Summer Fashion

Fashion Forward Children: What do your children teach you about summer fashion?

If you are like me, your kids grow faster than your small garden of vegetables. More often than not, as soon as I am done stocking up one kid, another either expresses or displays the need for a wardrobe update. For some reason, this generation of children has decided the days of hand-me-downs are gone. My children have it very clear in their mind that they do not want to wear anything old or used, unless it is something that is still in great condition or something they really like of their siblings’, which I might add is rare. If you factor into the equation that I have four kids; well, you can imagine how much time I spend buying clothes.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons to buy clothes for my kids. It is more relaxed colorful and overall, cheaper! As a parent of four, my strategy is to go for the basics. Jean shorts and plain tee-s are all I think is necessary. It was a great surprise when I realized (long ago) that not only did we not have the same sense of style, but that I could not tell them what they were going to wear.

Hence, I developed a shopping ritual with my children. I give them a reasonable time frame (20-25 minutes) in which toselect what they would like to try on. They are able to pick whatever they like, no matter how outrageous. Meanwhile, I go searching for the things they need and the garments I, as the mother, think would be beneficial. Once the time limit is up, we meet at the dressing room and try things on.

As crazy as it might seem, such a system allows for the experience to remain light-hearted and fun. In addition, it helps manage time but most importantly, it ensures we meet our goal of getting our needs for clothing met. If I leave the shopping entirely to my children, they will buy one outrageous item and have nothing to wear.

I love to see what catches their attention and what they think is beautiful. It forces me to open my mind and see things from a whole new perspective. I realize my frame of mind is coming from my own childhood memory and while it is nostalgic and fun to explore, the reality is, it is no longer accurate nor relevant.

My oldest is highly knowledgeable about summer trends. She is well informed and has a keen eye for fashion. Her favorite summer look consists of a pair of cool capris with flats paired with a colorful sheer shirt with a discreet yet playful print, layered with a tank top. What most impresses me of my 13-year-old daughter’s sense of fashion is how elegant and evolved it is. After observing her style and how pretty and sophisticated she looks, I will admit, I no longer buy many plain tee’s for myself!

My 11-year-old has me wondering about time travel. Suddenly, without any cueing from anyone she is fascinated with the 1980’s. Her favorite songs are exactly the ones I used to listen to when I was her age! Watching her passionately sing the lyrics to songs that were “modern” when I was growing up is definitely a bizarre experience. Needless to say, she opts for the fashion that mirrors that time frame. Her favorite summer look consists of high-waist woven shorts with a lace frill, a sleeveless jean top or a patterned loose shirt (which she tucks in) with shoulder pads. She believes my “basics” philosophy is”so 90’s” and terribly boring! Ironically, her current favorite TV show is “Friends”.

Luckily, my younger children are not worried about every detail of their appearance yet. They have strong opinions when presented with a choice, but they do not have any initiative yet. I am still able to experiment with colors and patterns with them!

This summer I was happy to find a large selection of linen shirts for my four-year-old son. While I am automatically drawn to the basic colors; this time I opted for a floral Hawaiian print in green tones. It is said green and yellow hueshelp soothe children’s emotions. I am not a fan of cargo shorts, so I was delighted to find a wide array of button down shorts that had lined or checkered patterns in a variety of colors. However, my son’s summer essential is his Spain soccer shirt. Considering it is the #WorldCup2014 summer it is definitely “a la mode”!

Overall I have learned from experience (and my children) that summer fashion is individualized, whimsical, colorful and full of surprises. What has your child taught you about summer fashion?

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