Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Toddlers, Babies and Dresses

I received a great question yesterday, asking about a topic I'd been thinking about writing a post on for a while now.

Do my girls only wear dresses?

For Sadie the answer is, for the most part, yes.

Now before anyone says: "That's just wrong!" I'll elaborate. I don't make Sadie wear dresses. But I have stopped buying her pants. The reason is simple: she won't wear them. She demands dresses.

A few times, when I tried to force the pants issue, she dissolved in tears while sobbing something about "princesses."

When it's cold she will agree to wearing her stretch pants under her dress. However I have to pick my battles and I'm not going to force my daughter to wear something I wouldn't want to wear... Although sometimes I do have to put my foot down and say "No, you are not going to wear THAT princess dress for the third day in a row. We need to wash it!"

Then there are the snoods. So far, if I let her (or even left her snood lying around) she'd wear it everyday. She calls it her "hat." After a few hours she does get bored with it and take it off, but she can also be quite passionate about keeping it on (we had near tears when she wanted to wear it to Mass one day and I wasn't getting it on her head fast enough...).

She also insists on wearing her apron whenever I'm wearing mine. And if she wants to wear her apron and I'm not wearing mine, she'll bring me my apron and attempt to put it on me.

What it basically comes down to is this: She still wants to be like Mommy. And Mommy wears dresses. I know the day is coming when being like Mommy won't be cool, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
And I definitely won't discourage it.
The issue of modesty was also part of the question (that it's more difficult for little ones to be modest when they're wearing dresses). I haven't really found this to be the case. I'd be telling Sadie to sit like a lady in pants or a dress (we're definitely old enough to learn not to sprawl on a pew during Mass!). We haven't had problems with her pulling her dress up or anything like that, so for us the "modesty" aspect has really been a non-issue.

With Mae Bae it's a bit trickier. She's wearing 3T outfits now (yeah... I know... we have huge babies... She's almost 13 months old...). The problem with 3T's is that they aren't really designed for diaper-wearers. Getting a 3T over a bulky diaper is a battle that often ends in tears. Slipping a dress over her head is easy and quick. And she's actually been walking much more steadily and frequently (pretty much all the time now) since she's been wearing more dresses (the fact that I have to find a matching shirt and shorts combo also means more time spent that I really don't have, whereas grabbing a dress involves... putting my hand in the closet and pulling out a dress and is pretty quick).

If Mae wants to wear pants she can (and if Sadie wants too she can too!). But I have a feeling she may just follow in her big sister's footsteps. She wants to do everything that Sadie does... and as long as Sadie is wearing dresses, I have a feeling Mae will want to wear dresses too!


  1. Elanor went through the exact same phase around age 2 or so. She REFUSED to wear pants and would only wear dresses. (Even now, at age 6, she prefers dresses to pants, but will thankfully wear either.) Problem was, it was the middle of the winter in North Dakota. I ended up buying her several pairs of warm cotton tights to wear with the dresses so her poor legs wouldn't freeze!

  2. All of my daughters will wear nothing but dresses until they have opinions to do otherwise. I'm not saying they won't have onesies because of course they probably will as infants. But cute dresses are out there for little girls and that's what I want my little girls to wear. I wear mostly dresses by choice why not allow them that option? Women have worn dresses for hundreds of years, why stop now? In fact, my grandmother never wore pants. Not even to work in the yard. She would wear pantaloons under her dresses. I have begun doing the same when I need to work outside. It's a hell of a lot more modest than wearing pants and leaning over with my big rear in the air. As for the immodestly of young girls in dresses, they will wear bloomers and pantaloons just like mommy does. Problem solved.

  3. Amen! Loved this post. Your girls are just too cute. :)

  4. I can relate to this. My 2 year old almost ALWAYS wears dresses. They are simply easier than pants, especially now that she's potty training. She is tall and skinny, and I have a hard time finding pants that fit. I'm not against her wearing pants (or even shorts), it's just dresses are easier.

    I've been trying to slowly convert my wardrobe to postly skirts and tops, and in the summer this is ALL I wear. So of course my daughter wants to look like Mommy. I've also been wearing tichels this summer and covering my hair more. (When I have some disposable income, I want to purchase some of your snoods. They are lovely.) I do this to remind myself of my vocation, and because it works well with a hair-grabbing 10 month old. Of course My daughter wants to wear tichels too, so I've been tying various bandannas and fabric scraps to her head.

    It's silly to say that it's cruel for preschoolers to wear dresses. Half the time my daughter just wants to run around naked, and it's much easier to get her into a dress (1 item) than pants and a shirt (2 items).

    Hopefully it will be easier to dress my son when he gets to be this age. Dresses on little THAT might be cruel.

  5. If a wee one decides she (or he) absolutely wants/doesn't want to wear something, she'll definitely show how adamant she can be. A lot of the time it's just not worth the battle to argue with them over it. ^_^
    I remember going through a phase where I insisted I wore dresses or skirts only, from when I was a toddler until I was in grade 3. In grade 3 I discovered the joy of climbing, twisting, and flipping around on monkey bars. Unfortunately, you just can't play like that in a skirt or dress.

  6. Nothing wrong with little girls wearing dresses, that's all I wore untill I was about six or seven. Being around my grandma and great grandma it was normal; they both would wear dresses and skirts mostly. Till this day I don't think I've ever seen my great grandma in anything but a dress. Even though I wear slacks and jeans to work I only wear dresses or skirts to church.

    p.s. I don't "follow" your blog but I do read it everday, and even though I am not Catholic I find that I am learning a lot from your blog.

  7. Here lately, Jeanne has been wearing mostly dresses. That is because we do cloth diapers and the 12 month pants/shorts don't fit over the CD and the 18 month pants/shorts are still big at the waist. I love her in dresses because she reminds me of a little girl.

    With my job, I can't wear dresses. I don't really know anyone who would want to wear a dress in the oil field or climbing up condensate tanks. But on the weekend I have found simple cotton dresses that I love.

  8. What's wrong with girls wearing just dress? Girls have been wearing just dresses for millennia. They settled this continent wearing them, farmed in them, just about anything. It just depends on what you wear under them :)

    If we are to teach our children/daughters to dress modestly, then we need to start early. Ella's never worn pants. She loves her dresses and is happy looking like a little girl. Maybe when she's older I'll let her chose. But modesty is not negotiable.


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