I can remember two times in my life when my dad bought me clothes.
Ultimately, he provided financially for our family and therefore was paying for all of the clothes. And sure, there were some times when he was with my mom and me as we shopped. But two times in particular were all him.
The first time was when I was about six years old. He bought me a fur coat that cost too much. I am my daddy’s only girl, and this was one of his first attempts to remind me that I was his princess. My mom advised against the purchase. She knew it was frivolous and that it would only fit for a short while, but dad decided that was the day to spoil me.
My family had enough money when I was growing up to buy me nice clothes. But my mom was a bargain shopper too, so we had our mix of nice resale shop items and overly priced designer and matching Christmas apparel.
When I was in high school, I started going to debate tournaments. Real debaters wore suits, and this was not something the normal teenage girl happens to have in her closet. So my mom took me to a resale shop and bought me a sort of grayish suit. It fit me well, but it looked like it should be worn by a 50-year-old woman.
Before too long, it was obvious that debate and public speaking were kind of my things. My dad often came to tournaments to watch me compete. He loved to talk to me about different rounds and things that happened. He really got in my world and supported me 100 percent. I remember being a bit embarrassed at times as he would glowingly brag to friends about me.
You wouldn’t think it would be on a guy’s radar, but I guess my dad knew I was tired of wearing that old musty gray suit. So one day before my senior year when it was just the two of us, he took me to a nice clothing store. This was the kind of store where you’re greeted at the door by a salesperson that will work with you to find what you need. This was not where I usually shopped with my mom. That day he told me we were looking at suits. I quickly found a bright red suit that looked sharp and modern. It looked like something a confident young professional would wear. The sales assistant helped us with the size and the alterations that were needed. The price tag was a bit steep compared to most of the items in my closet. But that day it didn’t matter.
This was probably the only time in my teen years I remember clothes shopping with my dad. That red suit always meant something special to me. It meant that my dad was proud of me and valued my activities and talents. That he wanted me to keep on with debate and that he wanted me to look and feel my best while I competed. He wanted me to know that I was worth that red suit, but he let me know that I was valued and worth so much more than that.