Monday, May 14, 2018

Fostering Creative Expression Through Style

This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
This post is sponsored by Kid Made Modern. I am so thankful to work with wonderful sponsors here on This Little Miggy as it allows me to continue to make great content. Thank you for supporting sponsors here and as always, all opinions are my own. (I also want to mention that my kids decided individually if they wanted to participate in this post and they each got paid for their participation. This could and should be a whole separate post, but over the years I've come to believe that it's important not to force my kids to be a part of the blog if they don't want to, and if it's a post I'm receiving compensation for, they should be compensated for their time as well.) 

There are many things I miss about the toddler years, like the budding vocabulary of mispronounced words and tiny toddler arms wrapped around my neck giving me the best hugs on the planet. But one of my very favorite toddler tendencies were the cute and crazy outfits. I absolutely loved it when my little girls confidently paired a tutu with some crazy tights and a mismatched shirt. Another solid combination? A heavy winter item like a wool sweater or Ugg stlye boots mixed a summer staple like flowery shorts or a spaghetti strap sun dress. There are no rules for dressing when you're a toddler (or any rules about anything for that matter) and the confidence they exude in an outfit they feel proud of is admirable.

A couple weeks ago I shared 5 tips for creating an art closet, to help foster creativity in children by giving them access to art supplies so they can create at a moments notice. Today I'm talking about fostering creativity in children through style and fashion in partnership with Kid Made Modern's new apparel line. All the pieces are mix + match and unisex and come in high-energy, fun colors and patterns.

My girls each got to pick out a piece and then create some accessories with the Kid Made Modern crafting kits, style their outfit and of course do a high fashion photo shoot. While I provided some guidance, they styled their outfits themselves including their accessories and hair. Unfortunately Annie Leibovitz was unavailable for this particular shoot, so I had to step in last minute... luckily things went OK. And since Kid Made Modern creator Todd Oldham was heavily influenced by artist Charley Harper, I thought these Charley Harper murals were the perfect backdrop for this particular shoot.
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel

Why care about style?
Listen, I'm not a huge fashionista and I don't talk to my kids about fashion and style on a regular basis. It's not at the top of my "important attributes to teach my children" list. But I do believe there is power in good design and personal style. One of the reasons I want to help my kids develop their own personal style is that I believe it's important--or at least really helpful--in life for your outsides to match your insides. It's a principal I've always understood in some manner, but my friend Stasia was really great in helping me get it. She calls it inside outside congruency, which is to dress in a way so that your outside expresses who you are on the inside. Another way to think about it is look good, feel good, do good. Personally, I know that when I look and feel good--when I feel like my authentic self--it actually helps me do more good in the world around me, from my family to my kids to my community. Really. So while I'm not trying to turn my kids into little fashionista's, I do want them to be the best versions of themselves. Here are some things that have worked for us.


Focus on the journey, not the destination.
The journey is more important than the destination at this age. I don't mind the crazy outfits, in fact I'd love to see more of them! Sometimes I feel like my kids dress too conservative--ha!--but I am trying to step back and let them figure it out on their own. Lots of color, no color. Pattern mixing, matchy matchy. I have to remember that just because something is cool in my world (41 year old, grown adult woman) it doesn't mean it looks cool in their world--Elementry school, middle school, kid world. They are being influenced by their peers--we all are right?-- and no matter how sublte that influence is, I want them to learn to dress for themselves, and not what they feel is acceptable to others--including me. Which can be hard to differentiate. In short, I want them to feel confident in being themselves and expressing their style, whatever it may be, but like everything it's a process.
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
Lamp in the Smush dress, with Pom pom bobby pin in hair and a stack of pipecleaner bangles (top photo).

Everyone needs inspiration.
Even the best artists and creatives seek out inspiration for their pieces--it's part of the process. The same goes for almost anything I'm trying visually express be in my home, personal style or art. Inspiration begets inspiration. My kids don't always want to hear my opinion on what to wear, BUT if we check out pinterest or their favorite clothing sites to see how people put outfits together we all have a little better idea of what works, what they like, what doesn't work, what they don't like. For this outfit my oldest chose the Patch Favorite Sweatshirt, we then looked up styling a sweatshirt on pinterest and saw some great ideas. After seeing how other people styled sweatshirts she confidently put this outfit together with other items from her closet and this cute beaded pop-pom necklace she crafted.
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel

Pair it with a classic favorite. 
Zuzu went shopping with me when we chose these classic checkerboard Vans. Having that sense of ownership over them--meaning she chose them, not mom (even though I secretly hoped she would)---means I almost never have to convince her to wear them. They're a classic shoe in a black and white pattern that pretty much goes with anything. She can wear them with dresses, with pants, with solids, with patterns, anything. Having those items in my kids closets that always feel like a safe choice, helps them feel more confident in their outfit decisions when they get dressed. And I love Zuzu's awesome little beaded pom-pom necklace she crafted for this dress.
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel

I asked the girls what they loved about their clothes and they all said similar things--they loved the bright colors and the fun prints. They also said they like that these clothes felt like clothes made for kids, and not clothes that adults would wear. 
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel
This Little Miggy || Kid Made Modern Apparel

What about you? Do you agree with the principal of inside/outside congruency--that personal style can have a positive influence on how you feel about yourself, which can in turn have a positive influence on those around you? Do you care what your kids wear and if so, do you try to influence their style choices or do you leave it up to them? Which leads me to ask, who buys your kids clothes? Are you the sole shopper? Do you shop together? Do they get all the say? I'm still the principle clothing buyer at our house, but I'm realizing that might change soon--when did it change for you and how did you manage that change? 

1 comment:

  1. Good questions! I still buy most of the kids clothes, although the Grandmas like to spoil them too. My son gets a lot of hand-me-downs, so I mostly have to buy him boring things like shorts or socks. My daughter's taste is becoming apparent (age 7) so at the moment I feel like I can pick things I think she would like (rainbows/unicorns heh heh)..... I try to let them wear what they want within reason (aka no bathing suits to school, etc).... sometimes I ask if my daughter would want to put a skirt on over leggings in situations where they leggings are thin and she's wearing a fitted shirt (aka it looks like she's wearing pajamas haha). I'm trying!

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