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September 28, 2007


Sumihyeh Aboosaiedi

Dear Donna:
I totally agree with this concept of having a different outfit to signify to a child what type of environment they are entering, and consequently, what level of reverence or playfulness, they are permitted/encouraged to exhibit. The problem with this is not the expense of having "special" clothing, but more that many Americans have confused have confused honesty, frankness, bluntness, etc. with being true to oneself. there is no in-breath contrasting with an out-breath to life. For example, consider how much money is spent on expensive, name-brand play clothes (which are specifically meant to resemble gangter clothing) that are meant to literally buy their children acceptance in a neighborhood or school group. After such a large sum is spent on the outfit, parents may believe that it is appropriate for a special place, even for a worship service. They are equating "special" with "expensive". In addition, consider the current notion in correct parenting that everything is play, everything should be fun and enjoyed by the child. She has no notion of being required to sit down and be reverent at certain times (unless she is one of the minority who are excessively forced into adult oriented situations in another, different attempt to exhibit the socio-economic level of her parents' success).
I need to cut this short, as I don't think there is space for an article of my own here (LOL!)
Believe me, I understand the pressure that can be felt by the need to purchase a "special" outfit that might get used only 2 or 3 times before it is outgrown. I have discovered that second hand stores are a great resource for those times. Alternatively, the difference between play, good and special clothes need be no more elaborate than the transition from clothes that don't matter if they get stained/torn, to a button up shirt and khakis to the oh-so-special white shirt that is only used for the very special-est times when the child knows that he must behave or have the tell-tale stains to announce his poor behavior!
Finally I have observed that there is much more variety in the types of clothing available for girls, versus what is available for young boys. Unless you want to spend bigbucks (or get from the second hand stores) on traditional "preppie" style but-up shirts and pants that don't have baggy seats & a barrage of pockets, your options are t-shirts with rude/annoying statements/images printed on the fronts and pre-frayed jeans.

Sumihyeh Aboosaiedi

Dear Donna:
Beg your pardon, but I'm on a roll here:
furthermore in regard to the 3 levels of children's clothing, although those special outfits don't usually fit long enough to be downgraded to the play pile for the original owner, it can easily serve that function for a younger sibling. I am a great believer in the nicer tshirts or pollo shirts that were purchased for "nice" for the summer, once they're stained become the underlayers of the winter and no one's the wiser! In my opinion, that's what vests were invented for--to cover up the stains that young men (and sometimes older ones, as well!) accrue on their shirt fronts!
Alternatively I once took long sleeved t-shirts that were still perfectly good, except for the very noticeable stain that had located itself front and center and I found a kid-acceptable fabric (ok, I confess, it was a Batman logo fabric) and I cut out the little oval that perfectly fit over the stain and zigzagged it in place and now his plain t-shirt was a hand logo-ed t-shirt and he was the hit of the kindergarten!

When else in their lives will they have the freedom to play and get dirty (unless they become archeologists)? They shouldn't have to be colored coordinated and matching for play dates at this stage of their lives. that desire to dress to impress will hit them soon enough anyway, no need to foster it or rush it. This is playtime we're talking about!


Clothing, how important that is! I remember a friend who worked out of his home telling me years ago that he always put on a jacket and tie before sitting down to his desk. That put him in the proper place to perform his work. As someone who also worked at home for a long time, I know that those images of folks getting work done in the pjs is not correct. Those of us who truly work at home to get professional things done over the long haul, not just to get through an illness, will be quite clear about needing to differentiate, and that differentiation is aided by attire.

I have always made a point of purchasing a suit for my son and a dressy dress for my daughter. These are worn at church. They are the only children who dress this way, which makes it extremely difficult! My son has social issues and has a hard time fitting in. Having to wear a suit does not help when no one else does this, however, we have talked about it being a way to show outward respect for God. This means a lot to them.

When my children were little, I too used an apron a lot, and interestingly enough, I have gone back to doing it again. It feels right, and also has the effect which it was originally intended - it keeps my other clothes clean!

If one thinks back to our ancesters who wore many layers of clothing all year long, the real reason for this was cleanliness. The outer garmet could be washed more often than those underneath. Hats and bonnets were to keep our hair clean since washing was limited, especially in the colder monthes! clothes changing will help us keep cleaner and differentiate between cleaning the coop and sitting down to dinner!


donna simmons

Thank you both for your comments! This is a subject which is quite foreign to many people but you both have obviously considered its implications in your own families!

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