As a pregnant woman, I loved browsing kids’ departments for clothes. I had a vision of a cute kid wearing a well-coordinated outfit. The first year of his life, my son practically lived in pajamas, and then I had about another year to dress him the way I liked before he developed some very strong fashion preferences. Soon he turned up his nose at all of my favorite outfits, and would sob if he left the house dressed in something he hated.
I learned quickly that of all of the “battles” I’ll fight as a parent, clothing was not at the top of my priority list. It didn’t take long for me to realize that mornings were easier, and we were all happier, if he could pick out his own clothes. That means that sometimes he dresses from head to toe in one color, other times he mixes and matches three or four patterns or characters, sports Halloween legwarmers in February, or a fleece dinosaur hat in 80 degree weather.
There are instances where I draw the line (family pictures, holidays, etc.), but for the most part, I now love that he picks his own clothes, and get excited to see what he comes up with. Putting my own ego and fashion preferences aside took a little time, but now I love letting my child pick out his clothes for the following reasons:
Sense of pride and independence. Think about how much better you feel when you like what you’re wearing. Maybe it’s a tad vain, but I think that if you feel good about the way you look, you’re going to start your day on a better foot. My son gets SO excited to pick out his clothes and dress himself each day. He literally thinks through each choice from head to foot (he’s rarely without a hat, and also chooses his footwear very deliberately!), and then loves to tell me WHY he made his choice. (“I thought it would be cool to wear one Marshall sock, and one Zuma sock with my Paw Patrol shirt!”)
Easier mornings. Mornings are hard enough, why complicate them more than you need to? An extreme example came this past spring. Oliver HATED changing out of his pajamas, and getting ready for daycare a few days a week became an awful chore. I literally dreaded waking him up because getting him out of pajamas was a nightmare. I thought about what would be the closest thing to pajamas, and went out and bought him several pairs of solid black leggings (in the girls department, no one would ever know, and I don’t really care if they do!). He wore those all spring until it became too hot – so much easier.
Conversation starters. This one is kind of silly, but people get a kick out of some of his outfits. I generally forget if he’s wearing something ridiculous until a stranger comments, but he tends to attract attention from just about everyone! Usually if he’s wearing any kind of super hero garb (most often, a cape), that is bound to make a few people crack a smile, and I’m happy for the chance to get a good natured chuckle out of someone, and for my shy son to have a little extra practice talking to adults who ask him about his get up.