They’re Babies, Not Fashion Models

A few days ago I was leaving to take Will to daycare when I ran into a woman on the street who stopped and took a gander at Will. Instead of saying “Oh how cute” or “That’s one adorable little boy you have there,” she came out with this gem:

“Oh my. I see daddy dressed you today huh little guy?”

I was genuinely confused so I asked her what she meant by that. She promptly (and pompously) told me that stripes and plaids don’t go together. After resisting the urge to punch her in the face and urinate on her unconscious, decaying old corpse, I curtly said “Well, he’s a baby not a fashion model so it doesn’t matter.”

But then I visited one of my Internet parenting message boards and lo and behold, they were discussing this exact topic. One of the moms on there complained about her husband dressing the baby in mismatched outfits and claiming it drove her crazy. Here are some of the comments in that thread:

“My husband sent my daughter to school one day in pink camoflauge pants paired with a bold striped shirt in pink, black, blue and purple. His logic was “there was pink in the shirt!” needless to say, i got a ton of guff from my friends (her teachers) and now I choose ALL outfits before they go out.”

“When my husband dresses the girls, he just grabs anything and throws it on them. the other day he had my 3 year old in a brightly colored polka dot shirt and earth tone plaid shorts! lol i think either he really just doesn’t care of he does it to get a reaction from me. i let it go because i wasn’t going out with them, but if I’m out with them and he dresses them badly i change them because then people look at me thinking what did you dress them in but if people see the girls dressed like that and just with my husband, they probably understand he’s clueless about it.

OMG! My boyfriend dressed my daughter this morning and it was the hidious outfit anyone could put together! And other times when I wrk at 6 am and he has to take her to daycare she is dressed like a clown!

As you can plainly see, some women have a huge problem with how their husbands dress their kids. But I think any parent who gets this upset over clothes is being very bitchy and completely superficial.

First of all, I see nothing wrong with the outfit I put on Will. I think it’s cute. I also see nothing wrong with plaids and stripes. Granted, I do not have fashion sense but I pride myself on that. I’m a t-shirt and jeans guy. I own one suit, two ties and a handful of dress shirts. Sure if I need to go to an event I’ll dress up in something appropriate, but I’m an adult. Will is an 18-month-old kid and it doesn’t matter what he’s dressed in as long as it’s appropriate for the weather and put on correctly.

Yet these moms — whether they want to admit it or not — feel the need to dress up their kids in cute matching outfits because they think it reflects on them. Not to mention the unspoken competition of  who has the cuter baby when you go to church, the grocery store, daycare, etc. And that, quite frankly, disgusts me when it comes to kids this young.

I should add right now that MJ tends to fall into the category of women I’m talking about and that drives me nuts. But MJ, by her own admission, is materialistic and very much into appearances. I, on the other hand, am the polar opposite. While MJ is dressed in carefully selected outfits from New York & Co. and Express, I get my clothes from Bob’s Discount Store, Wal-mart and anywhere else that doesn’t sell jeans for $50 each. I dress in a collared shirt and nice jeans for work so I look presentable, but unless I’m going to a special event or a job interview or something, I don’t dress to impress because I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. If they judge me based on my t-shirt then I don’t want to know them anyways.

And when it comes to Will, MJ lays out clothes the night before. Sometimes I use them, but other times I don’t. For example, she would’ve never suggested the outfit shown above, but I liked it. And honestly, sometimes I just grab whatever clothes are closest to me in the drawer. Because let’s face it people, it’s a little kid and he’s going to daycare. And even if we’re just going out on the town, who cares?? If someone actually judges a baby for what the kid is wearing (again assuming it’s appropriate for the weather and not put on backwards), that person should be beaten to death with a wrench.

It also relates back to my recent post about how moms can help create more involved dads. If a father is taking the initiative to dress the kid, the last thing he needs is an overbearing and judgmental mom telling him what an awful job he did and then changing the outfit. Do you really think he’s going to try again after he was berated for no good reason? Ladies, you have to pick your battles and mismatched outfits is not a battle worth fighting. So let him dress the kids, even if it does look a little odd. It’s not hurting anyone, so what’s the big deal?

But to be fair, I will admit that sometimes I do go out of my way to pick an outfit I know will irritate MJ!

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15 thoughts on “They’re Babies, Not Fashion Models

  1. Actually, it’s been shown that mismatched clothes and poorly coordinated patterns and colours can contribute to how other children perceive your child and interact with them. It’s the same subtle psychology the hospital uses when it chooses colours to relax you. Advertisers use it all the time. The reactions are even stronger in babies and children who do not have preconceived notions clouding their instincts.

    So, your non-conformist bend not withstanding, there are valid reasons to consider what your child wears.

  2. JEE: What?? Please don’t tell me you’re succumbing to these bullshit studies which vary depending on who pays for them. When your kids were this young did you feel the need to have them dressed impeccably every time they went out in public?

  3. Quote “It’s been shown that mismatched clothes and poorly coordinated patterns and colours can contribute to how other children perceive your child and interact with them”

    Where has it been shown? And by whom? Does it conclude that children in poorly matched clothing are not treated as well by their peers? I’d love to read that report…

  4. So we’re about to leave the house, and my wife says, “You said you were going to get him dressed before we leave.” And I said I did. So she says, not sure if I’m joking, “But he’s wearing Navy and Black!” Apparently there’s nothing worse than the navy-black combo. Actually when the stripes on the shirt go one way and the ones on the pants go another that’s practically Satanic.

