What is the right thing to wear when you are meeting a new baby? As is the case with most questions of dress, the answer depends on the nature of the occasion.
If you are planning for example, on giving birth to the baby, something wipe-down and waterproof may be in order. This may also be the case if you are going to be present when he or she first makes an appearance. But if your visit is merely social, then considerations of practicality can play second fiddle.
For a recent morning appointment with a sweet and precious brand-new girl I chose florals, and plenty of them. As a rule I don't much wear clothes with flowers on them. They either look twee, or they overwhelm me. But there's something about babies, all that newness, that makes you want to reach for something blooming.
I had just the right dress for the occasion; a vintage, rose-splashed number with buttons up the back and a big old-fashioned bow-tie around the middle. Not a dress to be worn lightly, less a garment more of a bouquet.
I am no shrinking violet when it comes to wearing bright colours, but when I saw my reflection in it, I faltered. I looked like a two-legged garden party. Still, babies call for flowers. I didn't want to look too formal though, so I wore some blue kung-fu shoes, and a denim jacket with it.
If it sounds as though perhaps too much thought went into this outfit, that would be accurate. Rationally, I know it doesn't matter what I wear to meet an infant, the other party being unequipped to assess my outfit, or know what clothes are, even. But I was nervous. I don't know why that was, except that this baby is an important baby, and I will never again meet her for the first time ever. I had butterflies in my stomach getting on the Link bus.
When I am nervous like this, it is a comfort to know that I am at least wearing the right clothes for the occasion. In the past, I have worn clothes that were not the right clothes on several different significant occasions. I went up to collect my university degree in a purple lace vest top and khaki combat skirt with a slit up the middle. Granted, this was the 90s and I had a long black academic cape to hide it, but there was nothing to obscure the horror a few years earlier when I wore a powder-blue culotte pants-suit to make my confirmation. It is fair to say, I have not always brought my best sartorial form to meet the big moments.
But I need not have worried about this one. Baby was wearing stripes when I got there. They put her in my arms and we clashed beautifully. It was a good look, for a first meeting. Stripes and flowers are always an excellent beginning.
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