Parenting Win: When Autonomy Leads to Awesome Outfits

I have mentioned before that I pick my battles with my little ones, especially when it comes to my first grader’s clothing choices. She has interesting taste, that one. Just this week, she has gone to school wearing a busy shirt, an equally busy skirt and a pair of fuchsia cowboy boots. And then, the very next day she went to school in a shirt and tights. Apparently, she didn’t think that she needed to wear pants that day.

I spend a lot of time apologizing to strangers, friends and teachers. “I’m sorry—but, well, she is six,” is my usual excuse. Or sometimes I follow up with a convincing “I leave for work at 6:45. She dresses herself!” I also spend a lot of time being surprised by her choices.

But sometimes she surprises me in a different way. Sometimes I come home from work and she has picked out the most ridiculously amazing outfit. Yesterday I walked through the door and she was wearing a navy cardigan and jean skirt with navy knee-highs and brown boots, and a headband. I wonder how it is that a girl who sometimes likes to wear Rapunzel costumes to school or pajamas to restaurants, or who sometimes forgets to wear pants can pull together an outfit that her older sister would wear (or one that I might even wear).

First graders are confusing.

Do you let your children pick their own clothing? What’s the most outrageous outfit your child has worn in public?

—Ali, senior associate editor of

One response to “Parenting Win: When Autonomy Leads to Awesome Outfits”

  1. marla says:

    I let my child pick her own clothes from what I have picked for her, she’s almost three. Lol.

    Craziest thing she’s worn out was her Halloween costume in December lol