At what age does "personal style" start?

Tonight, my wonderful husband was kind enough to take toddler duty so I could run to the mall to return a pair of pants. We won’t get into why I was returning them (I can’t use the “just had a baby” excuse after 21 months, can I?)

As usual, I found myself not at all interested in clothes for myself, but instead making a beeline for the kids’ department. It always happens. My 21-month-old son doesn’t need more clothes for summer, but I saw a rack of Sesame Street clothes for 75% off, and I was all over it. Elmo was mine.

Gone are the days when I said I would never put “character clothing” on my kid. I despise clothes that are covered in Dora and Toy Story and Cars. I can’t really explain why – I guess I just don’t like feeling like my child is a marketing tool. And I don’t let him watch any of that stuff, anyway, so I don’t really want to be a walking advertisement for it.

But he LOVES Elmo. The smile that lights up his face when he sees “MoMo!”  is enough to turn me into a pile of mush. So, I cave. I buy him clothes with Elmo emblazoned on them, and I look for them when he isn’t even with me. So now, we do character clothes…but only Elmo, and the occasional Cookie Monster… (Beyond that, the far-and-away favorite is pajama pants with alphabets on them, so he can point out the Ds and Os.) :)

I realize that my days of being able to choose my son’s clothes are numbered. Just like someday I won’t be able to choose his food, either. And I do plan on letting him choose his own clothing when he starts to form his own solid opinion about what he wants. Given his super silly personality, I can only imagine the outfits he’ll put together!

For now, I’m trying to lay the groundwork for his own personal style of living, and hoping that it will translate into his own personal style of dress. Just like with our food, we try to choose simple, functional clothing that we like, organic when we can find it and afford it. I hope it’s enough to instill the values I want him to have, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I can do my best to instill the values I want my boy to have, but in the end, he’ll have his own sense of personal style. As parents, I guess all we can do is plant the seeds and cross our fingers, right?

It’s actually starting earlier than I thought. Today, I tried overalls, since we were spending the day in the yard. A fit ensued. He looked me square in the eye, and said “Neh!”

But then, after he wriggled out of his cute little overalls, he picked out this shirt, and said, “Mmmmm!”


There’s hope yet! :)


Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and jcpenney blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


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