You know what I'm talking about -- the matching ruffly outfits, the seasonally decorated dresses, the ready-for-a-professional-portrait clothes. The girl with nothing from Old Navy or Target in her closet.
She ended up being one of his best buddies because beneath those fancy duds was a really fun little girl. But I teased her mother regularly about the outfits.
Why in the world to do you do that to her, I would ask. It's just preschool, not a fashion show.
Her answer? "Because it's fun and I can and it won't last forever."
I still thought she was crazy.
Until I had Pippi.
Let me tell you, no matter what you might believe before it happens, having a daughter is not the same as having a son. I enjoyed dressing Juni in cute outfits as a baby, but nothing compares to little girl clothes. The vast and unending realm of patterns and ruffles and layers and smocking completely overwhelms the tiny little boy section of stores.
Although I never got to the smocked-every-single-day level (mostly because my budget wouldn't allow it), I did so love dressing her in adorable outfits. I even let a photographer friend use her as a photo model for a fashion project because she just looked too cute (I mean, seriously, just look at that picture!).
And then Pippi decided she wanted to dress herself.
[Cue sound of screeching brakes]
After far too many knock-down-drag-out fights over what she was supposed to wear to preschool last fall, I finally just gave up. I decided that as long as she was wearing something weather-appropriate, she could pick out her own outfits most days (I reserved the right to put her in smocked for church).
I knew it was the right call on the morning we went grocery shopping -- Pippi was wearing pink leggings, a white long-sleeved shirt, a satin floral sleeveless bubble dress that was two sizes too big, silver glitter shoes and a tiara. The 50-something woman in the elevator with us looked at her with a big grin and said, "You dressed yourself this morning, didn't you? You look very beautiful!"
She was right. Pippi did look beautiful. And it was quite obvious that she'd dressed herself -- no one was judging my personal style or my parenting skills because of Pippi's own sense of flair.
In order to really enjoy this fashion as it happens, I started taking pictures of her outfits -- trying to catch the essence of Pippi style.
So I'm happy to share with you my latest venture: I Dressed Myself. It's a new blog about how the best fashion happens when mommy and daddy aren't involved. I hope you'll check it out, follow along and maybe even share some of your own gems. There's a few posts there already and I plan to post at least one new outfit a week -- because there's no better way to keep myself sane than to enjoy the wealth of blog material in my crazy life.
photo credit to evolve studio photography