The outfit that gave my daughter a crapload of self-confidence

ME: Get dressed, Zoey.

ZOEY: But I don’t have anything to wear.

ME: What about this cute blue outfit?

ZOEY: No.

ME: Why don’t you ever want to wear this? You told me you liked it in the store.

ZOEY: Can we donate it?

ME: Zoey, I paid good money for this!! You have literally worn it once.

AGGGHHHHHHHH, this kills me!! She has a closet full of adorable clothes I bought for her this year and she never wears any of them. She wears the same stupid things over and over again. Like these awful shorts from her three years ago that she’s still wearing (I think technically they’re a thong now).

So this weekend I dragged her shopping. She wanted nothing to do with it but I am so sick of buying her shit she won’t wear. But before we went, I did something different this time.

ME: Zoey, before we go to the store, there’s one rule.

ZOEY Ugggghhh, what?

I swear she just broke the world record for the biggest eye roll ever.

ME: I want you to pick out stuff that YOU like. Not ME. It doesn’t matter what I like.

ZOEY: Fiiiine.

And the whole time we were shopping I had to restrain myself from convincing her to pick something I like. Do you like this? No. This? No. How about this? Ewww. And then she finally pointed to something she liked. A gray romper. 

ME: Does it come in any other colors? Gray is kinda boring.

ZOEY: I like gray!!

ME: Oh yeah, me too.

Even though I don’t. I mean I like gray on grownups, but kids should wear bright colors in the summer. But nope, nope, nope, this is NOT about what I like. 

ME: Great, let’s try it on. 

And as soon as she put it on, her eyes lit up. 

ZOEY: Mommmm, it has the shoulders cut out!!!

ME: Is that what you like about it?

ZOEY: I like EVERYTHING about it.

And she couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror. I mean it wasn’t what I would have picked out for her, but remember the one and only rule today. And look at that smile. 

And she begged me to let her keep it on. 

ME: Sure, why not.

So the woman at the cash register cut the tag off and she wore it all day. And then she wore it again yesterday. And then this morning she was dressed and ready before I even woke up and guess what she was wearing? Yup.

ME: Zoey, you can’t wear that again. You’ve worn it three days in a row. We have to wash it.

ZOEY: Mommmm, pleeeease, just today?!!!

ME: Fiiiine. But you’re taking it off so we can wash it tonight.

And she walked out of the house in it. No wait, she strutted. With a big fat smile across her face. 

And that’s when I realized something. Who cares if it’s gray or black or brown or beige with tan polka dots. I’ve changed my mind. This IS what I would have picked out for her. Because anything that makes her feel THAT self-confident has to be a good thing.

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Stephanie at 10:11 am

    This is my whole life. Like, I could have written this and I love you for it. My husband doesn’t understand the “onesies” and I patiently explained that it’s either that same dumb romper or a kid that looks like a really small hooker. He picked the romper.

  2. Amy Van Note Frankovich at 10:25 am

    This is fantastic! My daughter (10 yo) is exactly the same…and favorite colors are black, gray, and white – oh, and jean shorts. I,on the other hand, love pink, preppy and Lilly Pulitzer! So, I’ve tried to let her drive this decision making process even though it kills me – but she is happy and feels good which is what makes me happy. And I keep thinking to myself how lucky I am to have her, for many reasons, but also to reminder me that it is NOT about the clothes but about the person.

  3. Samantha at 1:30 pm

    My kids pick their own clothes from the time they’re old enough to point. I wish I could give my 9 year old half the confidence Zoey has.

  4. Charlene M Rippy at 9:32 pm

    Adorable! I remember so many years ago when I had to point out to my mom that her tastes were not mine. It was a huge moment for both of us. I was a total PITA to parent as a teen, but I can tell you I still consider her to be my best friend. I love the relationships you have with your kids!

  5. Ray at 6:21 am

    I’ve got a Zoey that is the same, although she likes marching beautiful patterns with beautiful patterns. Just bought the book “Zoe gets Ready”. I guess strong names lead to strong willed kids.

  6. thevoltz2000 at 1:17 pm

    I am having the same situation with my 8 year old, and over at Mommy Shorts I read about her oldest also exerting her own style now and how it is SO HARD to let them do their own thing. For such a long time she would wear all the cute Hannah Andersson and Boden dresses/tights combos I was getting her and she looked so put together and adorable. THEN- everything changed. I have had the same conversations- looking in her closet and realizing that the dozen cute dresses she has haven’t been worn, but the 5 Harry Potter shirts and 2 pairs of jeans are on constant rotation- “I paid good money for this and you never wear it!”
    If it is this hard letting go of making her fashion decisions, how am I ever going to let go of everything else???
    At least I know I am not alone….

  7. Kriss Jenkins at 4:52 pm

    Amen Sistah! I have a closet full of beautiful things that I picked out, but the kid wants nothing to do with it. My motto for this summer and school shopping is pick it out yourself. I want her to feel good and not wear what I want her to wear.

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