Listen, I’m a grown woman, and I’d like to believe I’m an intelligent one. I understand physics enough to have a rudimentary understanding of how socks are made, and why the seam is right along the toes.
That does not mean I have to like it.
I have been wearing socks on and off (as I should hope everyone does) for 23 years, and for 23 years I have always turned them inside out first, because I cannot for the life of me get past that seam. The way it rubs against my toes with every step I take is awful, the way it is always uneven on my foot and doesn’t line up is more awful, and the way it just sits against my foot when I’m not moving and doesn’t let me forget it is the absolute worst. It’s the fabric equivalent of sitting on a bus and having your arm against that of the person right next to you the entire time.
This is one of the biggest struggles I have when it comes to my Aspergers; my sense of touch is very picky, it picks up everything, and it lets me forget nothing. If I’m wearing something and a tag or a seam starts bothering me, I cannot ignore it until I forget about it. That little bother will stay there and make sure that I know it’s there, and I have been known to race to my room to change if my clothes have bothered me enough.
The nice thing about the sock issue, at least, is that people rarely notice that my socks are inside out. I wear solid colors and my shoe usually hides most of them, and nobody’s going to be staring at my socks to inspect for anything suspect. (I hope. That would be really, really weird.)
That is not the case with shoes.
I’m the absolute worst when it comes to shoes. I don’t like heels, I don’t like laces, I don’t like the tongues on most sneakers. Moving parts in my shoes are a distraction even with socks, and one I can’t tune out the way most people can. The end result is that every pair of shoes I own is some iteration of a slip-on, or it’s a flip-flop.
Or, in one case, literal slippers. But I don’t go outside in those, so they don’t count.
Clothes shopping for me is always fun; the good news is I know what I like, but the bad news is that cargo pants have been out of style for years. So instead I’m relying on the most relaxed pants I can find or boot-cut jeans. (Skinny jeans are leg jail. They’re very pretty, but they’re leg jail. I cannot wear them without imagining being slowly eaten by a boa constrictor.)
The other thing I have to worry about is how I treat my clothes, or at least I did in the past; I’ve gotten a little better. You see, the issue with being fussy about clothes is that when you find something you like, you tend to like it a lot. You wear it more often than your other clothes, and once it’s washed you wear it again.
I will be the first to admit that I have refused to get rid of comfortable clothes until they were falling apart on me. I have had shorts begging for death with frayed seams and re-sewn buttons, and my response to their pleas has been “just one more wear.”
So here comes the advice portion of the article, and what I’m going to say is simple:
If you like something, buy a lot of it.
I understand this may be financially tricky. Clothes are absurdly expensive sometimes, but if you can find clothes that are comfortable for you or your child and you can afford them, buy in multiples. Two pairs of shorts will not be enough – get four, maybe even five, and get them in different colors. (Be wary, though – different clothes may mean different fabrics, and may not work the same. Try on a lot.) Try to identify what does and does not irritate your kid and work with it. Put a good shirt they really like on their birthday list!
I have one more word of advice: take care of those clothes, and try to have enough variety that they don’t wear the same thing too repeatedly. Just ask my poor shorts.