I have long been aware of my own fashion ineptitude, and most of the time I am comfortable with it. However, as we played in the park today, I realized that it might have negative effects on my children.
My policy has always been that as long as it is clean and safety/weather appropriate for the outing, the kids are free to choose their own outfits once they are old enough to express an opinion. As babies, I dress them in very cute, but more importantly very comfy clothing. 100% cotton with no scratchy stuff.
Both grandmas have lamented the fact that their granddaughters missed out on ultra-frilly dress and tights as babies, but Ariana helped make up for it by going through a ballerina-princess phase as a toddler. For over a year, she wore either a tutu or a princess dress 24/7. Her tastes have grown more sophisticated as she has gotten older, and though she isn't opposed to a splash of magenta and sparkles, her current preference is for a brown or dark green ensemble with brown leather shoes.
Joel has two criteria for clothing: comfort and Spidey. It is no coincidence that nearly every photo he is in since the age of two shows him wearing a Spiderman shirt. He is very picky about softness, though. Therefore, his favorite outfits are super-soft Spiderman jammies. He will also wear Spongebob, but Spidey is the clear favorite.
Elena is still a nudist at heart (she may or may not have removed all her clothing while inside the playground at McDonald's last week :shifty eyes:). If she *must* wear something, she prefers Joel's old clothes, because she loves soft, Spidey and blue. She even has matching Spiderman shoes.
If we are going to some place where dressing up is expected, I make sure that the kids are appropriately groomed and for the occasion. But, if they are going to the park or some place where I expect them to get dirty and messy, I don't care what they wear or if their hair is perfectly coiffed. A quick comb through, and we're good.
Apparently, though, I am in a minority. As we played at the park this afternoon, I realized that my kids were the only ones who didn't look like they could be posing for a photo shoot at the park. The ones around us looked like models for Baby Gap, with adorable, perfectly coordinated outfits. The girls had hair perfectly arranged with ribbons and bows. All were immaculate.
In contrast, my own little band of ragamuffins looked decidedly scruffy. Ariana is going through a phase of hair chewing, so it was messy. She was wearing a green and gray long shirt with a matching sash, and green pants of the same shade but a different pattern. She had realized after we arrived at the park that she didn't have her shoes, and so was wearing an old pair of pink and white tennies with no socks. Joel wore his favorite Spidey pajamas. Elena had purple paint in her hair from some creative endeavors that hadn't yet completely washed out, one of Joel's Spidey shirts and a pair of his shorts.
It occurred to me that my children might easily be judged by their appearance. While things like brand names are of no importance to me at all, I don't want to seem neglectful, and I certainly don't want my kidlets to be looked down upon because of my indifference to fashion or my hopelessness at hairstyling.
On the plus side, they climbed trees, played in the sand for hours and had a glorious time, and I wasn't the least bit concerned about dirt or climbing mishaps messing up their clothes. Still, a little balance isn't a bad thing. This is an area I need to work on.