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Baby Matters

Summer Wardrobe Choices

May 1st, 2016

By Delaine Dew

By the time this edition of Edmonton’s’ Child Magazine is out, summer will be upon us, and the carefree days of sandals, sun hats, sunscreen and water bottles wet with perspiration are almost in full force.  Writing this in March, I am only dreaming of plus 28 degree weather, to exchange my boots for flip flops, and permanently ditch my winter coat for a good 6 months (if we’re lucky).  This is also the time I start hitting the pre-season sales and stock up on summer attire for my daughter, who will be three by the time you are reading this.  However, due to recent changes in my daughter’s clothing choices, coupled with the fact that she is of the age where she insists on picking out her own outfits each day, my upcoming summer shopping spree may prove to be a tad more difficult this year.  You see, my daughter refuses to wear pants.  Only dresses will do, and only dresses will she wear.

I’m not really sure what it is about pants that she finds so offensive, but perhaps it’s the restrictions on your legs when compared to the flowy-feeling of a dress.  I can manage to convince her to wear leggings or tights with her dresses when we leave the house, and I’m hoping I can do the same with shorts and capris in the summer.  Truthfully, I find the “Only Dresses” phase rather amusing because I recall having the exact same aversion to pants around her age, and I distinctly remember not ever wanting to open the bottom drawer of my dresser – the dreaded pants drawer- and hating the feeling of them on me; all bulky and rough with annoying buttons digging into your stomach.  So perhaps I should sympathize a bit more – this truly is a “like mother like daughter” situation.

It goes beyond just the dress though.  I am absolutely loving the fact that my little girl is proudly picking out her outfit each day, especially when she decides on a combination that might not be entirely pleasing to a fashionista’s eye.  My favourites have been dresses with a tutu or sparkle skirt layered on top of the dress (who can beat that combination?), a green plaid dress with pink “Nordic” leggings and sparkle shoes (oh the clashing!), a headband which she had ribbons tied to in order to make “princess hair”, my mom’s yoga shorts and top (which she will wear sans dress just because it’s my mom’s), and rubber maroon coloured dinosaur boots with a pretty blue dress.  I don’t care whether she matches or not, or if what she is wearing actually goes together – the point is that she is so proud of her choices, and so happy to be so independent and have ownership over her outfit choices.

You can usually tell right away when a child has self-selected his or her own outfit, and it always brings a giant smile to my face when I see that.  I love seeing a random Elsa at the library, or tutus on kids nowhere near a ballet studio, capes blowing in the wind, and accessories like rings, necklaces and sparkle belts that really don’t “go” with the outfit but that the child knows are the perfect additions.  Don’t get me wrong – I am equally amazed when I see kids in perfectly coordinated and entirely fashionable outfits that really put my own wardrobe choices to shame, but it is really something else when you see a child bouncing around a playground with a bright pink dress, purple tutu layered on top of the dress and yoga pants on underneath.  I guarantee that a compliment to such child about her beautiful purple tutu will always yield a beaming smile that radiates just how proud she is of her amazing outfit she picked out all by herself.

So if my daughter’s self-imposed Dresses Only policy remains in effect for the summer, I’ll comply and happily purchase some pretty summer dresses that she can still play in and run around in, and I’m sure she’ll still want to select the finishing touches, like a tutu or hairband or sparkle shoes.  Although I’m certain the outfits will rarely “go together” or match in any significant way, it will be all her.  And that’s what I’m proud of.


Delaine is a mom to a beautiful, active and insightful little girl, and also stays busy as a wife and full-time lawyer in Edmonton. She enjoys running, reading, writing, watching bad TV with her husband and most importantly, being a mom.

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