A Unique Individual

In most ways my son is a typical kid.  As a fifth grader he likes pizza, red velvet cake and Legos.  He hates vegetables, homework and getting out of bed in the morning.  As a pre-teen/tween he gets an attitude every now and then.  He likes to run around with his friends and do things that often make me wonder "Why?"  In other words, he's your average boy.

But there is one way he is very unique.  (Not only one way, but for the purpose of this blog, I'm going to talk about one that stands out.)  My kid likes to dress up.  I'm not talking about putting on a costume like you do at Halloween (although he does love that too!).  He likes to get dressed up.  Putting on a dress shirt, a tie and a suit makes him happy.

I swear it's not my idea.  He has liked getting "dressed" at least since kindergarten (as far as I can recall).  He preferred to wear collared shirts over t shirts.  It took convincing him to get him to wear a t shirt and jeans on gym days.

When he was in first grade he got his first suit.  He wore it that year with a tie and a fedora for Halloween.  Instead of a carrying a plastic pumpkin or pillowcase, I had him carry an old briefcase.  He was adorable.  And unique in a sea of "typical' Halloween costumes.

I stumbled on a sports jacket at the local thrift shop.  I pounced on it.  He loved it.  (I loved it too; especially as kids clothing at the Thrift Shop is $1!  Can you say BARGAIN!)

He eventually outgrew his suit and sports coat.  We've gotten him new ones.  Because we have limited financial resources, I get "fancy" clothes at thrift shops or Kmart/Walmart/Target.  (It would be a different story if he wasn't growing at a rapid speed.)  At ten he is on his third suit (and he has another one in the closet that his grandmother bought him that is a size too large...but won't be for long!)  He has at least a dozen ties (clip on, zipper and "real") including two bow ties.  He loves to mix and match.  He's got white shirts, blue shirts...he used to have yellow and beige, but he outgrew them.  

There have been times when we've argued or disagreed over what he was to wear.  Mostly it was because it wasn't appropriate.  (No, you can't wear that turtleneck and sweater vest; it's going to be 75 degrees out today!)  I used to set out clothes for  him.  (Not because I didn't trust his judgement, but because he's not the quickest riser in the morning and it was a shortcut to getting him down to breakfast and out the front door to school.)  I don't bother any more.  What I do is to tell him when I get home that he needs to select what he wants to wear the following day and it hasn't to be appropriate for the weather and any activities he might have.  (No ties allowed on gym days.)  When he said he'd like to wear the shirt and tie that he wore on New Year’s Eve (sans suit...even he knew he couldn't get away with that), I thought about it for a moment.  Why not?  He's got the clothes, they're not going to fit forever (definitely not at the speed at which he's growing), why not go for it?


This is who he is.  He's not quite a fashionista. (Should that be fashionisto?)  He'd much rather go shopping for Lego than for clothes, but he does like to look nice.  To him, looking nice is dressing the part.  And when it appropriate, I'm all for it.  For a kid who doesn't (or at least didn't) like to stand out, this IS his stand.  This is his way of being "me."  As a teacher once said to me, "It looks good because he OWNS it."  In a world where he often feels insecure, dressing up gives him confidence.  And to be honest, I don't care what he wears if it gives him confidence and makes him feel good about himself.  My kid needs a daily dose of confidence.  (Don't all kids?)  If letting him wear whatever the heck he wants help, then I say go for it!  I celebrate his unique individuality.  We all should.



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