One of my very favorite blogs and websites is Sew, Mama, Sew, a sort of collective of tutorials, pattern reviews, and information on all things sewing-related as well as an online fabric store. If you haven’t been there, definitely check it out.
That said, I’m pretty disappointed in a discussion that’s going on there right now on the subject of matching clothes for family members. You can read the comments here. The vast — and I do mean VAST — majority of the commenters say they would never dress their children in matching outfits (some words that crop up repeatedly are “creepy” and “tragic”) and that they themselves would never dress in clothes that match their children’s.
Well, I suppose you can tell from this . . .
this . . .
and awhile back, even before #4 was born (I was heavily pregnant in the picture), this . . .
. . . that I LIKE matchy-matchy. It’s one way that we celebrate holidays, and it’s one way that we spot each other in a crowd. There are, after all, a lot of us to keep an eye on.
But more than being offended by the opinions of strangers on the internet, I’m offended by people who think they can speak for other mothers, other parents, and other families. I really feel like ANY decision that a parent makes is between them and their children. Sure, I can say that matchy-matchy is okay for me, but I can’t say it works for you. And, likewise, no one can say that it’s wrong for me to dress my children in matching or coordinating outfits. A few commenters on Sew, Mama, Sew even go so far as to say that dressing children alike ignores their individuality. I personally have found that my children and I have PLENTY of individuality, and that nothing we wear will hide that fact. You know how a larger family tends to be louder than a small family, simply because its members speak up to be heard over the din? Well, personalities work the same way. My little munchkins, as small as they are, know who they are, are proud of who they are, and are open with who they are regardless of what they’re wearing.
And I like to think they’re a little proud of their clothes, too. I make a lot of them, and the rest of them are mostly used. But my children feel beautiful — or handsome, as the case may be, in what they wear. Yes, sometimes they match. And sometimes they don’t. But they are always comfortable, confident, and happy. And that’s really all that matters to me.
All those matching nay-sayers are also forgetting something very important — the individuality that is inherent in making your own and your children’s clothes and the uniqueness of the motivations behind doing so. My children might match, but at least my older kids know why we don’t buy from Walmart, Gymboree, Target, The Gap, etc., etc., etc. And they believe in making and making do as much as I do. My girls do have matching ruffle dresses, but they’re the only two ruffle dresses that look just like that on this earth; they’re not just two girls out of how many thousands wearing the same commercially-produced, non-union-labor clothes from The Children’s Place (no offense if your child is wearing said clothing, you know I’m just making a point). How’s that for individuality?
Well, moving on . . . do you have any opinion on the subject? Any pictures to share? Honestly, and I feel a bit embarrassed by this, it’s never occurred to me that someone might not like my kids’ matching outfits. Now I wonder exactly what people think of when they see us. It’s funny. Sometimes sewing is hard. And sometimes parenting is hard. But sewing AND parenting? It’s a double-whammy.
PS — I put together a flickr set with more pics of my matchy-matchy family-wear, which you can view HERE if you’d like. Thanks for visiting!