Posted on April 14 2016
Believe it or not, children begin to develop personal style in early childhood. Since so many of us have children on Social Media sites, I am pretty sure you have heard the term “let kids be kids” (whatever that means), kindly refer them to this blog! As soon as children start showing other signs of individuality, they will begin to demonstrate preferences for particular colors, patterns and themes. Take this opportunity to engage with those natural affinities, and their style will further evolve. Don’t worry if your kids are already past the point of self-sufficiency when you first set out to help them develop a sense of style: just start where they are.
Give Kids Confidence in Their Abilities
Kids who are allowed to dress themselves or those who help to pick their own clothes, often develop a sense of accomplishment, which encourages them to become more independent and before long, they’ll have mastered the basics. The more they dress themselves the quicker they will become at getting dressed. The tensions felt in the mornings while getting dressed will slowly dissipate. The physical process of getting dressed will also build motor skills. Set the stage for success by giving plenty of time to practice when there’s less pressure to get out the door. Encourage dress-up play, and let them have all those wardrobe changes. Sometime I wonder if my kids have things planned that I don’t know about but keep in mind, this will allow your kids to develop creative methods of wearing hats or knee high socks early on, and the bridge to tying shoelaces won’t be so shaky.
Talk About the Art of Fashion
If your daughter is studying symmetry in art, talk about balance and proportion in dressing. Note how a full skirt looks great with a fitted top, but less pleasing with a bulky sweater. This early education could prevent her from falling into the teen trap of pairing tight with tighter.
As your son grows more aware of how colors play off each other, begin pointing out complementary colors and values. Recognize his successes, and be specific with your praise. For lessons that last, integrate fashion advice with other learning.
Enhance Features and Boost Self Esteem
Teaching kids to accentuate assets when they’re young will help set the stage for later discussions. Also, point out differences like colors that complement your daughter’s complexion but wash out your own. These conversations will make it easier to one day discuss how best to dress for body proportions, and consider any shape as a feature to be flattered instead of a flaw to work around.
Dress for the Occasion
Make it clear that there are times when you will be the deciding factor on what is worn outside the house. Consider giving kids free rein most of the time, as long as the clothing fits the occasion. Go over what is appropriate for different occasions. Many adults struggle with what to wear and when to wear it, take this as an opportunity to teach your child what is appropriate. You may cringe to see them walk out the door not living up to your style, but those are often the outfits they’re most proud of. Even though you may be tempted to say, Are you seriously wearing socks with Toms?! Just let your little protege live in their moment. For occasions when you have something in mind, try presenting a few acceptable options. Let your child make the final call, but you would be happy with any of them.
Take Note of Fashion Trends
Get a feel for current styles the kids in your area are wearing. Sampling trends is a fun way to explore the boundaries of personal style. If your daughter doesn’t have a strong sense of style yet, being aware of what's in fashion may help her feel more comfortable in her social environment, whether she chooses to blend in or stand out.
Seek Style Inspiration
Pick a few magazine pages, catalogs or websites with clothes you approve of and share them with your kids. Sit down one-on-one, so there’s no swaying of opinions. See what they’re drawn to. You may discover that your four-year-old has a penchant for Hip Hop street style, or that your tween’s fashion muse is Bryshere Y. Gray.