How Much Do You Oversee Clothing Choices?

Updated on November 21, 2013
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
45 answers

My dd picks out her clothes to wear each day (10) but I can't help but point out when things are mismatched, or inconsistent with the always leads to a lot of arguing. She doesn't even own anything that I wouldn't approve of, it's mainly how she puts stuff together.
How much do you supervise clothing?

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My duaghter knew if she was cold. As long as she didn't want to wear a bikini in a blizzard, I didn't worry about weather issues.
I couldn't care less if her clothes matched - she put them together in combos that SHE liked, and she was the one who was wearing it, not me.

ETA: Wow, Gamma G. I can't imagine keeping that close tabs on my daughter's clothes. Hell, I don't monitor MY clothes that closely. But then again, she's been doing her own laundry since she was twelve.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

It's their bodies and they'll know if they are cold or not, as long as the butt and the boob's aren't hanging out. I don't care.

You should have seen the outfit my 4 year old had on a couple of days ago. People would have thought she was a homeless Punky Brewster.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Other than for weather (meaning literally freezing outside) or for special occasions, not at all. My kids have been free to dress as they wish since they could dress themselves. The limits come only in what I will allow to be in their wardrobes in the first place.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

I let the 8yr old wear whatever she picks out. When I wake her up I let her know "it's cold outside" or "it's raining" and then it's on her. If she wears shorts when it's 54 degrees (this morning) it's a learning experience.
She wears a jacket and I know she'll be fine.
It isn't worth the mental energy.
Our neighbor who also has an 8 yr old has her daughter and son dressed to the hilt every day, layered clothes, hair styled, latest fashion. And she (the mom) tells me how much of a chore it can be and how they have to change clothes 2 or 3 times some days in the morning, uhm .... no thanks.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

As long as it's appropriate for the weather and clean I don't quibble. My kids frequently leave the house looking like circus freaks, but they love it... and I figure that's one less thing to argue over.

I haven't yet had to deal with "inappropriate" clothes -- my kids are too young to care about showing off their various body parts.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I make suggestions and let them choose for themselves. The way kids dress is not a reflection of the parents. It is a reflection of the child's style and comfort. I love to see kids in rain boots on a blue sky day, wearing shorts and a super hero cape. My thought is...that is one happy kid who is allowed to express himself.

We let them express themselves in these benign ways so they feel a sense of freedom. And the clothes must be appropriate for the moment or occasion. When it comes to showing off body parts or wearing dirty,stinky clothes then we call these "offensive" and "inappropriate" and it effects others. Overall this is working in our favor. The kids are not looking to push the limits.

We do require regular showering and simple hygiene maintenance. But..they do not balk at it at all. And they are swimmers and water polo players so I at least know they get a chlorinated "bath" everyday :)

If it is cold and your child is wearing light weight clothing then let her go to school and be cold. She might just grab a sweater or jacket the next time without you having to say a word.

Don't argue over mis matched clothing or not dressing warm is not worth it.

And if this stems from your worry of other parents that are judging you because you let her dress that way...well their opinions don't matter. Your relationship with your daughter needs to be stronger than your sense of what other people think. (Not saying that this is your issue..this was my worry years ago. Now I just don't flipping care what people think)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I didn't get in that fight. Is this really a battle you choose to fight?

We tell our kids to practice restraint. You need to do that everyday for a week. Say nothing about her clothing.

I'm willing to bet the fashion police will not call. Peers might comment but they are pretty preocupied with themselves. She might even start a trend or two. Fashion forward people take risks. You are not allowing that.

She will not freeze (if she does, she will wear something more weather appropriate next time).

You will have taken a needed step back. The wheels of life will keep turning. You will have reduced your stress AND hers. You might save your relationship at a crucial time in her life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I don't supervise it for my son (7) or daughter (11).
Unless, something my son is wearing is soiled or stained already before we even head out the door. Then I tell him to change.
I know what clothing or styles they have and its totally fine.

Whatever my kids wear is fine.
If they don't match, well that's fine.
At the school I work at, from Kinder to 5th grade, kids wear all kinds of things. Even mismatched. And some boys, wear their t-shirts backwards, because they want the design in front etc.
And, some kids do wear things and mismatch it on purpose.
I see this at my kids' school.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I guide, but I don't tell my 12-year old what to wear. I will let her know if what she has picked out is weather inappropriate or if it doesn't match, but she knows I will mention it once and if she wants to wear it, then she can wear it!

