Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cool girls don't sew

Did you sew as a teenager? And was sewing considered ‘cool’ where you went to school?

I was definitely not one of the cool girls at school. In those days, and I am talking way before Kate Moss made vintage cool, anything home made or secondhand was not cool. And as everything I wore in those days was either or, I was branded a nerd (although we weren’t called nerds then, we were ‘dags’). That and the fact that I spent every spare second in the sewing room, didn’t have a boyfriend and actually liked doing my homework were things that were never going to befriend me to the cool crowd.

Molly Ringwald in Pretty In Pink

To this day I still don’t know what made the cool girls cool. I suspect it was more complex than just having fancy new clothes and the right haircut.

So why am I musing on this now, nearly two decades later.

Well Miss C, who is only in kinder, is already talking about the cool girls. And part of me desperately wants her to be one. And the other part desperately wants her to be a nerd and carve her own path. Sigh. I get the feeling that this parenting gig only gets harder from here on in.

I think I will print out this post and stick it on the fridge to remind myself that it doesn’t matter that my home will never feature in a glossy magazine, my hair will never be the ‘right’ hair, and I will never be part of the cool crowd but I will always make my own clothes regardless of whether it is considered cool.

And when the time is right I will read it out loud with Miss C.

Have any of your kids run into trouble against the cool gang at school?


  1. Interesting post. I was a dag too, and very glad to be old enough now to not give a $%^#.

    My 5 yo daughter seems to be feeling a lot of pressure to dress in a particular way, but I can see with my 7 yo son too the pressure to conform and not stand out. When you stand out people laugh at you, and it's hard to take when you're unsure of yourself - which is how most kids feel!

  2. Yep, I was a nerdy, sewing, 'brain' years ago in small town Victoria, but was lucky enough to be respected because of it, without having to be one of the cool pnes, or the sporty ones. Primary School was worse. My 6 yr old girl is carving her own niche...wears what she wants to, does what she wants to, and is her own person; she won't be in the cool group, and I hope she always manages to be true to herself. Guess that's one of the most important things we can teach them.

  3. I struggle with this on a daily basis with my girls. Because I don't want them to be unhappy, but I really don't want them to be drones either. I have absolutely no idea how to balance it, other than to encourage them to think for themselves and be conscious about what makes them happy and why (like, "Do you want to wear that funky dress but think everyone will laugh at you if you do? Well then, what makes you happy about each choice? And why? And what's more important to you? Then go with that for now.")

    I'm pretty sure it goes downhill from here, but hopefully it goes uphill eventually!

  4. Yes but nerds are cool now. Which is why you get all kinds of freaks calling themselves nerds XD

  5. OMG. I remember that movie and good old Molly whizzing up that dress. Funnily, I remember it being WAY more stylish than that picture reveals. How times change!

    I was so nerdy as a teen (in the 80s) that I used to wear my MOTHER'S nerdy clothes. I'm really embarrassed about that now. I started sewing when I was in Year 10, so I should have known (and done) better.

  6. I worried a lot about my oldest daughter when she started school, because she's always been *so* quick to pick up on what other people feel and think. Turns out, however, that she's also totally in touch with herself and has moved through several phases of her own quirky style, although she did succumb to the skinny jean this past year (she just turned 12). She proudly self-identifies as a nerd, even though really she's the furthest thing from socially awkward I've ever seen in a child. I mean, kid has my social skills beat by a mile. *I* was a nerd. I also sewed in high school, although only costume stuff. And wore thrift store clothes. Of course, it was cool at the time. Or I thought it was cool. Which might not be quite the same thing...

    Good luck figuring out the right amount of parental involvement/concern!

  7. I was a nerd too, though for some reason that wasn´t a problem at all. Maybe because I went to a school that was almost inside a university campus and most of the students were the professors´kids. Being creative wasn´t frowned upon... or maybe I was just oblivious to the fact I was a nerd! The funny thing is that I am considered more a nerd today. I live in a town in the contryside of Brazil where I don´t belong at all, where the women consider themselves to be fashion experts as long as they are wearing whatever the very trendy and famous local blogger wore yeasterday...and sewing is considered "servants " stuff. So you can imagine the looks I get when I do my own thing. As for kids, I don´t have any, but I am a teacher and I really try very hard to make the children accept who they really are and be in touch with themselves. It is veryvery difficult, but every once in a while you get to touch someone and see them grow up to be who they really are and not just another person who will be more worried about what others think of them than what they think of themselves...

  8. I grew up in the age of the hippie. It was very cool to sew your own unique clothes back then. Maxi dresses, bell bottoms, halter tops etc. Yep, it was cool to be a sewer back then... and still is.

  9. The first 'proper' thing I remember sewing at school with a gay friend of mine was a checked neon pink and green two-piece suit, in the Robert Smith style (loose, masculine). I wouldn't call that cool but it certainly was different! Pretty in Pink and all those types of movies are gold. I still watch them from time to time.

  10. Thanks for your comments everyone, it has been really interesting to hear how others tackle this problem! I think I am probably panicking too soon about this sort of stuff. At least one of the pluses of living in a small town is that we don't have any shopping malls to hang around in!

  11. Interesting to read your take on school, seeing as I went to school with you. :-) I didn't see you as a dag...and I remember we went to school with some doozies, haha, but you weren't one of them! I too sewed at school. I know some of the people thought they were better than most, (still do) and there were certain groups. Our year was very bitchy.
    My girls have never been in the most popular groups at school, but I have raised them not to care. They have outgoing personalities, and I have taught them to be themselves, to dress in what they like, not in what they think other people will like. I always tell them, "don't worry what other people think" I have said this since they started school, and they throw it back at me sometimes when I ask them what I look like in an outfit. Haha. I have always sewn clothes, still do. But isnt it funny, that sewing clothes is now very "cool" & "trendy"??
    Hopefully kids who are confident within themselves dont get classified as nerds or picked on :)