Wardrobe Malfunction

By Debbie Baldwin

 So Cranky is fourteen and like most fourteen-year-olds she goes to dances. These events are pretty much the same as they’ve always been. I actually think I recognized one of the instructors the other night from when I attended. They’re in the same venues at the same times and the kids learn many of the same dances, well not the popcorn or the hustle, say some of the same dances. What is different about these dances—and all teenage social events—is Facebook. Please to explain.

            Cranky informed me last week that the last League Dance was the following Friday and she had, of course, nothing to wear. When I pointed to the closet teeming with skirts and dresses she explained to me that she had worn this dress or that to a party last month and despite the fact that none of the same kids would be at this dance, she couldn’t wear it again because “everybody had seen her in it on Facebook.”

            Hmmm. It occurs to me that the retail industry owes Facebook a debt of gratitude. The site has turned little girls everywhere into Gwyneth Paltrow at awards’ season. What’s next? Are they going to be changing outfits mid-party as the pictures are tagged like Liz Taylor at her last wedding? Even Anna Wintour re-wears dresses for God’s sake. What are my options here? Could there be a disposable dress? A one-use frock that the girls could, say, compost after wearing? It could be sort of a preppy hemp.

            Is it time for the Bedazzler to make a comeback? You know, she could wear the dress once and then I would sew a giant flower on the shoulder or line the hem with rhinestones. By the time I’m done with it, Cranky will look like Molly Ringwald at prom. Perhaps a stylish accessory change up would do the trick. Can we take the age old custom of sharing to a new level? All the moms pull up to the school parking lot with a trunk load of dresses and the girls have at it—sort of an open air Filene’s Basement.

I don’t have an answer. Really since it’s Facebook’s fault Facebook should provide a solution. The girls should be able to go online and photoshop their clothes. Their virtual wardrobes would triple. I guess the good news is that there is such an avalanche of information hitting these kids as they social network that party ABC is forgotten as soon as pictures from party DEF are posted. Having too much information becomes the equivalent of having none. The trick is to know when everybody has forgotten about the last dance or party, and then wear the dress again.