Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby's Got Style! #jcpback2school

Do babies have their own style? Sometimes parents force their whims on small children. I know I have done it on occasion, making my son sport a funny political shirt, or witty/sarcastic t-shirt for my own personal gratification. Many parents do so. We laugh. It's cute. But we know it is not the child's choice.

Still, I think that early on, kids  develop a sense of their own style. Not on consciously, per se. And still heavily influenced by the parents, but I think style emerges earlier than we might think!

For instance, once my baby started crawling (at seven months), I found certain types of cutesy infant outfits didn't work for him because they were too restrictive. I started putting him in pants and shirts instead of those rompers. Within days, I noticed this had an amazing effect on how he looked. His style had changed!

Then he started walking, climbing, and getting really dirty! Away with the pale-colored outfits that are very "infant-ese!" Darker colors, jeans, and sturdy materials prevailed! And he started looking more little-boy-dungaree than pudgy baby.

I think his style will change again when we start to potty train, because I'll want fast and easy clothing to get him out of, meaning possibly more sweatpants than jeans. Perhaps. I am not a HUGE fan of sweatpants on babies. There are so many more cute options these days.

Even though my baby's clothing options have changed, I think his style still makes somewhat of a "fashion statement" about him! Yes, I know I'm the one who dresses him but... I think he feels happiest in casual clothing. I think with his striking blue eyes, that he looks best in unique colors like turquoise or mustard. I try to find outfits with a European flair, something a little off the beaten path. Bright colors and patterns seem to grab his eye (and they are my favorites too).

I personally try to give him variety in his wardrobe. Of course he has some truck and doggy t-shirts. But he also has items like a Tortuga turtle t-shirt, Spanish-tile printed button down, and a hand-appliqued lion t-shirt. Variety is important, so children can develop a sense of style as they grow by selecting items that appeal to them visually and personally. My son LOVES his two lion t-shirts and will often point to them and ask for them if he sees them in his drawer!

Babies do have color and texture preferences, and my son will already hand me clothing he likes from the laundry basket if I ask him. He doesn't know how to "coordinate" or "match" yet, but his style is developing. If I could imagine him on his first day of school in a few years, I bet he'll be the one wearing the slightly distressed maroon fine-wale corduroy pants with a button down and vintage tie. Maybe. It's also possible the intervening years could find him in simply a pair of jeans and a Nascar t-shirt. Who knows! Children have minds of their own... and styles of their own too!
What is your child's style like? How much influence do you have/exert over their clothing styles?

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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