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Respecting Your Child's Fashion Choices

Respecting Your Child's Fashion Choices


Clothes are an expression of who we are—as my girls are well aware. I’ve learned to let go and respect my little fashionistas’ choices. 

My girls are fearless fashionistas. While their momma is perfectly content in a solid rotation of V-neck T-shirts, jeans, and TOMS that smell like they’ve been worn all summer, these daughters of mine treat getting dressed in the morning like a ceremony for the super fabulous. There is combing through closets. There are wardrobe changes. There are accessories. There are spritzes of perfume and lip gloss application and ballerina-like twirls in front of their full-length mirror. 

Ellie, my 5-year-old, has even started quietly creeping out of bed like the bite-sized ninja she is and dressing herself fully (lip gloss, arm full of bracelets, and much more) before shaking me awake and asking in her best Valley girl voice if she looks beautiful. Where does a 5-year-old child pick up a Valley girl lilt in the first place?!

As the start of a new school year barrels toward us, there is one thing I’m sure of: There is no way these opinionated ladies of mine will transition from the absolute freedom of summer to a rigid school-year wardrobe without a battle. Apparently, kids have their own personalities and opinions—I just wish someone had slipped me that memo when I was pregnant and daydreaming about what life with kids would be like.

I’ve made it clear that there will be no makeup and there most certainly will be daily hair brushing by Mom. But the notion of me picking out their outfits and forcing them into submission? It’s not worth the struggle, even if that means Ellie shows up to kindergarten wearing fleece sweatpants with fluffy skirts and two completely different shoes with as many accessories as she can possibly pile on.

These girls already see their clothes as expressions of who they are. As long as it’s appropriate—meaning they’re not wearing four sweaters when it’s 80 degrees out or tank tops in the snow—why take that away from them? Who really cares if all of the colors and patterns clash violently and make me cringe? If they’re happy and confident, why do I care what anyone else thinks? Because, if we’re being honest, what other people think is the only real reason we battle with our kids over their mismatched hodgepodge outfits.



But consider this: The clothes we wear tell a story. They are a form of self-expression, and allowing our children to show the world who they are and that they’re confident being that person is such an easy way to give them power. I consider it my job to let my girls shine—and I’d much rather allow them to express themselves freely and comfortably now, before I’m arguing with them about more permanent ways of expressing themselves later. Who am I to get in the way of them figuring out who they are and what they like?

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle to get to the point where I can just let them be. In fact, it was really, really hard to let go of my control-freak tendencies and my desire to have my girls look like they came skipping from the pages of an expensive catalog. But I truly believe in the importance of teaching my girls that they can make the world a better place by being themselves. And as I watch them skip off in wild outfits of their choosing, I know that they’re confident and excited and feel like the best version of themselves. What more could a momma want?

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Jennifer Garry

Author:

Jennifer Garry is a freelance writer and Westchester mom. She writes about that ever-elusive struggle for balance on her personal blog, Cuddles and Chaos (cuddlesandchaos.com).  

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