Sometimes if she doesn't match she'll ask me for help. Other times she doesn't care. If she doesn't care, I don't care either.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I don't.
My boys are 8 and 11 and my daughter is almost 3. They can wear what they want. Natural consequences. If they are cold then next time they will wear a jacket or sweatshirt.
How awful that there is a lot of arguing over this. her clothes, her choice. As long as she isn't wearing things that make her look like a floosy I don't see the problem.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My boys are younger (4 & 7), so it might be a little easier for me. Also they wear jeans everyday (literally - they don't like shorts).

Each morning I tell them what type of shirt they need to wear based on the weather - short sleeve, long sleeve, sweatshirt, etc. They make poor fashion choices, but I let them live with that.

This morning, my 4 year old will be going with his daycare class to the Festival of Trees. He's wearing a Halloween shirt. I suggested a Christmas shirt instead, but he wanted to wear the Halloween shirt. That's not a battle worth fighting. Now, if he wanted to wear a tank top (muscle shirt), that I would object to.

ETA - I do give stricter parameters when we're going to church or some other event where I feel they need to dress up. Actually, all I really need to say is "Church clothes!" They know what that means :-)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I'll send a kid back to change if he tries to wear shorts in December, but I don't bother saying anything about mismatching. I have boys though, so it is less likely to be an eyeball-burning clash like girl clothes can be.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i didn't. i had one who was too cool for coats, so i'd occasionally suggest, but if he wanted to freeze, it was on him.
what do you care if she's mismatched? if you're not another 10 year old, you don't have the right eye!
:D khairete

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

We have basic rules. Booty shorts are allowed under dresses to cover panties but never out in public for shorts. They can be worn over a leo only.

Spaghetti strap tops and dresses go over tops. They are not to be worn out in public ever.

Tummy's are private space and are to never be seen by anyone that is not inside our house.

Tight leggings are to be worn under dresses on cold days. Period. Leggings do not belong on kiddo's otherwise.
It's my job as I go through the laundry to remove clothes that are too small or not appropriate for the season. I store the off season clothes in tubs in MY space. That way "I" have total control over who has access to it.

The kids are overwhelmed with enough so keeping their clothes to a minimum that they have free access to is what I think of as my thing to do.

Can it get messed up? Of course it can and mama gets mad. BUT if I keep the tubs in my closet or in my extra closet in the guest bedroom or even in their own closet if they won't go into it then it's much easier to make sure they don't access it.

One thing I do that helps me do this all the time is this:

I keep 2 large tubs under my folding table in the laundry room. I bought ones that fit the space. I measured the distance between the legs and how tall the table is. This way I know if the tubs I got would fit well.

As I take the clothes out of the dryer and go through them to fold or hang them I check sizes of garments I am not sure still fit.

If it's too small and needs to go away it goes into the tub to get rid of. In my house that's the tub on the right side.

If the garment is off season, such as a tank top that is pretty thin, and it's snowing outside then IF IF IF that garment will probably fit her in the heat of next summer it goes in the tub on the left. The keep and store tub.

If it might not fit then I tend to put it in the get rid of stuff tub. I don't need extra stuff sitting around that may not fit.

I go through these tubs often and give the stuff in the right tub to anyone who wants it.

I switch out clothes in October/November and March/April. I put up all shorts and tank tops, summer items that cannot be worn in cooler weather. The kids do not need access to that.

As it gets cooler I take out the sweaters and heavy coats. I keep these put up because they are bulky and take up a lot of space in the closet or drawers.

Again, I sort out the clothes and am always looking at the garments to see if it's something I'd let them wear out of the house. If it's not then I manage it.

This way the kids only have access to clothes they need for the weather that is going on.

Of course there are warm days in the fall and cold days in April and even May. So there is cross over time. If you have their clothes managed well you can put your hands on something if it's needed at any time.

I put colored duct tape on the outside of the tub. I use light blue or white for boys stuff and pink or purple/lilac colors then write what's inside.

Such as:

John-heavy winter clothes, for winter 2013-2014, snow boots and ski pants

John-fall clothes/Halloween 2013

(This last tub only has mid season/transitional fall clothes and clothes that have Halloween themes on them such as pumpkins and witches. Tees that say Welcome to my website and stuff like that).