  5. hi, aaron : ).
    i enjoy “fashion” very much and i love dressing my baby girl up in cute outfits. i think it’s part of the “mommy thing” we look forward to as young girls (playing “dress up” with our babies!)…

    however… i have to say i agree with you. yesterday i took leiana (my daughter) to walmart in her jammies. and honestly, she wore her jammies ALL day! she was comfortable, they were warm, it was cold out, and i had a lot of stuff to get done. she was fine. and i am POSITIVE that she didn’t care AT ALL. lol!

    i have no doubt in my mind that leiana is an adorable little girl, and that’s fine enough with me. i love her to death because she is MY baby, no matter what she’s wearing, or how her outfit compares to the other little one’s at church, or at walmart, or wherever. who freaking cares? when daddy dresses her, that’s what she wears (not that i’ve ever felt the need to change her after he’s dressed her either).

    i would rather drag out the attitude that being loved and cared well for is all she needs as long as i can than begin instilling that attitude in her that others might look down on her if she isn’t dressed in what society thinks is appropriate. she’s gonna deal with that crap enough when she’s in school! i want to keep her pure for as long as i can.

    my daughter will be raised to know that just because she may have more or less than her friends, it doesn’t mean that she is any better or worse.

    our babies are like little sponges, and they absorb everything they see us do, and they notice the little things we care about. i would rather set a good example by trying to keep my house picked up, and by treating others well, than by getting all nit picky and spending an hour making sure she looks like she’s about to go film a fisher price commercial everytime we’re gonna leave the house.

    and if anyone wants to judge me (or her) for it – then i don’t think those are the kind of people we want in our lives anyway.

  6. You would think moms would have better things to worry about. I’ve caught grief from the wife about what I’ve put our daughter in before but come on…this is all over the top. We’re fortunate in this country to have the opportunity to buy and own much better clothes than many other countries – I say as long as the kid is safe and happy the clothes should be left alone.

  7. I think he has some perfectly good Camo pants that he could have worn with that.. If not we will ship you some ASAP…

  8. The outfit is cute, so is Will. I dress for comfort and now I’m even more comfortable at work since I wear scrubs. When the girls were little like Will, they had a ton of outfits courtesy of their relations. It was easy to choose an outfit. But for me comfort was king. Sure, I wanted them to look cute, but what’s the point of a cute, cranky baby? Kind of takes the cute out of it, don’t you think? I guess I’m not a fashionista then am I?

    BTW, do you really have to push MJ’s buttons by dressing Will in things that you know will drive her nuts? That’s not nice.

  9. One day my son picked out something to wear (he’s 5 and YES, I let him choose his own clothes as long as they are weather appropriate) and it didn’t quite match. My husband was mad at me for letting him go to school like that. (We actually had an argument about it!) But you know what? I think that it is more important to teach our children self-confidence, to be happy with themselves DESPITE what anyone else may or may not think. Looks are a big part of that. Making them always dress the “right” way is just like saying that they aren’t good enough dressed the “wrong” way. Which is fucking crazy! My kids are just as cute, smart and funny whether they are wearing holey jeans or 3 piece suits. Just let them be kids! If a parent cares SO MUCH about matching, perhaps they should only buy individual pieces that will go with everything. Otherwise, shut the fuck up and just be glad the other parent is around and actually helping out. One more thing- if kids (especially young kids) are making fun of other kids because of what they are wearing then it’s because they learned it from their parents, not because they actually give a shit. My kids have never once looked at anyone and commented on how badly they were dressed – and we’ve seen some outrageous combinations around here.

  10. I agree completely with val. I LOVE putting my daughter in cute outfits. But am I above putting her in mismatched onesie and sweatpants to be comfy. No way. Also, I put her nice dresses, but if they get dirty, SO WHAT?! she’s a kid. She’s gonna get dirty. And as for my husband dressing her? If he dresses her, I’m happy. I only care if he puts something on her that doesn’t fit. But thats just because I want her to be comfortable. And by the way, I LOVE Will’s outfit. I think its cute.

  11. I just do the golden rule: Match your children’s clothes as you would want your clothes to be matched.

    I like the author’s arrangement, where the fashion expert lays out the child’s clothes. We do that in our house, too.

    Yesterday I ran across a company called Little Miss Matched that sells socks that look good together but are not identical — in threes, so you have three possible ‘pairs.’ Fun idea.

  12. My best friend’s (a mom) 4m/o girl is currently in a brown onesie with pink and green polkadots and pair of yellow pants with green, pink, and orange hearts on them. And when I dressed her this morning she was in a pink and green horizontally-striped onesie with the same pair of pants. We are not embarrassed or sorry b/c she’s warm in the cool weather!

  13. I didn’t read all the other comments so sorry if this is a repeat (I am at work!). Of course it doesn’t matter so much what the kids wear, but I know that I do take time to buy and maintain descent clothing for my children and actually all three of my kids have more clothes than they could probalby possible wear (thank you hand-me-downs!) so it bugs me sometimes when Ray dresses our children in really mis-matched outifts only because they do own enough clothing to not.

    I am a huge fan of letting my kids pick out their own clothes once they can though. As long as it is weather appropriate, I think its great. There are so many decision they don’t get to make, and I imagine they are picking out outfits they feel good about themselves in so they will feel good about themselves all day long!

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