Kim Bongiorno is an author, freelance writer, and blogger. Best known for her popular blog LetMeStartBySaying and Facebook Page, she has also been published in three books, all while writing for sites such as InThePowderRoom, The Huffington Post and others. Kim lives in New Jersey with her handsome husband and two charmingly loud kids.

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Dress Shopping with a Six-Year-Old Stylist

There was no way I could get out of it: I had to take at least one kid dress shopping with me. Maybe even two.

My brother’s wedding was coming up, and I was pretty sure that old yoga pants and a stained tee weren’t appropriate attire. I had to step up my game. A purchase was unavoidable.

I weighed the pros and cons of bringing both kids versus just my youngest, decided to spare my eight-year-old son the sight of his mother in her underpants, and prepared for the task of dress shopping with a six-year-old.

While my daughter was in her much-too-short morning kindergarten session, I pulled on my best nude strapless bra and coordinating bike-shorts-shaper underwear, then packed a bag with water, snacks, crayons, and a selection of coloring books. I hydrated myself, stretched, and arrived at school pick-up with a lunch for her to nibble on in the car on the way to Lord & Taylor.

As I parked the car in the quiet midday lot, I employed the You Can Be My Helper! method of surviving errands with kids, complete with promise of great reward (bribe) afterwards.

Luckily, I already owned sparkly sandals and a collection of accessories to compliment anything I should bring home that day. All I needed was a dress.

How hard could it be? I had a Helper!

The first twenty steps or so that we took into the store were pleasant. Then she started talking. And talking.

And taking her job a bit too seriously.

And excitedly dashing into the high-end designer racks to grab me a $1300 dress with her dirty hands that she thought “is PERFECT Mama!” I discreetly explained that it was at least $1200 over our budget, and steered her towards things more cotton and polyester than beaded and runway-worthy.

Each time she had an opinion, question, or thought something “is. So. UGLY, Mama!” she advised me so in a volume akin to asking the guy next to you at a Metallica concert to stop whipping you with his dirty hair before you clock him.

Very, very loudly.

I “Mmm-hmm”d and “Shhhh!”d her through the entire Ladies’ Section, then, with arms full of long, summery frocks, hustled her into a changing room, where she dumped the coloring supplies and sprawled out on the floor between me and the mirror.

Then the (top-volume) questions began:

“How many dresses are you gonna buy? Are we rich? “
“HAHAHA! Why are you wearing shorts, Mama?”
“Why can’t I say ‘I can see your butt crack” when I can see your butt crack?”
“Why is your back so crumply? It’s like bumpity-bump-bump all up and down and…CRUMPLY, Mama.”
“When I’m 37, will my belly wiggle like that?”
“Why can’t I toot in here? What?? Stop saying what – ‘TOOT’??”
“Are you done yet?”

Covered in sweat, I wrestled through the twenty or so dresses, not realizing that the biggest trend that season was Boxy and Unflattering, while trying my darnedest to patiently dodge the battery of extremely loud inquiries my daughter kept making about my undressed aging body and bank account.

Miraculously, one of the last dresses met all of my requirements: it fit, was breezy, and did not make me look like a vertical loaf of bread.

My daughter did not approve. She had her eyes on a blue striped number that was hotter than an un-air-conditioned whorehouse, so it took about five minutes of deliberations to persuade my pint-sized stylist that I was, in fact, the person in charge here, and we would be leaving with the black-and-white strapless one.

We both went home and had a Nappuccino to recover from the outing.

On the wedding day itself, I shook my head at the memory of how long and laborious it was for me to find a dress with just a single kid in tow. Then my daughter popped on an old dress she borrowed from a friend, and looked so cute she completely stole the show.

I guess I could’ve just worn those old yoga pants and tee, after all.

Have you recently shopped with your kids in tow? How did it go?

Dress Shopping with a 6yo Kim Bongiorno of @LetMeStart on @TodaysMama

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Comments (31)

  1. Egyvu 06/06/2016 at 10:01 am

    that’s just awful!

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  3. Richa 07/21/2013 at 5:46 am

    Oh dear! I never take my toddler in the changing room while we’re shopping. He entertains his dad. Though he always slips into the bedroom when I’m getting ready for an outing. That too I wish to change.

    I can’t take my body being subject to a teeny weeny guys’ comments.

  4. Suburban Snapshots 07/19/2013 at 8:41 pm

    It is SUCH a tease that we can’t see the damned dress.

  5. Caffeinated Chronicles 07/18/2013 at 5:35 pm

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I too have a 6 year old daughter. She too is a fashionista. This is my fault. I’ve loved having a little girl so much that I throw Gymboree and even some Persnickety at her by the bag full. She loves clothes. AND SHOES. And if that girl so much as sees me in a new piece of clothing. Oh the squealing. All complimentary thankfully. My derriere remains a mystery to my children lol.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 8:33 pm

      I hope I don’t have to shop with my assistant any time again soon, and I am a modest gal who prefers her butt crack and crumply back to be a mystery to her kids. This Fall they both are finally in full-day school, so I don’t have too much longer to wait!

