I've never had much fashion sense. Most of my clothing has been one type of uniform or another: the dress code of my Catholic school, the suit and dresses required for court when I practiced law, and more recently, the yoga pants and stain-covered shirts that are so common and so comfortable to many a stay-at-home moms. But some kids seem to be born with a style gene, and as my 3-year-old twins are starting to dress themselves I see one of them has definite opinions about what he thinks makes an outfit worthy of wearing.
Since one of my boys has taken such an interest in clothes and the other begs to stay in his pajamas all day, every day, I decided to let them both dress me for a week in order to see if they could help me discover some new outfits out of what I have in my closet. And if that failed, maybe dressing me would help encourage Lolo to put on real pants in the morning. (Hey, I could dream.)
For one week I turned control over what I wore to my 3-year-old son with a budding love for style to see what outfits he chose for me. Would my preschooler's love of soft fabrics and bright colors make me look like a clown? Or would his looks come together like something from a spread in a fashion magazine? Here's what happened.
Day 1: '80s Flashback
The boys usually hang out in my room while I get dressed in the morning but instead of pulling out clothes for myself today I directed them to the clean hamper of laundry and asked for a shirt, socks ,and pants ( I took care of the undergarment selection for the week, because I'm sure they'll have plenty to talk to their future therapists about one day without adding "picking out Mommy's panties" into the mix).
Lolo demanded to stay in his pajamas and ran down the hall to hide in his bed (he did this every morning of the experiment, which makes me believe he will not be my future shopping buddy), but Remy was happy to pull out clothes for me. Maybe I got lucky because he seemed to pull things off the top of the clean clothes pile, but I was pretty happy with his choices. My vintage inspired BB8 top, these star leggings that I don't really wear outside of the house because they're faded, but keep because they're comfy, and some fun animal print socks.
The print socks together with the patterned leggings were a bit too much for my taste, but I found myself in a playful mood for the day, and can't help but wonder if maybe the youthful patterns of my clothes had anything to do with it.
Day 2: Nighty-Night
I failed to set any limits on where Remy could pull clothes for me from, which was a mistake on my part, because on day two he made a beeline for my pajama drawer. Since we didn't have any plans to leave the house I wasn't worried at first — PJ pants are a regular part of my weekly wardrobe when I'm at home — but instead he pulled out this cotton nightdress I'd completely forgotten even existed. I told him I was cold, so he pulled this grey sweater jacket off my dresser and pulled my fox slippers out of the closet.
The UPS guy must have thought something was strange when I tried to take the package from him without stepping out from behind the front door, but my partner was very pleased with Remy's selection when he got home from work. And I'll admit that even though I was technically in a nightie, I felt pretty in a dress. I usually wear a dress or skirt on the weekends when we have plans, but wearing this nightie made me consider working some comfy sundresses into the rotation during the week so I'll feel better about myself.
Day 3: Lots Of Color
I had a training run scheduled today so I asked Remy to pull me an outfit from my workout drawer, and this is what he came up with. I rarely wear shorts on a run because chaffing is The Worst, and I hate this top because the zipper rubs against my chin while I run. I usually save my fun socks for race days, but he was really excited about them, so I didn't change them.
The run was a five miler with both kids in the jogging stroller, but I didn't have any of my usual calf pain, possibly because of the tight socks. I think my 3 year old may have inadvertently figured out to prevent me from getting injured (score!), though I'm sure he just liked the colors. As I feared, the zipper on my top scraped away a raw spot under my chin and I was so annoyed when I got home that I tossed the top in the garbage. If I hate it so much, why did I hang onto it for so long?
We're only three days into the experiment, but each morning I'm realizing that I'm holding my breath as my son examines certain items of clothing in hopes that he won't select it for me to wear. It's not that I don't like what he's picking — I do, for the most part — it's just that I'm not sure why I have anything in my wardrobe that I wouldn't be happy to put on. I need do a clothing purge, and soon.
Day 4: A Wrinkle In The Plan
Although I would have preferred to iron this shirt before putting it on, one does not question a hungry 3 year old on a mission to dress his mother. At first I wasn't thrilled about the idea of wearing jeans all day long since jeans, like dresses, are reserved for fancier occasions in my life like date night or Target runs (don't judge me). And though it wasn't the most comfortable to play blocks on the floor while in denim, I did like feeling more put together during the day. It's not that my comfortable go-to leggings aren't outfit-worthy, but there is always that pause where I wonder, "should I wear this?" before we head out to tackle one errand or another. Getting dressed immediately at the beginning of the day set the tone, and I realized I liked that I was ready to go and dressed for basically anything.
At this point in the experiment, I have to admit something: I miss getting dressed up for work and looking nice. Though I left my job when I had kids (and don't regret it), I do miss the getting-ready aspect of waking up in the morning. It always felt like such a chore, but now that I don't have to do it, I miss it. I happen to agree with Lolo that pants with zippers are overrated if you're not leaving the house, but I may start taking a few minutes in the morning to do my hair and put on some makeup so I feel more dressed for the day.
Day 5: Oh Mickey, You're So Fine
Given that my kids love my Mickey Mouse shirt, I was surprised Remy didn't make me wear this sooner. I'm a big fan of both these leggings and this shirt, though I would never in a million years put them together.
I don't actually wear these leggings often because my partner hates them — he calls them my "pop star in a blender" leggings (and TBH, I'm not sure what that means). But having my kid pick them out for me reminded me just how much I really like them, so they're coming back into the rotation. I don't need a male's approval to wear something, and even if I did, my 3 year old totally counts, right?
Day 6: An Abundance Of Accessories
This was the first day that I felt like my outfit was picked out by a 3 year old. The two scarves, the glasses, the dark colors — none of it was working for me and even though the fabrics were soft and stretchy I felt silly and uncomfortable all day.
Before doing this experiment I would've said that I didn't care very much about fashion on a day-to-day basis, but after wearing this ensemble I know that's not true. My stay-at-home mom style may not be as polished or put together as others, but it's authentic to me and that's what matters. Now that I'm in my 30s, I care less about what others think about my clothes and more about how I feel wearing them than I did when I was younger.
Day 7: From Twins To Triplets
When I was dealing with my infertility diagnosis and wondering if I would ever have a family, my partner and I took a trip to Disney World to take our minds off things. (In hindsight, going to a place full of kids isn't the best idea when you're not sure if you'll ever be able to have any.) When I saw all those families in matching shirts that I used to make fun of, it physically gave me chest paints to think I might never get the chance to be one of them.
I could lie and tell you I bought these "I heart NY" shirts for us in an ironic, hipster way, but I didn't. We took the boys to the city to enjoy the warm weather and I got us matching shirts (my partner included). When Remy wanted us to put them on just to go grocery shopping we did, and it was totally awesome. I didn't feel corny, I felt like part of a family.
Does My Child Have A Future In Fashion?
I don't think Remy could get a ton of followers starting an #OOTD account on Instagram, but for a 3 year old who still struggles to put his pants on, I think he did a pretty good job dressing me for the week. There was only one day this week when I didn't totally like what Remy had picked out for me — and I'd say that the odds on his fashion choices were absolutely in his favor.
Letting my kid pick my clothes reminded me that I feel better about myself when I actually get dressed in the morning. It also opened my eyes to the fact that there are things in my closet I don't like and should really stop hanging on to. If I'm not wearing them now, am I ever going to? I'm not going to rely on my child to dress me every single day going forward, but it's nice to know there's at least one person in the house who will honestly tell me what they think about my new outfit.