Searching through the photo albums from my childhood at my dad’s house I stumbled upon a few photos where my parents (and I’m guessing this fell squarely on my mum’s shoulders) dressed us in matching outfits. There was this one in our matching red and white striped tees and red shorts from about 1976 (my best guess)…
…and this one which I am guessing is from the following year.
It’s funny, but I look at how I’m being silly in that photo and I can see our youngest son; always ready to play the fool, and always making the older brother laugh.
And then I found on my Instagram account (click to follow) a photo of my own boys dressed identically. We haven’t gone out of out way to dress them identically, but we have on a few occasions bought them the same top or jacket. The jeans that we dress them in can be of various brands or styles, but when you look at the photo above one might think that our intent was to dress them alike. But that’s not really the case. That particular jacket that they are wearing was very popular. When I posted that photo to my Facebook account I had two friends tell me that their sons also have that jacket. And the next time we caught up with my brother, his son was wearing that same jacket too.
One of the reasons for buying and dressing them alike around that age was because the younger one had not found his own identity yet, and as a result he would want to wear what his brother was wearing (if in fact we could actually get him to put his clothes on that is). Even at less than two weeks before he turns four, it can still be a struggle to get him to get dressed.
He’s not really one to ask for things when we are out. Not like his brother who will, on every trip to the shops ask, “can I get a Lego set?” Um, no… So as a result, he really doesn’t care what clothes we buy him.
When we went to the Gold Coast earlier this year, my wife went to the souvenir store of one of the theme parks that we attended and bought both of them a matching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tee. When she went to Singapore back in 2013 she bought them matching kung-fu dog jackets.
Sometimes it is just easier in these situations to buy the kids the same thing as gifts. The alternative to that is buying them something different and then one suggesting that they would have preferred the other one’s gift, or vice versa. And I’m sure that this is what our friends and family have in mind when they buy the boys clothes, especially for Christmas when both are getting gifts on the same day. Birthdays are obviously different because only one person is getting the gift that day, but if the gift is given on the same day, like those souvenirs from trips interstate or abroad, or at Christmastime, it sort of makes sense to get them the same thing to prevent any squabbles.
There are a few occasions where we buy the boys matching tops such as these $4 dollar Kmart “throwaway” Xmas tees. And for that price, everyone in the neighbourhood is wearing one at our preschool’s Christmas pageant…
And of course, when one is going to the football to watch your team play, dressing up in the team colours, or better still, the team’s jersey is a must, right?
There was also the time that my wife commissioned one of my high school friends who has her own custom tee printing business to make Team Milton tees for our sons and my niece and nephew for Christmas…
And although some might say it’s cliché, dressing your kids in matching clothing for a photo session is actually a great thing to do because it doesn’t focus on any one child over their siblings. Well, maybe that’s a little untrue in this delightful photo that my sister-in-law shared earlier this week. Who could miss that blue bundle amongst that sea of pink? But don’t let anyone tell you that it’s tacky. It’s definitely not in my book. Thanks to my sister-in-law for allowing me to share this photo.
One of the negative aspects of this is, and it’s definitely a #FirstWorldProblem as far as this goes, but the younger child will be left wearing the item of clothing for a lot longer than the older one if all the items of clothing get handed down. In our case, if the clothing has stood the test of time after the older one has outgrown it, it ends up in the wardrobe of his little brother. Still, it’s not as though the little one minds that he’s wearing those jackets or tops a few seasons down the track. Three years olds don’t really have any fashion sense.
And I know that the time will come when the little one doesn’t want to dress like his brother, and more so, the older one won’t want his little brother to dress like him. And then, in a less than two year’s time, we’ll have two school aged children who will be wearing the same thing as each other every day, Monday to Friday, for the next 12 years. That’s one of the “joys” of having a school uniform, one might suggest.
But come the weekend, when choosing what you want to wear is the order of the day, I’m sure that each child will dress to suit their own personality. And maybe, on occasions, they might just pick something that matches either on purpose or by accident. Won’t the latter be fun for everyone?
So do you dress your children alike?