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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Moms, daughters bond by shopping

By Bonnie Bing
The Wichita Eagle

Starting at a young age, shopping for clothes with Mom is a bonding experience. This shopping ritual can last for decades, and the common thread can stretch to grandmothers, too. Many women remember a time when they shopped with their mom, found exactly what they were looking for and celebrated the purchase.

Mother’s Day is a good time to note that for centuries mothers and daughters have agreed, disagreed – and agreed to disagree – on fashion. Age doesn’t matter. In fact, it seems little girls are more fashion-conscious than ever. They might not care if they look trendy, but they do care if they are wearing what they picked out.

Checking in with a few local daughters, mothers, grandmothers and a great-grandmother about their own fashion sense – and their daughters’ – proved that the apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree. In the case of the 4-month-old girl who was “interviewed,” she mainly wanted to chew on the collar of her tiny jean jacket. But all the rest said they like to shop.

If you think that sewing clothes for daughters is a thing of the past, think again. Kim Edgington Keehn enjoys sewing for her daughters, 8-year-old Sasha and 9-year-old Caroline.

“So far, they’re appreciative,” Keehn said. “We really enjoy going to the fabric store.”

The morning of the photo shoot, Sasha told her mom that the Easter dress she was wearing was her “favorite dress ever.” When asked what she would never wear, Sasha said she wouldn’t ever wear jeans with holes in them, especially to church.

Alleigh Allen, who has a 4-month-old daughter, Gia, is thrilled to have a little girl to dress. Allen has been a fashion model for 18 years and, while she has an appreciation for the couture designs she has modeled in Milan and New York, she said that her favorite outfit in the world is far from that look.

“I love black off-the-shoulder tops, ripped-up jeans and diamonds,” she said. “I would love to wear that every day.”

She doesn’t think her daughter will want to model, but her daughter’s clothes are taking up a lot of her closet space.

“Gia has a real variety of clothes,” Allen said. “People love to buy baby clothes, and she’s been given so many cute things. I wouldn’t have to buy her anything, but I just have to, and I love to get her trendy stuff. She has skinny jeans and jean shorts, but it’s hard to find baby clothes in black.”

Allen said she’s looking forward to the day when she and Gia can shop together. And she’ll understand when Gia says “no” to a particular style.

When it comes to things this fashion-savvy model wouldn’t wear, she was quick to say “navy blue.”

“I don’t like it at all.” And maxi skirts and dresses. “I bought a maxi dress when I was pregnant and still couldn’t stand to put it on and wear it.”

Gia doesn’t like to wear shoes, but her mom is a fan of many styles.

“When I first had her, I wore my flats, but then I thought, shoot, I’m going back to my heels. And yes, I wear them to the grocery store.”

Gloria Hankins, who is Kim Keehn’s grandmother and Caroline and Sasha Keehn’s great-grandmother, said her high-heel-wearing days are pretty much over. She has, however, decided on her personal fashion look: “Do they have one called ‘hit and miss’? Because I think that’s me,” she said with a chuckle. After seeing the styles for many seasons, she says she couldn’t help but notice that many styles she sees the Keehn females wear have come back from seasons past.

“I just bought a dress, just a simple sheath dress, and it’s like one I had years and years ago,” Hankins said.

But what does she like to wear day in and day out? Jeans.

“They’re comfortable, and they’re practical,” she said.

Hankins’ daughter, Lynn Hankins, also observes fashion.

“I like to take a look at the high-end styles,” she said. “That’s how I like to check the trends, then I look for it in less-expensive brands.”

The fabric store is where these ladies from four generations can be found deciding on the perfect fabric.

“For myself, I like classic looks, and I like to wear things more than one season,” Kim Keehn said. “I hate that skinny jeans look, and I won’t wear it. And I refuse to wear pantyhose.”

Caroline Keehn is perhaps the least interested in fashion of this group.

“My favorite color is turquoise blue,” she said. “I like simple stuff. Just shorts and T-shirts. I don’t really like to be fancy.” A Kansas State University fan, she said the one thing she would never wear is a KU T-shirt.

Hailey Colborn, 11, likes to dress up, but said she couldn’t do without her shorts and floral tank tops. She likes to shop with her mom “sometimes” and says they usually agree on what looks good.

“The best part of being a daughter is being able to bond with your mom and that close relationship,” she said.

Hailey’s mom, Denise Colborn, says she loves to shop and spend time with her daughter doing “girly things.”

“I like her taste in fashion,” she said. “She isn’t going to choose something that is risque or too revealing.”

The daughters interviewed seemed to have a good sense of what their moms liked when it came to fashion. Hailey Colborn said she thought her mom was well-dressed.

“I like her black-and-white dress. It looks really nice on her,” she said.

Reach Bonnie Bing at 316-268-6246 or bbing@wichitaeagle.com.

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