I’m pretty sure that by now we’re all familiar, or at least, acquainted with that mild sting of disappointment and resentment that we experience whenever our parents subject us to a session of mild taunts and heavy jests while they poke fun or ridicule at an outfit choice.
Whether it’s our chokers, ripped jeans, ombre hair tips or grey lipstick, they always have something to say while completely disregarding the ludicrousness of the trends back in their heyday (although, to be fair, bell-bottom jeans are slowly but surely easing their way back on the scene).
I remember all too well the day i returned back from my six-month stint in Bandung, Indonesia with a fresh septum ring the size of a tiny doorknob hanging from my nose. Most kids are filled with dread at the thought of the wrath of their parents at their children’s choice in facial jewelry. I, on the other hand, was dragging my feet off the plane for a completely different reason. And rightly so. Not only was i greeted with peals of laughter, i was also made to endure an entire week’s worth of cow jokes from my family. I’m glad everyone found it all so “amoosing”.
So i thought i’d dedicate a post for all the fashion-forward clothes that i can envision myself leaving the house in or have tried to wear a variant of at some point paired with the reactions of my parents. These are mostly fictitious examples of my parents’ responses but believe me when i say, i write out of experience. All of these things have been said to my face at one point or another. I’m not being imaginative or exaggerating, simply realistic.
Welcome to an insight of what it’s like to be a “fashion forward” kid in a typical Asian household.
Fashion example #1: Culottes
“But mum, they’re so comfy!
Mum: “No, no, you look like ahjumma. So ugly”
** Asian mother speak for “I would like to have grandkids eventually at one point in my life so could you please stop dressing like a spinster in advance”.
Note: Has never been to Korea but thinks she’s watched enough Korean reality tv to know what qualifies to be an ahjumma.
Fashion example #2: Capes
Dad: Eh what’s this! You look like that, like that, what’s that called ah? *starts humming the opening tune to Sesame Street*
Me: I wouldn’t expect you to understand, dad! It’s fash-
Dad: Ah! Elmo!
Fashion example #3: Crop tops
Dad: Um girl, i think your shirt is too small for you. And what’s this, i can see your belly button. Later masuk angin ah, better cover with scarf (really, dad, a scarf?)
Me: But dad, it’s a crop top! It’s supposed to be short!
Dad: Haiyah what’s this. Then better suck it in.
Me: I already am!
Dad: *glances at my tummy disbelievingly*
Fashion example #4: Fur loafers
“But mum, it’s the trend now!”
Mum: “What is this, like bedroom slippers not bedroom slippers liddat.”
Dad: “OMG ARE YOU WEARING HACHIKO?! Hachiko, are you okay?! Hachiko, where are you?!”
*Hachiko is the name of the family cat.
Fashion example #5: Rompers
Fashion example #6: Floral blouses
Dad: Eh girl, are you wearing Ah Ma’s tablecloth kah? Har har har
I can’t help it if i have similar tastes in clothing as my grandmothers! Their outfits are always so comfortable and so extra with the bunga-bungas. And not to mention, like, super practical with their colourful stirrup tights.
Although once, a long while back i went to give my grandmother a ride to the supermarket. I was wearing a hideous old t-shirt and faded sweats with my hair in a loose half ponytail and my grandmother actually said to me, “Ahh machiam ini baru bagus ah, Yenyen. Tidak payah pakai itu makeup tebal-tebal, kasut tinggi-tinggi” (this was back when i still wore heels).
I’ve never been more insulted in my life.