How to dress your child

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I often see many new Dads discuss situations that they, as well as their families, are going through; from Teething, Baby led weaning or the battle of sleeping through the night. I look and listen to what they have to say and will often reflect back on my time and either give advice or just convey my empathy; more often than not the most reliable advice that I can say is that it changes and you will face new challenges at every stage.

However, 6 years and two boys later, there is still one situation that will have me waking up in the dead of night, dripping in a cold sweat terrified:

How to dress your child? Getting the children dressed without any support or guidance as to what they should be wearing!

If you are like me you have just got over the Christmas rush and are pleased to get back in to a daily routine. But, again if you are like me, your children were spoilt over Christmas and now their wardrobe looks like this:


Where are you now meant to start?

There suddenly becomes a herculean challenge ahead of you; you have to now choose the most suitable outfit possible for your child. My head starts racing with hundreds of different thoughts but possibly the most important one lingers; will their Mum approve or roll their eyes?

You have somehow got to find something that resembles an outfit amongst what now appears to be a Narnian crafted wardrobe, which may possibly also be a pop up baby clothing store, inside your house that you didn’t know about.

If I am honest I still struggle with this challenge but I have learnt a few tips that have helped me get through without any major disasters:

  1. Layers.

Hot or cold you cannot put enough layers on your child. You will quickly realise if your child is too warm and then you can remove a layer where appropriate. Better to take an item off than hear the sentence “Is that all they’re wearing!”

  1. Dress for visits.

Everyone in your family will always be pleased to see you and your child, but if they have bought an outfit as a present then put your child in it. There is nothing more shunning than having your mum, for example, commenting on “what a cute top they have on” and you replying that the mother in-law got it. They may smile but you will be equally shunned.
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  1. Earn some relationship points.

We all have children who own a top that says “Messy like Daddy” or “I love my Mummy” It is the most tempting thing to see a top with Daddy on it and put them in it. But it is a rookie mistake. Always put them in the one that praises your partner. They’ll think it’s cute and they are less likely to disapprove of the outfit with their name on it!

  1. They have no Likes or Dislikes.

Whatever personal choice you have do not force it on your child. You support a football team? Think they’ll look cute in your favourite team’s shirt?
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Yes they will, but only you will think so; Same if you’re geeky.
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Everyone else who sees will just roll their eyes.

  1. Go with their Eye Colour.

Maybe not so simple if you have girls or maybe it is; I really don’t know. But from a Dad with boys I will tell you it works a treat!

Children seem to have massive eyes; they can melt the hearts of the toughest people. So help them shine and sparkle by choosing colours that promote them.
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  1. There are always set outfits that ‘just work’.

From my experience there will always be an outfit that never fails: Dungarees are always a winner, as well as Tank Tops, Cardigans and Waist Coats. Dresses and a nice formal Shirt are always good in most situations; unless you’re doing messy play.

(This might be a personal one from my point of view)

  1. Matching outfits are allowed.

If you have more than one child and of the same gender, no further than 4 years apart, then it is completely reasonable to dress them up so they either wear matching outfits or have a similar designs. I have and still do this all the time and have never heard anyone question the decision. They always seem to look cute, especially when they go to events or parties!

These tips have always been a good encouragement to enter the depths of an unknown world and not come out with a child looking like a King or Queen of Narnia who has been dressed by a faun carrying an umbrella!

Do you have any tips on helping organise outfits for your child? What have you found that always seems to work without question?

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  1. Tommy

    For me, school term time is easiest, I wash uniforms daily so keep them in those. It’s the weekends and holidays in struggle. I went through a phase of letting them pick and the eldest 2 don’t look 2 bad. My Yong established girl however ins constantly sent back to find something else. I don’t have a great dress sense (as my girlfriend likes to point out) but I try my best.
    I mostly agree with all tou e said although I have no interest intern pleasing mum lol. Eye colour is a new one on me though, so I will TRY and work with that. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

    Great blog as always mate :)

    • martyn

      Thanks Tommy.

      Like you, I have no want to pleasing their mum, but guys in our situation are rare. Thought it best to help some of the married dad’s as well.

      I’m not at the age where I can let mine pick for exactly the same reason that you stated. It would become even more of a challenge if I did.

      I have no dress sense either. Am sure it’s a dad thing. Even as a child I was told to pick by eye colour though. I, as well as my boys, have bright blue eyes. Choosing outfits that match or promote this fact always seems to work. Give it a try would love to hear how you got on with it.

  2. Mathew Lajoie

    Layers are definitely the way to go. One gets messy, just remove and continue with your day.

    I put my son in basics, always, and shy away from graphic shirts. Makes him look sharp and his wardrobe is easily organized.

    Great post!

    • Al Ferguson

      He’s certainly sharp :)

  3. Gary Mathews

    Now that is a single father’s guide to getting your children dressed. Lucky for you it’s boys and not a girl because then hair comes into play. Congrats on your first post on here good post as always Martyn!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thanks for your comment Gary – Yep, well done Martyn :)

  4. Robb

    It’s very important to the boys’ mum that the pieces of each outfit match. This is why I haven’t been “allowed” to dress them in months.

    • Al Ferguson

      We’ve got a collection of outfits that all match with each other, so it’s idiot proof…

  5. Robb

    I’m reading too many non-U.S. blogs; I’ve never said “mum” before in my life.

    • Al Ferguson

      ha! You can say Mom over here if you want.

  6. Mike Smith

    Great post! I try to buy clothes that match with multiple outfits we already own to help make things easy on myself. But when you get clothes as gifts it can mess up that plan.
    I 100% agree with the idea that if you are going to visit someone then dress your child in clothing that person got you as a gift. It makes them feel good.

  7. La Guardia Cross

    I’m only 2 months in, but THANKS for the heads up! I’ve already had a “I’m home alone with her and don’t know witch outfit still fits!” moment. She just got her shots, I was afraid to move her legs, I struggled to force an outfit too small on her, she screamed…good times.

    This blog will help me prevent future clothing mishaps!

    • Al Ferguson

      Great, shout if any of us can ever help with anything.

  8. Ashley Beolens

    An interesting post, hopefully it will go some way to fight the typical dad stereo type that we can’t dress our kids! At least it will help aid those who struggle.

  9. DBTH | Social PR (@DBTHSocialPR)

    I am a little guilty when it comes to be a little bit slapdash in the morning when I am getting my son ready – Odd socks build character! The other thing I am slighty guilty off is being massively suckered in by him t-shirts with band/film logo that I like and he has no idea off. Damn those clever marketing people :) Putting the Stone Roses album cover on a t-shirt for 6-12 months year old means… Every single time I see this sort of thing i cant resist..

    What a fool I am, and what a cool kid he is…

    • Al Ferguson

      Brilliant last sentence :)

  10. Karen (@karenjwhitlock)

    Fab post – and completely right that you are never going to have a mother make you change your child out of a “I love mummy” or similar t-shirt!

  11. Rachel

    Good post, and certainly very good advice for the Dads out there. Will have to share this with the Hubby. He’s guilty of the rookie mistake of putting “I love my Daddy” and “Daddy’s my hero” tops on my son all the time ;) haha!

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