I'm not gonna lie, when I was 14 years old - the age 'tween sweetheart Miley Cyrus was in the picture above - I threw this same coy expression at older men in grocery stores, sneaked second-glances at my Father's tweed-'n'-leather-elbow-patched colleagues as I took their coats at our annual holiday party, and of course, then there was the meticulously built Gene Hackman shrine before which I knelt each night to pray to whomever was listening that I might one day have the opportunity to take him in all his Avery-in-"The Firm" glory and...well, yeah.
And as my parents like to remind me on occasion with hung heads and incredulous "how did she come from us?" expressions, there was the incident with my 8th grade volleyball coach, Mr. F., to whom I once responded, "But we just met, didn't we?" when he quite forcefully asked me to remove my shoe after I'd just fractured my left ankle in my first girl-on-girl collision.
Point is, I'm not here to criticize little Miss Hannah Montana for her precociousness. I grew up with ultra-normal parents and an ultra-normal brother in ultra-normal Norman, OK and Okemos, MI, not among the ranks of Nashville and Hollywood celebrities with my own hit TV show and platinum record, and still, my hormones raged hard, fast, early and insatiably. Environmental factors may have something to do with the acceleration of a child's proclivity for (ahem) hormonal exploration, but they certainly aren't the only determinant. That being said, when it comes to the very newly-minted 15 year old MiCy, there's no achy-breaky argument about it, she's firmly in the fast lane to big-girl-dom in her fabulously tacky $690 Louboutins (shoes that ironically smack of a 4th grade art project) whether she likes it, wants it or not.
Where I have an issue - a major one - is when this so-called "sweet," "innocent," "wholesome," celebriteen steps out wearing this:
From a figure-flattering standpoint, she looks great. Absolutely great. The dress flatters her toned legs, highlights her defined shoulders, hugs her just-the-right-size-for-strapless cup-size perfectly -- I could go on and on about how women like Paula Abdul, Tara Reid and Beyoncé could all afford to take a page or two from this one's book. Her Nuj Novakhett mini isn't my favorite dress by any means, and I shake my head in distress at the shoes, but overall, I offer this look some of my highest praise for a young star still nascent in the process of defining her personal style.
And for a pre-show appearance at the American Music Awards, I can't think of a more venue-appropriate color and cut. Definitely an 'A' grade in that category as well.
My disappointment doesn't lie with Miley for wanting to don a dress with such a grown-up neck and hemline - after all, I know with right certainty I would've greeted Jeff S. at my front door in that same get-up for freshman Homecoming if I had the chance - rather it's geared toward the parents who allowed her to make that decision.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, one of the most meaningful lessons my Mother imparted to me, especially during my style-formative teenage years, is one I still carry with me every day as a 27 year old, and that is to dress thoughtfully and with consideration to how those around me will perceive my selection.
If you want to fill the girl-next-door void convincingly, Ms. Cyrus, let's try a little more Mandy and a little less cleavage next time.
And the time after that, too.