- Clothing and the Elementary Age Child by Angela Harris
It's Monday morning, four children wait for the bus. One is dressed
in a bright striped shirt with a vest overtop. Dark blue jeans, dye
not yet faded end just above heeled brown boots. Her jacket is slung
over her arm as if she dreads wearing the thing. A second young girl
stands next to her slightly shorter. Her hair is only half brushed, a
messy bob of sorts. She wears blue jeans with a pretty blue and brown
shirt, slightly loose to hide her baby fat. Her feet are warm and
toasty, encased in tan "Ugg" like shoes. The young man is dressed
neatly, blue jeans, a nice blue striped sweater and brown leather
loafers. His biggest complaint for the morning the tuft of hair that
will not comb down. His slightly younger sister could care less about
her hair, brushes are the enemy. She insists on dressing herself,
thus leading to a myriad of colors and styles gracing her small frame.
A tan camouflage "Hello Kitty" shirt, blue jeans embroidered in
bright fuchsia with ruffles on the hem, blue and green frog rain
boots. Even at their young ages 5, 6, 7 and 9 they begin to show
individuality and their need to fit in and find acceptance.
In our local elementary the influences are vast. You can almost
differentiate between the students who rely on their parents to make
their clothing choices and those who are allowed that freedom. You
can also see the differences in socio-economic classes. There are the
young girls dressed in prim outfits, faces and nails spotless. Their
hair brushed until it shines, styled and decorated with a fluffy bow.
Their male counterparts in button up shirts, khakis and loafers,
their hair cut by a stylist to look just right. There are the kids
whose influence is sports and athletics. Boys wearing the jersey of
the Raiders, the local pop warner football league, girls wearing the
matching cheer uniform. Other kids wearing sneakers and comfy clothes
praying for PE. Then there are the kids who show up in whatever they
choose, a combination of their own styles and those of their parents.
Cute stylish outfits, T-shirts and jeans with dirty tennis shoes.
Pajama tops with sweat pants, snuck out under winter jackets.
Elementary school is a fishbowl. It is okay to show individuality
yet the restraints of influence are alarmingly present. There is a
struggle, the parents wanting to hold on to their babies, whether by
influence or outright control, fellow students looking at their peers,
accessing what sets them apart. Each looking at how they dress as a
reflection of what may be on the inside. Judging whether they are
smarter, prettier or richer by what they are clothed in. Then there
is the students influence on themselves. The struggle to maintain
individuality while fitting into the mold of their parents and peers.
The evolutionary process of trying to grow up and discover who they
are and what they like while being tugged upon by outside influences.
It is in this arena that they will decide their place, their style
both in relation to their peers and themselves. By the time they set
off to middle school the fundamental sense of self will have taken
shape and their clothing will be a reflection of that self.
As they step on the bus they turn back to blow kisses and shout "Love
you mom". I hold on to those moments realizing that as they grow they
will slowly break away from my influences and form their own
identities. I already see it beginning. The dress is only a part,
yet it is an integral part. It is the indicator of that initial
break, one of the first signs a parent sees that their child is
growing up, forming their own opinions and becoming their own person.
- every society has its cliques that divide and define them as a whole.
in my town there is a group of young 20 somethings that hang out in
dark alleys at night. were not crooks nor hoodlums instead we are
young people who dress in all black that claim we are vampires or
werewolves or mages. often we are we are classifed as "geeks" that
sit around playing dungeons and dragons all day. our night life
however is lived upon the stage of darkness. we are from all different
walks of life. some of us wealthy some of us poor but through the
characters we portray we decide our costumes. in playing Vampire the
Masquerade there are several different clans that set players apart.
the Nosferatu - the sewer dwellers
the Sabbat - the fanatically religous inclined
the Brujah - the rebel / fighter vampires
the Toreadore - the pretty and fashionable vampires
the Malkavian - the enlightened albeit crazy vampires
the ventrue - the money brokers
the scimize - think bram stokers dracula charcter
now to set ourselves apart from every other vampie out there there are
class distinctions i guess you could call them. take my character for
example : her name is ashton hazard after the north and south mini
series i had recently watched when i created her. she is a red haired
jezebel much like the ashton character in the series. a former
blockade runner shes one of those characters that "knows how to get
things" and a consumate smuggler almost like the character of otis
redding from the movie the shawshank redemption. while yes she is this
gritty character based loosley of of 2 fictional characters and one
straight out of history she likes the antique fashions of the
antebellum southern period of 1850-1865.
to point out it is the toreadore vampires that are supposed to be the
fashion gurus not the malkavian however i decided to do a very subtle
meshing of the two that worked out rather nice. my husband on the
other hand likes to play either the nosferatu or the malkavian. most
of our costumes as a whole leave a lot to the imagination to decide
for us for there are only two of us that have decided to engage in
trust me i have definite ideas on what to costume some of the other
clans in however that is for the actor decide not necessarily me.