That *how they dressed me and how they dress kids nowadays* meme hits close to home these days. Not in a bad way, though. You get to dress your neat little dude in cool and trendy clothes that won’t raise eyebrows in the future. From truly adorable duds for the youngest to seriously stylish apparel for toddlers and older kids—there’s a myriad of choices and brands, making the everyday routines easier for both parents and their little ones.
The day-to-day dressing may be sorted out, but as a new parent you can’t help but wonder what should a kid wear to a wedding or other special occasion? Been there, pondered that. While no one will judge a kiddo on their understanding of the dress code, you probably don’t want them to stand out a mile. Luckily, there’s another niche of children’s fashion to explore before your next big event, and it goes by the name of formal wear for kids. Yes, yes, black tie and all to have them look the part no matter the occasion!
What Counts as Formal Wear?
Basically, everything that doesn’t seem like everyday wear for children. Think children’s equivalents of formal grown-up attire. From full tuxedos and party dresses and beyond, when shopping for kids formal wear you’ll be spoiled for choice. As for the colours, opt for neutrals and pastels because they pair well with almost anything and make an appropriate choice for just about any occasion.
Party and formal dresses are such lovely, yet simple choices. A complete ensemble in its own right that can be beautifully layered up with a chic cardigan or blazer when the weather calls for a warmer outfit. Cute, flowy mesh or tulle dresses make a wonderful choice for younger fashionistas whereas elegant sundresses and cocktail dresses are a favourite among teens.
When the occasion calls for a black-tie dress code, you can suit up your little one in a timelessly classy three-piece tux paired with smart dress shoes. If it’s more of a smart-casual situation, you can’t go wrong with a pair of chinos teamed up with a collared shirt and maybe a bow tie. If the iffy weather has got you worried, you can bring a nice suit jacket for peace of mind.
Tops and Bottoms
If you feel like building an outfit from scratch, you can look for individual pieces of kids formal wear like silk and satin blouses, cotton shirts, faux fur boleros and knitted cardigans. What’s best about these mix-and-match combinations is that they can be worn in various ways time and time again.
Once you’ve chosen their outfit, it’s time to tie the look together with accessories. Maybe a chic hairpiece to keep the locks out of the face while dancing, a pair of suspenders to keep the bottoms securely in place while twisting and turning, or a bag to keep the essentials at hand. Oh, and don’t forget to consider the weather as accessories can further enhance your little one’s comfort. For instance, purposeful kids’ hats can either keep the brrrs out in the dead of winter or ensure safe fun in the sun in the heat of summer.
Why Is Dress Code Important for Kids?
One may think they’re just kids, it doesn’t matter what they wear to a wedding as long as they’re comfortable. Frankly, this holds true to some extent, but wearing the appropriate attire is also important. Firstly, because it instils a dress sense from the youngest of age, a skill they’ll find useful later in life. And secondly, because it shows respect for the wedding party or the host in another formal scenario.
Although children can get away with less-formal attire, anything too casual can make everyone wonder whose kid is that. And not in a positive way! Of course, they’re your pride and joy, no matter what they wear, but just as Loretta Young once said, “wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners”, so it’s best to start teaching those while they’re young.
Should Parents Let Their Kids Wear What They Want?
Parents should indeed provide guidance on what’s suitable for the occasion, but that doesn’t mean that the kids (especially the older ones) shouldn’t have a say in the final decision. In the age when youngsters develop their own sense of fashion and style, getting them dressed for a regular day can be a tough challenge, let alone a big, special event. Wondering why kids don’t want to get dressed? There are two main reasons.
If you have a fussy dresser on your hands who’s still too young to express how they feel, one of the reasons may be the comfort or lack thereof. Grown-ups know best that comfort and formal clothes don’t quite always go hand in hand. So, one of the reasons why your little one refuses to wear an outfit may be the texture or fit. Itchy and scratchy fabrics are a big no-no, as well as clothes that feel too tight. The solution? Always make them try the outfit at least a day before.
The current trends and personal style are also important things to consider. Yes, they grow up fast, and they’ll have a strongly developed sense of self before you know it. If they don’t like ruffles and frills, they don’t like ruffles and frills. And any interference on your end can result in a tantrum you’d probably want to sit out. The solution? Give advice, not ultimatums.
Fortunately, the range of kids formal wear Australia-wide isn’t short on style and comfort, so finding something that both parties will approve of won’t be such a hassle. With that being said, you can now hit some of your local kid’s clothing stores or shop online. And, of course, don’t forget to include little Mr or Ms Independent in the process.
Pro Tip: Have two or three outfits at the ready beforehand and let them choose from those options. This way, you can play it safe both in terms of dress code and budget, and they won’t feel left out of the decision-making process. It’s a win-win!