John-spring clothes 2014

(These are clothes that would be good transition items that can be worn on days that are cool in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Lightweight long sleeve tees, heavier short sleeves tee shirts, some longer heavy weight shorts, and transitional stuff).

John-summer clothes 2014

(This tub would include flip flops, sandals, shorts and tank tops, etc. Hot hot hot weather stuff).

If you're not good at remembering to switch stuff out then go to your calendar, yahoo calendar, google calendar, etc...and put in reminders to be sent to your email and your phone. I don't need them anymore because I switch stuff out all the time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Not something I'm interested in arguing over or micromanaging. I wouldn't want someone telling ME what to wear, so I treat my kids with the same respect.
Plus getting dressed is a form of self expression, not mom expression!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You don't. I rarely say something to my daughter, also 10, because it leads to huge arguments. I can say I am not intune with 10 year old fashion either. I tell my kids how to dress for the weather and let them go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If she doesn't have stuff that you wouldn't approve of, (and unless they have holes, are dirty, or she's not dressed appropriately for a special event) leave it alone. (unless it's below freezing). Maybe she doesn't like matchy-matchy.

It's not a battle worth fighting. Let her deal with the consequences of her choices when it really doesn't have dire consequences. It'll help her learn to make better choices/deal with consequences when it's important. And it'll cut down on the fighting, which you DON'T need as she heads into puberty.

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answers from New York on

Choose your battles!!!! This is one not worth fighting unless she is going out in shorts when it is snowing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

That is not a battle I choose to have. My dd has sensory issues and has enough trouble getting any clothing on her body, much less matching clothing. I draw the line at wearing tights with a t-shirt. Other than that, I will let her wear what she wants/can.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I love it, and the answers because it's nice to know that people do pay attention to what their kids are wearing overall. With my oldest I let her wear whatever she wanted together and in fact she still wears mismatched socks at times because she says she “doesn’t want to look for the mate”. I buy all my kids clothes so unless it’s not weather appropriate I would let it go.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter wore what she wanted to wear as long as it was appropriate for school and within school dress codes.

That wasn't a battle I wanted to fight. She was capable of making her own clothing choices.

As a substitute, we've seen it all, especially with girls and their clothing styles and selections. They are learning.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I point it out when it will be a problem - like dress shoes on gym day, or no coat when it's freezing out. I don't care if my DD wears imperfect outfits if she is covered and dressed in something clean for the weather that day. Frankly, I'd rather overlook mismatched patterns (which is kind of a "thing" - they even sell deliberately mismatched clothing) and focus on things like a skirt being too short or her homework being done. If she owns nothing you overall wouldn't approve of, let her choose.

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answers from New London on

The only time I really watch is based on weather and if we are going somewhere nice. Any other time they pick and they are 4 and 7

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answers from Seattle on

As long as my kids wear weather/temperature appropriate clothing, I don't care if it matches or not. It cuts down on SO many arguments. I see clothing choices as a way for kids to express themselves in a healthy, non-harmful way.

It's been chilly lately and my daughter's been wanting to wear her summer tank tops. I've been saying no. Well, the other day she found a way to wear them: "Mommy, if I wear this long sleeve shirt too, can I wear my tank top?" It was a compromise I was ok with, so she's been wearing her tank tops under some warmer clothes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

DD (6, in first grade) wears a uniform to school so she gets to pick out uniform pieces within reason and she gets to pick something to change into after school, as long as it's simple (jeans and t-shirt). As long it's appropriate for the weather, I've learned it's not worth battling over, or appearing overly critical.

A friend of mine has twin boys who are now 7. One pays attention to how things match and go together, the other one could not care less. My friend says most days he looks like the "Absent-Minded Professor" when he gets ready for school but they are usually in too much of a hurry to get out the door to really make an argument out of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Sally:

When I bought clothing for my children, they were all
solid colors so I didn't have to worry about mismatching.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I used to fight with my 8 year old about this. I finally just gave up, lol. The other day she wore dark blue jeans, with a floral skirt over it, then a grey T shirt with butterflies all over it. About 5 bracelets, 2 neclaces and a head band. My husband and her teachers have all just told me that I need to let her explore her own style and if she is not dressed for the weather, then she will have the natural consequence for it and will dress for the weather the next time. I might not always think she matches or looks like a normal person, but as long as she IS dressed in day clothes and everything that needs to be covered is covered, then I need to let it go. I think it's mostly a phase now and she will grow out of it (hopefully before high school, lol!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My son is six. Anything really inappropriate for weather is already out of his dresser.