  6. Kelly 07/18/2013 at 2:55 pm

    I have boys, so I WISH I could go shopping with a little girl! However, one time when my now 14 y.o. was about 5, he was with me shopping, and he leaned over and patted me on my, um, backside, saying very loudly, “I love you big mama”! I could hear the snickers in the other dressing rooms!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 8:31 pm

      I had a few, shall we saw, Audience Members in the dressing room who seemed to enjoy our entertainment that day. *sigh* At least someone was amused, right? 😉

  7. TK 07/18/2013 at 2:41 pm

    This was a fun read, mostly because I don’t have a six year old yet! the funny thing that happens when I change with my toddler in the trial room is that he thinks it’s breastfeeding time!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 8:30 pm

      My kids are 22 months apart, and I used to have to take them shopping all the time. So shushing an infant and keeping a toddler from climbing the walls. Good times!

  8. jenn 07/18/2013 at 12:25 pm

    I just took my 7yo shopping with me last week – we were going for a mommy-daughter pedi (DO NOT START YOURS DOWN THIS PATH if you haven’t already…) and we had time to kill before our appointment.

    I will admit, my daughter has always had fab taste, although her personal style runs towards glitter/sequins/pink/purple/unicorns, she is a bit more restrained for me. I was trying on a maxi dress that unfortunately the size -4 salesperson was also wearing, and I was pleasantly surprised to find she was right, it WAS flattering on me…and then I realized there was a cutout above the waist, like on a racerback swimsuit. My 7yo squinted, saying, you know, maybe it DOESN”T look so good there. its a bit lumpy.

    She saved me $100.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 12:31 pm

      Yeah, I have a very important question: what the HEZZLE is with all the cutouts these days? And the cropped shirts? Why are they making it impossible for us to dress modestly, or at least not show our thick-strapped nude supportive bra to the world? WHY??!?!

  9. Hillary 07/18/2013 at 11:45 am

    My daughter only ever approves if its pink or sparkly, so I feel ya. And last time I took her in the dressing room she went on and on about the thong I was wearing. Next time I’ll wear bike shorts. You is smart.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:49 am

      OH YES. Pink + glitter = a winner. Unfortunately for her, I’m not into pink or glitter. I’m a fashion sinner in her eyes.

  10. Kimberly 07/18/2013 at 10:59 am

    Don’t you love (not) their honesty? Reminds me of the time my youngest called me a Sea Cow. I kid you not.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:48 am

      OMG, I am sorry but I can’t stop laughing! Ohhh boy…that’s just awful! LOL!

  11. Alexa (Kat Biggie) 07/18/2013 at 10:41 am

    This is hilarious! And no, if I can avoid taking my kids, I do, for all the reasons listed above! I love the description of the blue dress being hotter than an un-air-conditioned whorehouse!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:48 am

      It was stifling. Cute, but stifling.
      I love summer camp, because now I can actually do things without the pint-sized play-by-play!

  12. Evil Joy 07/18/2013 at 8:53 am

    OMG – I am going dress shopping today for a wedding on Saturday. I’m sure I will have 3+ kids with me. And will need a margarita when I’m done!!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:47 am

      Yes, you will. YOU ABSOLUTELY WILL.

  13. MomChalant 07/18/2013 at 8:42 am

    I almost always have to take my son shopping with me. And he insists on farting in the dressing room so everyone thinks it’s me when I walk out to check myself out in the mirror.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:46 am

      Of COURSE you blame it on him. Sneaky girl.

  14. HouseTalkN 07/18/2013 at 8:16 am

    I hate shopping alone, much less with a commentator!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:46 am

      And I don’t think the kid breathes. She just talktalktalktalktalks the whooooolle tiiimmme.

  15. Nicole Leigh Shaw 07/18/2013 at 8:04 am

    Yes, the loud questions about my jiggly parts are always fun. And when they stand between me and the mirror, vamping.

    I can’t believe you made it out alive, never mind with an acceptable frock.

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:46 am

      I needed a long nap afterwards. Like when you’re done fighting a battle, only more exhausting.

  16. Courtney 07/18/2013 at 7:49 am

    Ha! This is exactly what happens when I take my 6 year old shopping. It’s hard to be faced with the harsh yet true reality of her perception. Perfect laugh for this morning

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:45 am

      Thankfully I’m not exactly the sensitive type. It was hard not to laugh when she looked so exasperated at my “crumpliness.”

  17. Surprise Mama 07/18/2013 at 7:36 am

    I am not there yet, but I know that it will happen soon. What a riot!

    • Kim Bongiorno 07/18/2013 at 11:44 am

      Their opinions make themselves clear before you even know what happened. 😉

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