No mere shop this. No, this was a sophisticated outlet, catering for the more discerning fashionista.
Despite this, I went in.
Those who know me well will be the first to admit that when it comes to fashion, indeed to attire in general, I am detached at best.
Scruffy and inelegant would be fair descriptions of me, and though I try to deceive myself that my style shows a certain nonchalance, the truth of the matter is that my fashion sense sucks.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t appreciate style. If I see someone walking down the street looking stylish and individual, then I can appreciate it. Perhaps even more so, because it isn’t a talent I possess myself – the art of stylish dressing.
Unfortunately, my ineptitude in this department has also crossed over to my daughter, Helena. Too young to dress herself, she must rely on me to make a sartorial statement on her behalf.
The result being, she is often mistaken for a boy…..
And so it was in this boutique.
I should point out here that I was in a children’s clothes store.
Boutique sounds so adult, so a la mode, so sophisticated, it seems implausible it should be used for a kids’ store. But there you go. Such is the subtle, fickle nature of the fashion world.
Boutiques have evidently branched out into fresh markets since I was last inside one and today’s kids are clearly more fashion conscious and discerning than I realised.
So I browse the store while the shop assistant casts a bemused eye over Helena’s ensemble. Lots of stripes and colours and blue jeans. Tom boy chic is how they could market it I suppose.
He asks how old he is, and I tell him SHE is one.
“Ahhh” is all the reply he can muster.
Browsing through the rails I am taken aback at the amount of black there is. Sombre, edgy outfits seem to be the only thing available.
And all I want is a raincoat. Some cheerful little jacket to help fend off the rain and the winter blues.
I ask the assistant what they have in the waterproof department. Something sturdy and easy to clean. You know, something that can survive the battering a one year old will give it.
He nods sagely and produces a few pieces, with a definite flourish and flick of the wrist.
A little black, leather looking all in one suit and a matching jacket.
The kind of thing a Hell’s Angel would wear. Only minituarised.
“They’re a bit, you know, black….” I stutter.
“Oh but black is very in this autumn for the wee ones.”
His enthusiasm and conviction are impressive, but I am still a little unsure.
“The winter is dark enough. Do you not have anything in red, say?”
No, no red.
Perhaps that was last season then?….
For the hell of it, we get Helena into one of the biker outfits, just for amusements sake.
Apparently she looks “great” but I’m not so sure.
Do I really want my daughter to look like some mini hellraiser?
I politely decline further assistance and explain that I don’t really get fashion.
“All I want is a bright, plastic mac really….”
The assistant shrugs and gives Helena a friendly ruffle of the hair. Clearly he sympathises with her plight.
For while all the hip young things will be smooching about in their gothic ensembles this winter, there will be Helena, all kitted out in the pink plastic raincoat, decorated with butterflies, that we found in a store further up the road.
And while she may not be trendy, at least the sheer pinkness of it should ensure she stops getting mistaken for a boy…..