I, like many of you Parlouristas, love my mom (or mamma figure) through and through. Outside of being generally hilarious, one thing that I can always count on Connie for is her taste for style. She’s no Stepford wife/mom, but she’s also not rocking Juicy Couture or Apple Bottoms. I’ve never had to endure and ugly holiday sweaters, rollers & bathrobes or generally embarrassing fashion moments with herâ€”she’s always consistently looking fly. So a year or so ago, because she lives over 500 miles away, I went online and purchased a gift for mom, and somehow she started to get the catalog of the company I ordered from. No big deal, she loves the store and hates crowds…but then came more catalogs…and then the hollow-point bullet of Black American fashion arrived on hers (and my) doorstep : ASHRO.
Parlour is no stranger to the world of Especially Yours and ASHRO aka “You don’t have to be the first lady of your church to look like one” gear. If you ever want to see a full-live ASHRO fashion show, down to the wigs and shoes, check out your nearest Black mega-church or Tyler Perry play. While I don’t look down on the gear and it’s consumer, its just not mine nor my mom’s tasteâ€”or so I thought. While on the phone, she told me she was flipping through it, commenting “oh that’s cute” and “hmm, I wish I could try that on” I casually asked her what she was looking at. At the name ASHRO, my heart kinda sank and thoughts of Alzheimers and senility flashed through my head. I picked myself up (keep in mind this is all in a matter of five seconds) and went online to see what she was looking at. While her selection was actually kinda nice, I realized…this is a problem. I’ve deemed the gold leather jacket and pants ensemble at the top of my “not while I’m still alive” list.
Your mom is cool, she thinks she’s fly, funky and fresh. And while she may or may not have a closet full of St. John & Sunny Names suits, don’t underestimate the power of the ‘RO. I found myself looking at the site for well over an hour at the cornucopia of wigs, matching hats & shoes, afrocentric caftans ( are they flammable?) and shoes with fur on them. It’s fascinating. Seeing how the selection is targeted to women about 40+, I wonder – is this what’s next for young Black women? Are we to suddenly start rocking huge hats and bedazzled jean jackets and the Ginger Pant when we reach a certain age? Only time will tell, but until then, if you see ASHRO in your family home during home visits, quietly dispose of it as soon as possible. Your mom, and the woman who sits behind her at church, will thank you.