Navigating the world of fashion … times three

Photo by Tabitha Goodling A recent photo of the Goodling triplets posing in new clothing from a shopping trip: Lily dressed in a “comfy” sweater; Hope in her signature blue, and Melinda showing off the bling of accessories (bracelet, necklace) and her new blouse.

Raising a 9-year-old girl in today’s world of “fashion” can be overwhelming.

It was only two years ago I wrote a column for this spring edition about my oldest becoming a tween. She is now about to be 12. And those triplets of mine are on the verge of tweendom. This fall they will be 10.

And it is the start of diva syndrome times three.

They are now all about what they wear.

Every morning is a fashion show with commentary. They are 9-and-a-half years old and in third grade, and somehow it matters what hairstyle coordinates best with which blouse.

Hope likes to be neat, and she likes to be certain that colors coordinate. Melinda is about the accessories. She loves bracelets and necklaces and puts her hair in fancy braids.

Lily likes comfort. She does not like it if a shirt feels too snug or jeans rub the wrong way.

The three of them have shared a closet all of their lives, even though Melinda sleeps next door with Lydia.

Recently, we decided the closet in Hope and Lily’s room could not hold anymore. So we moved Melinda’s clothing into her own room (much to Lydia’s dismay).

Melinda happily took her accessories with her and keeps them in a jewelry box near her bed.

The other two girls are not so fond of their clothes still side by side. Even though their styles are different, they wear the same size (Melinda is a size smaller), and they fight over clothing.

For a long time I had bought three of the same thing for just about everything, maybe just changing the colors to differentiate among the three girls. Hope is always blue. Melinda likes green or pink, and Lily loves purple.

They received gift cards for Christmas which meant I needed to take them shopping. I recruited my mother-in-law and a great-aunt to help with the journey.

The days of picking out a “cute” outfit with barely any reaction from the triplets has moved on. They used to care less and wanted to head to the toy aisle.

Now they comb through the racks, wrinkle their noses and beg to have what is not within budget.

I have said in these columns before that I will not pay $30 for little girl jeans.

Needless to say, the shopping trip was long and dramatic, not to mention we had the queen of clothing drama along as well — Lydia.

I have found that allowing them to search for their own clothing — however overwhelming that may be — helps with managing the fight over clothing. Lily will choose a pink fleece pullover while Hope chooses the bluest of blue elegant-looking blouses. I believe everything Hope purchased that day was blue. That’s OK with me, because Lily is not a huge fan of blue.

Melinda found it difficult to find something “grown up” that fits. She is more than 20 pounds lighter than her sisters, and so clothing designed for girls her age sometimes fall right off her shoulders and hips.

This leads to scowls and tears.

Thankfully Melinda was able to find some blouses that fit nicely with a cami underneath. That is our fashion secret for our petite triplet. We wear layers. This is sometimes the case for the other two as well. Sometimes the blouses are designed a bit short for the size. My girls do not like to raise their arms and have their belly revealed. So once again the cami comes in handy.

Slim and trim Melinda also requires a belt with her outfits. The length of the pants may be perfect, but even after pulling in the elastic adjusters in the waistband, the pants are still loose.

While mornings still bring chaos of who is wearing what and what belongs to whom, it is not as dramatic. Melinda has her own space and no longer gets in the middle of her sisters. The other two are slowly discovering their personal style is not necessarily as interesting to their identical sister.

Hope likes to change things up, while Lily could wear the same blouse twice in one week just because it is so comfortable.

Lastly, I could not write this column without sharing that modesty is top priority here. No belly shirts. No short shorts in the summer. No spaghetti straps without a blouse or sweater on top. And no short skirts/dresses.

The girls are very good about this and will point out to one another if too much of anybody part is showing. They even remind me!

I hope this shopping stuff gets better over time as we navigate into the teen years. Triplet teenage girls. That will have to be a book instead of merely a column.