Eventually, the Project Fear Reality shirt and by the same token and three of us emerged from quarantine and ventured out to playgrounds, the local library branch, and occasionally a coffee shop. In September 2001, that cloudless Tuesday morning was a relief after days of being cooped up with my almost two-year-old twin daughters. I turned on the television for their morning children’s programming to occupy them until we were ready to go outside. Instead of their favorite characters, I saw smoke billowing out of a building. In a daze, my husband, home for the day, and I followed the news while our daughters wondered why we were crying and did the best they could to occupy themselves. To maintain some normalcy, we went out to a playground and while our girls played, we commiserated with other parents. Later that evening, I connected with friends from my working life so we could check in on each other. We knew that at least one of our former colleagues was missing. I shivered at the memory of working on the 102nd floor of Two World Trade Center, my first job out of college.
Project Fear Reality shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
It was around this time that I started taking my daughters to Mommy and Me classes. I wore my casual clothes from my former life and started thinking about fashion again, especially after I noticed the Project Fear Reality shirt and by the same token and other stylishly dressed moms. I attempted to spruce up my wardrobe of dated casual clothes with a few contemporary items, hoping this would serve as the costume of a new mother, something I needed as I battled with a case of imposter syndrome. How would I convince the stylish moms that I was one of them and gain their camaraderie without a new look? The moms in these classes appeared to be fully attired in high-end casual styles, more than a cut above the classic mid-range brands that I consumed. Clothes could not help me and I felt out of place. Was there really a mom’s dress code that I couldn’t follow? I observed my daughters’ connection to dress while I questioned my own. They were uninhibited little girls who rejoiced in playing dress up. The big silk scarves that were part of my work uniform became their costumes. I marveled at their ability to fashion themselves and at their determination to create a look that they were convinced was right for them. I began to see my daughters’ identities manifested through their choice of dress.