Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Letting my kids find their own dress style has been hard

Letting my kids find their own dress style has been hard
23 April 2014

Forget sleepless nights and potty training.  Forget the transition to solids and being up all night with a kid with gastro.  Forget teething babies and drool everywhere.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever been faced with as a parent, is letting my kids find their own style of dressing.

You have but NOOO idea!  Unless you’re a parent – in which case you understand perfectly.

It’s not only hard.  It’s exceptionally painful.  Excruciating in fact.

And I can confer, that this is equally trying with the boys and girls of the species.  These difficulties come in pink and blue.  Or should I say, in Barbie and in army-camo-print. 

Though, difficult as this might be, there has been one little “light” – everything is fluid.  Nothing remains the same.  Therefore, no sooner have I sort-of-adjusted to one fashion catastrophe, when the whole landscape changes.  Bringing with it, a whole new clothing horror scene.

I have two boys.  It is fair enough to say, that I have had more than my fair share of quite a few things.  If I NEVER EVER see army-camo-print again, it’s too soon.  But wait.  It doesn’t end there.  Forget the regular standard greenish-brownish camo.  It now comes in all colour variations.  There truly is no escape.  Moreover, it even comes in pink and purple.  And hence, even my daughter had a little bit of an army-camo-print phase.  And thus at a certain stage of my life, in true military style, all three of my kids were “blending” with the background.  Though to be fair, Amber would’ve had to be against a disturbingly bright pink, for the full camouflage effect.

In addition, my boys were BIG TIME into superheroes.  Some of them still are (though a bit more surreptitiously now – they want to admire superheroes, not dress like them).  From full head to toe Spiderman outfits and Superman suits, including little capes and masks, to Batman and Power Rangers too.  We’ve even done the Incredibles and Captain America (only mask – phew!).  But here’s the thing – my boys wore these dress-up outfits, like regular clothes.  To playschool and preschool, to visits to the shops.  At times, they were so obsessed, I had to wash them when they slept, so that it was right and ready again the following morning.  Some nights they even slept in them!  And the thing with superhero clothes is this – it really does come in regular clothes too.  There comes a time, when little boys are between the ages of two to six, when it’s just about impossible to get them clothes that are not emblazoned with some or other superhero.  Then there are the accessories – glasses and watches.  Wallets and caps.  Undies and socks.  Belts too.

Though in comparison, are these really worse than Barbie???  I fear not.  They are both on an equal horrific par.  And my little gal, loved her Barbie and fairy princess A LOT!!!  There were panties and socks.  Little shoes and glasses.  Bangles and bracelets.  Finicky little bags galore.  And if it was not Barbie?  Well, then The Little Mermaid stepped in and picked up the mantle.  And when she had to rest her weary mermaid tail?  Fear not – Cinderella would do at a pinch.  Also little tiara’s and fairy wings were HUGE – as in the must have accessory that had to be worn every single day.  And as with the boys, these were worn, irrespective of the destination.  A trip to the Post Office, a walk about at the Mall.  Though, to be fair, I did cope a hell of a lot better with Barbie, than I did with Hannah Montana.  I was never keen on Amber donning herself from head to toe in Miss Montana style clothing.  And I actually held out strong.  There was also an extremely lengthy ballerina phase – when tutu’s were the order of the day.  Worn over absolutely everything!

And then for years and years and simply years – the only colour that counted with my Amber-Berry, was pink.  The pinker the better.  The major upside being that everything matched.  Sort of.  Yes, it hurt your eyes at the same time, because of all of the shadings of pink.  But it pretty much blended.  Kinda.  And I was just slowly teaching myself to not gag at the sight of all of that pink, when it all changed.  To purple.  I kid you not.

Then most kids at some or other point, go through a complete and utter colour blind phase.  And though one of my kids is technically colour blind, at times, his siblings fared far worse.  Or perhaps it’s lack of colour awareness.  Patterns and prints too.  Polkadots, stripes and camo all worn together.  In glaring clashing style.  Weather also played no role whatsoever in choosing an outfit.  42 Degrees Celsius outside?  No problem – perfect for wearing a pair of tracksuit pants, with a tutu, rubber wellington boots, sans socks (there is no stench that can match that), a long zip shirt, with a t-shirt thrown over the top, a beanie, and a scarf.  Thank heavens body odour only develops in latter years!

