checked pair in a ridiculously expensive clothing store in Amsterdam. They are two sizes too big, but Hans didn’t care. They were marked down to $5 US, and they are made by a company called Cheap Monday that has a bunch of Right Wing Christian fundamentalists all up in arms because they have a skull and crossbones on their logo. The green pair are also from Amsterdam, from a Dutch company called Scotch & Soda.
Some days when Hans puts together his outfits, I have to just sit back and smile. I’ve tried to talk about using a light hand when it comes to color and pattern. You know, dark black jeans with a bright purple top is great. Or polka dot sweatshirt and lime green pants are great, just leave the black and white checked hat off. But for Hans, it’s all about color and texture and ACTION. If he could wear nothing but graffiti, he would. For him, stripes and checks and dots DO all go together, and some days, they don’t look half bad.
Until you are an adult looking back on your choices. And you wonder what the heck your mother was thinking, letting you out of the house like that.