Let Them Dress Wacky

I used to look at kids in mismatched clothing and think: my kids will not dress like that. But then, my kids started dressing themselves. One day, when Norah was six (she’s 8 now), she came out in a mixed up outfit that included jeans, shorts, a kilt, clashing colors, flip-flops, and a tiara. She was so proud of her outfit, and I was faced with the choice to support her exploration or squash her independence and make her change outfits.

I’ve been faced with this decision a lot over the years (see pictures below). These are not the craziest outfits my daughters have insisted on wearing in public over the years, they are simply the ones I had pictures of.

But this isn’t a competition on which parents have kids in the craziest outfits. Ultimately, it’s about what I want from my daughters.

I want Norah and Aspen to grow up to be strong willed individuals who feel confident enough to speak for themselves. However, I don’t see how they are ever going to achieve those goals if I am squashing their independence when it comes to something as basic as picking out an outfit.

I also respect them as people. My daughter leaving the house dressed as a mermaid princess ready to fight in the zombie apocalypse is a little embarrassing for me, sure, but it isn’t as important as ownership. Because the reality is, they are the owners of their bodies. I love and deeply respect my daughters and it is not my job to define their interests and fashion choices unless they are harmful to themselves or others.

So when one of my daughters comes out looking like they’ve been hit by a rummage sale, I look her in the eyes, tell her she looks fabulous, and take her to the store.

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