He loves for us to just lay his clothes out, and my husband usually does it in the morning. I like to encourage independence and will just tell him "long sleeved shirt and long pants, socks, undies" and he'll go to it. The only time I veto anything is if he comes out with something that was meant to be playclothes (stained, small holes) then I might say "Oops! I forgot to set that aside, let's go find something else." His clothes are pretty simple, all the pants are solid colors so there's no worry about coordinating colors, etc. Even if there were-- hey, he's the one who wears them. So long as there aren't pictures planned, I don't really care what he wears.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I just make sure it's weather appropriate. Other than that I don't care as long as they're dressed. My kids are 9 & 6.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't. I have two boys, 9 and almost 16. As long as they are in dress code for school, they may wear what they want. It has been interesting watching their styles develop through the years. My oldest has a wonderful sense of style now, and looks great! My youngest still makes me shake my head some days, but I keep my mouth shut. He'll evolve, just like his brother did.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I don't.
Even for the 4 YO. If they don't match, oh well.
They do not always dress for the weather either. Not worth the arguing.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I don't, unless my eight year old chooses something that's two sizes too small for him.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I always think it's so cute when my daughter picks out her own crazy mismatched outfit. :)

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answers from Jacksonville on

Not that much.

If she only owns things that you find acceptable, how she chooses to put them together is how she is expressing herself. Why try to exert control over that? If you don't think it matches, and you think she did something on "accident" then fine, mention your concern, but don't exert your authority. You know... "Honey, are you sure that stripes and plaids work ok together.. ?" instead of "You can't wear stripes and plaids together, go change one of them."

Pick your battles. This shouldn't be one.

My daughter is 12. She made a batgirl costume for Halloween/spirit week at school (superhero day). The shirt is just a plain cheap black Tshirt we picked up at Walmart and cut out yellow fabric into the bat shape and fabric glued to the front. The rest of her costume was also made of mostly normal stuff.. but it looked AMAZING all put together.

She has since then (the past 19 days) worn the shirt to school as an every day shirt. Wouldn't have been my choice. But there is nothing inherently wrong with the shirt. It's a plain, black, long sleeved Tshirt. It's not revealing. It's brand new. It isn't faded. I asked her if she was sure... and she was, and that was the end of that. Now, the fabric bat symbol is started to fray (we didn't "finish" the edges, just cut it out and glued it on) and I pointed out to her that she won't get many more wears out of it b/c of that. She was sad, but hasn't worn it again.

If it is just style, let her choose. Guide, but don't demand.
Oh... and I might be wrong, but, the fact that you say that it "always leads to a lot of arguing" says to me that you aren't just pointing out things, but asking her to change them. It's ok to mention things, but don't make her feel badly or expect her to change them to make you happy. She will either agree with you, or not. And either way is fine. Don't undermine her self esteem by making her think she makes "bad" choices. They are just different than yours, and that is ok. They're only clothes. And you bought them!
Oh.. sorry about another edit, but I just remember that wearing mismatched socks is a "thing" right now. Has been for a little while. I said something the first time I noticed my daughter had on different socks. "Your socks don't match, could you not find the other one?" Her: "I know." Me: "Do you want me to help you find a match?" Her: "No. I know where they are."
The end.
I decided to look at it as a gift, and I told her, "Yay! Now I don't need to bother matching up your socks when I fold the laundry!" She is fine with that. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I will send my boys back to change something if it is completely awful, or if we are going somewhere and I want them to be presentable. If I didn't say something when they dress inappropriately then how will they learn to dress appropriately? They have never argued about it though.


answers from Norfolk on

Our son (just turned 15) just doesn't care.
He's fine with me choosing the clothes he owns and he picks out what to wear on any given day.
The only time I'll tell him to go try again is if I notice his shirt/pants are dirty/stained or have a hole in them.
I'm lucky I've got such an easy going kid!


answers from Iowa City on

Clothes in the dresser are play clothes. Clothes in the closet are school clothes. As long as my daughter picks something from the school clothes section, she can wear what she wants. Warm weather clothes are in storage when it is cold outside so she can't really do the weather inappropriate thing.

She is only 6 so more often than not she just wants to pick the shirt and then I add the pants.

