I did something recently that I have never done before. I bought Little Man O and Baby Boy I matching t-shirts. I thought these little blue polo shirts adorned with spacemen, pictured, were adorable – and best of all they were reduced to a couple of pounds each. They had them in the next size both my boys would need so I got one for each of them.
It was only when I got home that it occurred to me this was the first time I’d bought my children identical clothes. It had never really been an issue with my first two being of different genders, and up until this point Baby Boy I had existed in clothes he had been given as presents when he was born or hand-me-downs from his big brother and cousins.
It started me thinking as to whether I would dress my boys in identical clothes or whether I’ll make sure they wear these shirts on different days.
My parent friends are divided on the issue. One mum I know says she’d never dress her two daughters the same as she wants them to have their own identities. Another says she loves coordinating her two boys as she hopes it will strengthen their bond as brothers and their feelings of being part of the same team. One mum says her children spend all week looking the same in their school uniforms, so out of school she encourages them to dress differently. I know two sets of same gender twins where the children dress similarly, but not exactly the same. Different coloured tights for the girl twins for example, or same trousers but different t-shirts for the boys.
Other parents I know will only dress their children in the same clothes for special occasions and, I must say, it looks lovely at a wedding or party to see coordinating outfits among young siblings. Some coordinate children with their parents for special events, with boys becoming a mini-Daddy and girls a mini-Mummy for the day.
Another mum friend told me she always dressed her daughters differently, until the younger one got to about 18 months old and suddenly wanted to have exactly the same as her big sister. Same food, same toys, same clothes. Exactly the same. As much as my friend didn’t want to, it was often easier to buy two identical dresses/pairs of shoes/coats and avoid the toddler tantrums in the morning when everyone’s in a rush to leave the house. It also makes them easier to spot in busy places.
It’s a good point. And even though Little Miss E, now 5, and Little Man O, 3, don’t dress the same, there are days when if one of them wears a hoody or a bobble hat or whatever, the other one insists on having theirs too. I have always tried to encourage my children to think independently, to make their own decisions and to trust their instincts (admittedly with guidance from me and Cardiff Daddy where appropriate), and so I’m happy for them to decide what they want to wear when they get dressed. As Baby Boy I gets more of his own voice, perhaps he will want to dress the same as his big brother (or sister!) and the answer to this question will be “No, I don’t dress my children in identical outfits; they do it themselves.”
Do your children ever dress the same? Do you love or loath coordinating outfits? I’d love to know what you think. Tweet me on @cardiffmummy or join in the discussion on my Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook group.