My 4-year-old daughter, Rose, is a very independent and strong-willed girl. Ever since she could talk, she has wanted to make her own decisions. As a parent, I know this will serve her well when she is grown-up, but right now it can be exhausting to deal with. As a result, I have learned to pick my battles. And one area where I never try to argue with her is clothing.
From the time Rose was old enough to realize that she could choose her own clothes each day, she has done so. And as long as what she chooses is weather-appropriate, I go with it. Sweaters in the summer or shorts on snowy days are clearly a no, but that’s about the only rule I have when it comes to her outfits.
Most of the time, the outfits Rose chooses don’t match, and sometimes they clash horribly. But she is happy and confident in what she wears and I want to empower her to make her own choices regarding her appearance.
Letting my kid choose her own outfits means we have been to the park in PJs, the movies in a too-small unicorn Halloween costume, and a birthday party dressed as a witch (pointy hat and all). But no matter what she wears, Rose wears it with a confidence that I never had as a kid — confidence I hope she will hold onto as she grows up.
I have been letting Rose choose her own outfits for as long as I can remember, so it feels normal and natural. I know not everyone allows their kids to leave the house looking like they just walked out of a bargain bin at the thrift store and more power to them. Sometimes, I see little girls wearing the cutest matching outfits and looking very put-together and I wonder what it would be like to have a kid like that. But my kid is her own person, and she wouldn’t be herself if she wasn’t wearing flower-patterned leggings with a unicorn dress, butterfly tutu, sparkly cowgirl boots, and a unicorn horn headband (usually with non-matching accessories).
My biggest hope for Rose is that she will always approach life with as much joy and fun as she does today in her clothing choices. And as her baby brother grows up, I will let him make his own clothing decisions if he so chooses… though I can imagine he will be heavily influenced by his glitter-loving sister.