Anyway, when it comes to my kids style of dressing, some things have now changed.  The camo, pink, Barbie, Princess and Superhero garb is now all a thing of the past.  Sad in a way.  Cause at least most of that stuff was kind of cute.  And manageable.

Now, it’s not so much.  One of my kids would love to be donned from top to bottom in sporting gear.  Lumo sporting gear, if possible.  The brighter, the better.  The added advantage and bonus of this being, that it does help me to find him when we’re out and about.  He’s kind of hard to miss.  And he’s an adventurous runner – so being able to spot him from a distance, is actually a good thing.  One of my kids has a few favourite outfits – namely one pair of pants (this child does own more than one), one t-shirt (this child has a few), one long sleeved shirt (yip – got more than one), and one sweater (got a few of those too).  These are worn irrespective of heat wave or cold spell.  I have to forcibly bite my lip to prevent myself from saying anything, when this kid wears it.  Day.  After day.  After day.  After day.  In addition, I have to physically restrain my husband, who lacks the same sense of self control.  And remind him of his fashion sense in his teens (two words usually do the trick – “blanket jersey” – it was really horrendous, and in hindsight I feel for his folks).  Yet another of my kids has, much to my dismay, discovered animal print.  It’s a cruel variation on army-print-camo.  Once again, all colours are now available.  In addition, this kid, likes the whole rock/punk look.  And small clothes, displaying midriffs, have now been reserved for at-home-wear.

I shudder at what the future might hold for me.  As yet, I only have one boy, who constantly has his jocks on display.  I’m sure that soon, both of them will be flashing their briefs over their pants.

I’m guessing that this is of course all part and parcel of raising kids.  Now, during their youth, is their time to experiment with clothes.  To find their comfortable space.  To discover that which makes them feel best.  And if they embarrass us parents in the process, it’s all a part of it too.  Cause let’s be honest – no matter what us parents wear, we embarrass them constantly as well.  So maybe it’s all fair.  In a warped kind of way.

In addition, I am guessing I put my folks through the same horrors.  I remember my midriff phase well.  As well as my torn, holy, ripped jeans phase too.  And is there really any explanation for the bubble skirt fiasco?  And my obsession with wearing yellow and purple together???  Years and years of fashion faux pas, before I eventually saw the light.  Or have I?  My kids would say I’m still suffering through it.

Worst bit of all?  When it comes to my kids clothing, I really only have myself to blame.  Cause who buys them their gear?

Yip, that would be me.  The idiot wearing a bubble skirt, over a pair of torn, holy, ripped jeans, sporting a crop top purple shirt, with yellow accents.

Perhaps best I keep quiet.

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My cutie little ballerina

This one is a double whammy - way too much matchy-matchy army-camo-print

My beautiful and graceful little Ballerina. Boy. This is the physical evidence of the downside of having an older sister, that is besotted with Ballet. You end up dressing up together.

Exactly how much pink is too much?

Trying to start a new fashion trend - the Barbie panty/beret look

I spot a wee bit of army-camo-print

Spidey is lurking

And yet more army-camo-print

My guess is that despite the long flannel pyjama pants, beret, long sleeved shirt and rubber boots (most likely without socks), this was a hot day - hence the swimming costume put on over the whole lot 

Baby Spiderman, desperately trying to fit into his big brother's Spidey outfit

Definitely unisex superheroes - Superman. I mean girl.

Superhero cuties - please note that Supergirl is wearing a pair of princess sandals, complete with little heels and bling fluff

Spiderman, donning a pair of ballet shoes - perhaps they're really good for grip, when climbing

Definitely a hot day, judging by Cole's outfit in the back, still Amber chose a pair of Ugg's with her ballet tutu and t-shirt

Batboy with his axe

Bling sparkly princess fairy outfit with ballet shoes


  1. Such magnificent children! I know I am biased, but not blind!!
    Will read later but could not put off looking at the pics!