I also let my 3 year old pick what she wants to wear. Sometimes she tells me to pick and sometimes she is very insistent on wearing a certain clothing item.

This morning neither child wanted to pick. Then the 6 year old didn't like what I pulled out for her.


answers from Erie on

Is it clean? Is it weather appropriate or close to it? If they are wearing it to school, does it conform to the dress code? Health and safety are my concerns. Any clothing to be worn in a picture or at an event requiring a certain kind of dress, those are the clothes I control (mostly). Otherwise, they can do as they please. Two of my boys currently have blue hair. I love these years :)



answers from Washington DC on

My girls have always put together their own outfits from an early age. I used to argue. Now, unless it is something embarrassing (like the other day her skirt was tucked into her pantyhose), I let them be. Their peers will sort it out, and when my oldest was younger her peers always wanted to be able to wear her crazy creations. Pick your battles.



answers from Denver on

Not too much at all - although she's only 7. If she's clean and covered, I am ok. If she says she's warm enough, I let her learn if she is or not (within reason). She does often look like "punky brewster", but I think it's healthy to let her express herself. I guess I'm pretty far along the spectrum... if she's covered, I'm ok :). Having said all of that, my mom was the opposite. Always picking at what I wore - or telling me what to wear and how to wear my hair.... maybe I'm purposefully going in the opposite direction!!!!



answers from Phoenix on

I asked this question a couple of months ago and got a lot of the same responses as you. I have 6 kids and wondered what others did. For my 13 SS, he picks his own clothes out, sometimes he matches sometimes he doesn't. I don't question his taste, I figure he's in junior high and if he chooses not to match, that's his problem. For my 10 SD, she is a tomboy and only wears bulky tshirts and boy basketball shorts. So, although I wish she'd wear girl clothes, it's her style and she usually matches, I don't say anything. My 7 & 9 sons, I pick their clothes out the night before. They never say anything or ask me to stop, so I will continue until the issue arises. My 7 SD, we pick her clothes out together. Usually she picks the shirt she wants and I help her to find pants that match. If she picks a tank top in winter, I just tell her it's too cold and she's fine with that. My 4 daughter and I pick out together as well. I want to teach them how to match and look presentable. So far, we've had no battles of the wills so I feel there is no harm in helping.


answers from San Diego on

If it's not appropriate with the weather or our activity for the day I will say something and help them come up with a way to make it so.
If it looks really bad together I make a suggestive comment about it but don't always do anything beyond that. Depends on how bad it is.
If it's looking ratty I will step in and say no or if it's passable for the day and I don't want to have the fight I will say that's the last day they can wear it, it gets tossed at the end of the day and doesn't go in the hamper.
If it's dirty it comes off.
The short of the long winded is, depends. Some things aren't worth the fight, others are. Depends on the day.



answers from New York on

My own experience isn't relevant here (I've got a 7-year-old boy who would wear the same exact clothes 'til Kingdom Come if I let him, just to save himself the trouble of changing), but I've got a suggestion:

Could you open up your own closet and ask her to help you solve some "dilemmas"?

"Hmmmm. I know I can't wear stripes, plaid, and polka-dots together. Can you help me find an outfit that's simple and elegant, but with this scarf?"

"Hmmmm. I actually like this shade of orange, but it probably won't look good with pink or red. Can you help me find a contrasting color?"

She'll probably pick up principles of good taste if you tell her she's already an expert, at her age.



answers from Lancaster on

MY now 14 yr old DD used to put some crazy outfits together. I would only veto it if it was not weather appropriate. Other than that, I might make a suggestion but she could wear purple, orange, red & green at the same time if she really wanted to. She said she never cared what others thought and she's still that way, although her fashion sense has come a long way. A little individuality is probably a good thing in this case.



answers from Amarillo on

We went with coordinating colors. She could have a plaid with a solid or something else as long as the basic colors matched (blue/green/tan/red). There were times when I would cringe but it all went together and I left it alone.

She has to learn how to dress herself sometime. If she does not take a coat with her and it turns cold she will suffer the consequence of being cold or catch a cold.

if you don't like something she is wearing, make subtle suggestions as to something else. I liked "I suggest that you _____ instead of _____." Let her make it choice.

Fashion statements are what they are, statements. Take pictures of some that you do not like as well as the ones you do like so that you have a comparison of styles for the future in her book.

Stop the fight. There are bigger ones coming down the pike.

the other S.

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