When Did Your Child Care About What Other Kids Were Wearing?

Updated on October 18, 2011
F.W. asks from Cumberland, MD
11 answers

So this is kind of JFF and partially to get some perspective. My 3 year old had a meltdown had her first dance class because we did not bring a tutu and some of the other girls did. Next 4 classes she did great--really engaged and all. Yesterday she wore a leotard and tights since I wanted to sign her up for a more formal class once this one is over --most of the girls had the same outfit on until an older child walks in with a cupcake like confection of a dress you'd wear at a performance. My daughter stopped in her tracks and didn't want to dance because she wasn't fancy enough. Arrrgh! Given the previous response you lovely ladies gave to her fashion tantrum and given that this was not as much anxiety produced as her 1st class meltdown, I told her we were leaving unless she tried to keep going since her "performance" class is next week and she needed to "practice" She got back into it and moved on but she still was all envious of that little girls dress! So when did your child start to feel the peer pressure to dress a certain way? Any tips?

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answers from Seattle on

EXACT same age.

No tantrums about it but at 3;

he wanted hair like M's
skin like D's
shoes' like N's
and a uterus like mommy (he wanted a baby in his tummy for 2 solid years)

It's pretty developmentally normal for both toddlers and teens to want to be like other people.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think that in that situation, I'd should point out that the girl has a nice dress, yes, but no one else is wearing one. I'd remind DD that dancing is a process and when she gets older, too, she can earn performance dresses like that.

My DD might envy the dress in and of itself, but she's more likely to insist on boots because SD wore boots or a jacket if I mentioned we might need one or the pink tutu swimsuit because she pretends (Angelina Ballerina?) she's going to dance class. I pick and choose those battles. Yesterday she had a neon tie-dye dress with black leggings with colored skulls on them, brown sandals and a gray hoodie. Usually her outfits are "dress" or "pants" and we go from there.

I don't remember SD caring much til later in elementary school. Kindergarten was a private school that had uniforms (that she hated). 1st her mom got her so worried about matching and SD came home all happy that nobody else matched, either. By 4th or 5th, though, she was definitely picky about her outfits.


answers from Austin on

We sometimes used to allow our child to dress in fancy things or fun things to go out in public, but made sure she understood "this is just for fun". Or she could wear the hat or Tail all of the time, "except to dance class". then I would "hold onto it till she was finished with dance".
Make some allowances, but explain there are just some times, we have to dress "normal"..

At our daughters dance classes at this age, no tutus were allowed for this exact reason.. It was pink tights and black leotard and pink shoes. All of them. They all looked exactly the same.

I think our daughter did not try to be like the others, but had her own preferences from an early age. Until kindergarten, she loved dresses and jumpers. Refused to wear pants. NO tennis shoes. She was fine with shorts and wore them under her dresses or wore "bloomers" and leggings.

In Kindergarten the school had rules about every child had to wear tennis shoes everyday. They all run track every day. They suggested shorts under all dresses and still leggings.

It was not till about 3rd grade, she decided she wanted to try on Jeans. Once she was in middle school it was jeans and tshirts.. She was famous for her tshirts. She even designed and printed on her tshirts. (Artist) NO DRESSES! Skirts.. were ok if she had to wear one.

This continued till she got to College.. Now she is better at dressing like a grown person, she had an internship this summer and only wore dresses.. My husband was over the moon. He loved seeing her dressed up. She seemed to really get into the shopping and dressing up.

Try to work with her on some types of choices. Also let her know her attitude makes a difference. Good attitude, positive out come.. Fits, are ALWAYS a no.


answers from Phoenix on

My kids are older, 12 yo tomboy and 9 yo son. I don't remember them doing this. And even know, my son doesn't really care what he wears or anyone else for that matter, but I have to say he dresses himself and actually matches...so I'm just happy with that! My 12 yo is a tomboy and is very unique with her own "style". I'm glad they are like this but I'm sure when they get to Jr High or High school it will matter more to them what they are wearing so they 'fit in'.


answers from Santa Fe on

My 7 year old son has still not done this. He could care less. He does like certain clothes for himself if I let him pick something out he has a definite opinion. But he has never really noticed what other kids are wearing...yet. Our daughter is 2. We will see if she is like your daughter as she gets older. She does seem to notice clothes already.



answers from Indianapolis on

I think my daughter noticed at 3. She loves to dress up. She insists on wearing a dress or skirt to school everyday. When my daughter was in dance class she had to wear the little skirts or she wouldn't dance. It's enough to drive any mother crazy.


answers from Houston on

Good question. Our 11 yr old son could care less what he wears to school. He's in 6th grade, big school, modern trends, big city etc. I remember 6th grade and I wanted what all the cool kids were wearing. Polo or Izod shirts, levi's 501's, adidas shoes. My parents did the best they could but I was well aware of the 'look'. We have tried to get him up to speed and he has no interest. So I just buy him what's in style and hope he realizes it, lol.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter noticed what other people wore at 2. It wasn't until she was 3, however, and truly understood consumerism, that I started to get questions like "can we buy me one of those." She started picking out her own outfits around 15 months.

She has never thrown a tantrum, however. She was very aware of what the other girls had on at her first ballet class, but I made sure she had on a leotard she loved, so it didn't matter to her what they wore. Also, none of the girls were dressed in fancy tutu's, etc. It says leotard and tights, so they were in leotards (with small skirts) and tights.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Well...actual "peer pressure" and "fitting in" type clothing opinions...I would say 7-8 years old with my son.
Now, in 3rd grade, everything has to be a sports jersey, NO jeans (only wind pants) and he's now WAAAAAAY too cool to wear a Mario or any other character shirt to school, but assures me that he "can" still wear them "around the house"! LOL
In first grade, I could have put a skirt and blouse on him and he would have been clueless.


answers from Milwaukee on

My son loves "Cars" and "Phineas and Ferb." If he sees someone with one of those t-shirts he'll follow them around and try to talk about them. It's so funny because he has no concept of personal space. He'll stand in front of them and start pointing out the different things. He gets really excited about back packs and lunch bags too.

After seeing "Cars 2" we were walking out and he saw a little GIRL wearing a Cars shirt. It was the SAME ONE he was wearing. You'd think they were long lost friends. He thought it was great someone else had a MATCHING shirt. He now calls that his "girl" shirt.


answers from Norfolk on

Having a boy, my son doesn't really care about what he wears or what others wear.
He was about 5 when he said he thinks a lot of girls picks things to wear that are just stupid - can't run because of stupid shoes, can't climb because of stupid dresses, etc.
Dressing for a look that forces/causes you to cut back on your fun is not something that makes sense to him.
I hope he remembers this his whole life.

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