The Child and I are in Costco one day, and she finds a little running jacket that she likes: It has cuffs with thumb holes.
Why is this important, I ask.
Because all the other girls have them on their jackets.
It’s not expensive – it’s Costco, after all – so I buy it for her and she’s pleased, wearing the jacket to school daily. We talk a bit about clothing, specifically, What Everyone Is Wearing, and I learn that Lululemon is very popular with the teen girl crowd. I vaguely recall seeing one of their stores at the mall, and not going in because I thought they sold expensive yoga clothes. Neither of us does yoga, so why would we?
I suggest a couple of other companies I know of that make yoga type clothes that are a bit less expensive.
I know, she says. I looked at their websites.
We discuss this a bit more on the way to Goodwill on Friday evening (do I know how to live?) – they are having a designer accessory sale and I’m hoping for a cheap high-end handbag. What I find instead is a gorgeous suede bag that was $300 or so originally, now selling for $100; cheap is all relative. I wander around the store, trying to decide, or rather, to rationalize, but not even I can come up with a reason I might need another handbag. The Child starts filling a basket with clothes, and is soon loaded up with nearly-new Levis shorts and unworn red Keds. $3. $6. Jackpot! She leaves with a big bag of clothes, and my wallet is only $30 lighter.
She buzzes with delight as we head to a nearby pizza place, and as we are waiting for our pizzas, I look out the window at a store logo a few doors down. I think that’s a Lululemon logo, I say idly.
She jumps up. Can I go see? Can I go look inside?
I’m so startled, I reply, sure – and before I can remind her to come back quickly in case her pizza arrives, she’s off.
She returns a few minutes later, confirming that it is a Lululemon and asking if we can go after we eat, and I say, sure, why not? We get there, and I am mystified: There isn’t much to get excited about, because there isn’t much there: a few hoodies, some headbands, and some yoga tops and pants. There are only a few colors of each item; the only variation I can see in the pants is the trim on the waistband that I don’t think would even be seen when worn. The only thing that stands out to me is the price tags.
The Child takes one of the hoodies into a dressing room, and emerges looking – well, not special enough to warrant the price tag. It’s a hoodie.
It’s too big, says the sales clerk. We help her find one that fits her better – which isn’t hard, since they only have a couple of styles, it’s clearly a matter of size, not cut.
I wait as The Child disappears back into the dressing room, for a very long time. It’s not possible she’s taking that long to try on hoodies, and I suspect she’s taking selfies and possibly snapchatting them to friends, but I don’t ask, or call to her. I wait outside and chat with the clerk.
This seems to be popular at her school, I remark.
Oh yes, she tells me. It’s all the rage for the teenage girls. They’re here all the time.
I glance around at the hoodies and black pants and yoga tops, and a little glint catches my eye: The logo. It transports me to Gimbels in 1978, and the glint of a logo is all I can see, on the back of a pair of Sasson jeans. My mother tells me they look horrible on me, and they’re too expensive – a waste of money. But the other girls have them, or at least the girls worth noticing have them, and I think they look nice, because, after all, who notices any part of the jeans other than the logo? I want them desperately and all my mother has to say is no, no, no.
Can you help her out? I ask the clerk, who trots off and returns with a couple more hoodies. It takes an endless amount of time, but eventually The Child picks out The One – the one that’s a good color but not the same color as anyone else at her school. I pat myself on the back for choosing a small school to send her to.
She snapchats pictures of her in her new treasure to all her friends, who are all suitably impressed when she arrives to school in it. The Child is pleased by this, but equally pleased to discover that one of the girls – the one who can have all the Lululemon she wants, and every other important brand too – has asked her mom to go to Costco, so that she can have one of those jackets, too.