How to Set Fashion Guidelines Your Kids Will Want to Follow

I’ve discovered that getting Jack to follow a few simple rules when it comes to getting dressed in the morning doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are a few tricks I use to keep us both happy (and him looking great), from embracing his love of wacky colors to letting him wear mismatched socks.


Come up with fun themes. My son is only 7 so it’s easy for me to designate days of the week into jeans, a button front shirt, comfy clothes, something green and every other xyz. My little guy likes when I tell him it’s yellow day. He runs into his room and throws on something with SpongeBob on it. Helping your child navigate his outfit with one tip like, any top you want WITH jeans is an efficient and fun idea.

Shop for shoes as a team. Jack rotates 2 to 3 pairs of school sneakers at a time. I allow him to pick out one pair he loves—even if they are lime green and yellow and orange and light up (ugh!). Then I make him select a more neutral pair, like navy blue, black or grey Converse. I also designate a pair of sneaks just for playtime and don’t worry about them getting all muddy.

Find role super models. If Jack gives me a problem about wearing a button front or polo to school every now and then, I always remind him that his super cool uncles wear dressy-casual shirts to work everyday. Next thing I know, Jack is dressed and ready to go! Suggest your kids wear outfits similar to their fav TV characters. And remember, your appearance rubs off on your kid. Are you always running around in yoga pants, an oversized sweatshirt, no makeup and a sloppy bum (OK, OK, sometimes I am, but I aim to put it all together because I care how I represent myself—and lil fam!). Dress to impress … Your kid will too!

Declare every Friday comfy clothes day! Sweats, track pants, cotton T-shirts—the rule is NO zippers or buttons. If your kid is like mine, he will love to dress down and cozy for school!

Set a fashion budget. If your kid needs new clothes or shoes, fine. Explain they have X dollars to spend at X store. They have no choice but to try on the items and model them for you so you can make sure they fit appropriately.

Keep it all organized. Keep winter accessories at the ready for your kid. Once it gets cold out, the puffy jacket goes on the hook in the mudroom and scarves, gloves and hats go in a nearby drawer. Having everything in one place keeps things orderly and giving your child an option between a Batman hat, red hat, and a few pairs of different patterned gloves gives them the choice or ahem power they want when they are whining about not wanting to wear a hat during the polar vortex.

Mix and match. As long as my child is dressed weather-appropriate or covered up, I encourage him to select outfits and be creative. So he doesn’t match perfectly one day—big deal! This is great because tomorrow it’s YOUR turn to select his perfectly coordinated outfit.

Photo: Getty

*This post is sponsored by Mott’s.