"way too fancy for preschool"

Maybe "Too Fancy" is just right?
Maybe planning for one's return to preschool requires Something Shimmery or Twirly? Perhaps Something Super-Hero-Like or Purple Striped?
Oh, yes, I am talking about a 4-year-old - yet - perhaps teachers go through the same indecision?

Some schools are starting up already in mid-August. Friends on Facebook and Twitter made comments about their children, their summer being over, the surprise that it was August already.

And then there was "K" - a soon-to-be 4-year-old who had a wardrobe dilemma yesterday while planning for her own return to her preschool.  
Here is the story straight from K's mom, Gretchen:  

                             Twas the night before school started and all
                    through the house,
      all I can hear much more loudly than a mouse,
"I don't have anything to wear to school tomorrow!"
Gretchen:  "What about the "new school clothes" I just bought you?"
Says the almost 4 year old with a sigh ... "Those are way too fancy for preschool."
The story that Gretchen shared made me smile and then laugh out loud with a knowing & understanding teacher-of-young-children-laugh.

The story made me think of other children I have met over the years that have a sense of "style" at an early age, who really coordinate and have opinions about their clothing or how they present themselves:

Natasha's Hair: I remember Natasha who liked to do her own hair each morning. Her father would arrive at school with Natasha and in she walked - sometimes 7 barrettes and 3 pony tails in surprising directions dancing atop her head. 
Natasha would skip happily into class and her father couldn't have been happier, either. He was one of the most supportive parents I have ever met. He knew that Natasha doing her own hair was a gift on many levels. He allowed Natasha to BE Natasha - bold, confident and self directed. Ironically, Natasha's different hair styles each day really did make her personality shine exactly as it should. She would not have looked fully like Natasha with just one barrette pulling her hair back. Natasha loved school.

Ryan's Capes: My 4-year-old friend Ryan loved capes. Arrived in one everyday - sometimes kind of like Superman, or another super-hero, sometimes just a beach towel attached to his shirt. He was comfortable and happy with the flowing item trailing behind him. He didn't always play super-hero. He didn't always fly around. He just loved capes. Ryan's parents allowed him to wear what he needed and wanted to wear.
I also had capes in the classroom that my mother had made  for the students - silk capes, with gorgeous patterns, lined on the inside, and hooded with fur on the edge (I know, right, my mother is amazing!). So, sometimes, Ryan would even add an extra cape to his existing one. Who can capture a double-caped super-hero four-year-old? Not a chance. Ryan loved school.

Kia's Colors: Kia would arrive at school in more colors than I could imagine. She would have layers of clothes in order that she would have more colors. Long-sleeve blue striped shirt, short sleeve red flowered shirt over that, with perhaps a cowgirl vest. She'd have polka dot leggings and a multi-colored skirt. Kia would still wear socks - perhaps yellow - and shoes that she decorated with pen. And perhaps orange laces. Perhaps.
How can you not admire someone who knows what they want to wear - "Hhmm, where is my ______ because I need it over my  _________ then I will add my  ________ and, oh, maybe I need a Hat!" Fantastic. Kia loved school.

I admire when children have an opinion about Themselves, 
about Who I Am, about How I Want to Present Myself,  about How I Feel When I Step Out into The World.

Maybe it is "too fancy" ? Yet maybe it is just right?

Surely YOU know a child that has that certain flair, that certain something that makes their personality come to life even at a very young age? 
Perhaps YOU are that child? Perhaps you still have that flair to be fancy, or have great hair, wear that great accessory or glow in great color...?

Please share in the comments below a favorite "must wear" item for yourself, your child or a student you can fondly recall.  
Thanks to Gretchen, "K" and purple skirts - not too fancy... just right.


  1. I wish I had encouraged my daughter (now 19) to wear more fairy skirts out places; wear the fancy shoes; allow the dress ups to bless the rest of the world and not just our family and friends. Somehow, despite not doing so, she is now a 19 year old who will wear her butterfly wings up the street, simply because she can!

  2. @Meg - I will keep an eye out on the street for your 19yo daughter and her fabulous wings! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. At about 3, my daughter, who I dressed in overalls and assumed would grow up to be a classic tomboy, said to me, "You don't understand how girls dress." She then wore a crown of some sort every day for 2 years.

  4. @Tom - ohhh, I must say, I am quite fond of crowns myself - even with a nice pair of overalls! Thanks for your read and comments :)

  5. I love this. Reminded me of a book that my favorite 5 year old adores, and I think you'll like too! It is: "Lottie's Princess Dress" by Doris Dorrie- A lighthearted take on the getting-children-out-the-door dilemma... It's a school (and work) day and Lottie's harried Mom grows increasingly exasperated while trying to encourage her dreamy young child to get dressed to greet the day. She wants Lottie to bundle up against the cold, but Lottie insists on wearing her golden princess dress.They disagree, but Mom eventually gives in and lets Lottie wear her dress-up clothes, AND Lottie convinces her Mom to wear her fancy evening dress too, so that they'll be dressed up together. Lottie keeps insisting that they should dress in their fancy clothes because it's a "special" day, and when they do dress up, it becomes a special day, with strangers, teachers and co-workers smiling at a parent who's been drawn into her daughter's magical world.

  6. @Lisa - I adore a new book suggestion! I will look for Lotte's Princess Dress to add to my library. Thanks for sharing the dear story AND your support of zella/me :)

  7. Our daughter (the same K whose school clothes were too fancy above) went to a Giants game wearing a 'Rosetta' fairy dress, red and pink, flowing skirt, complete with wings! She was quite a hit with the crowd - we got giggles and women saying 'aww' everywhere we went.
    She has been choosing her clothes since before she could speak. She is already a strong, independent girl with a definite opinion about everything.

  8. @Charlie - thanks for sharing K's bold choice for a Giants game! It is tough to sit in stadium seats yet then add the complication of Fairy Wings - well - that is dedication to style :) BTW, it is lovely to virtually meet you. I taught next door to Claire for 10 years at TS and met Gretchen during that time.

  9. I have identical twins, when they started preschool at age 4.5 I tried SO hard to get them to wear different clothes so others could tell them apart but they would have NO part of it. Now they are in school and wearing a uniform and couldn't be happier that they are expected to wear the same clothes!

  10. @Kate - oh, thanks so much for adding a wonderful story of twins! How interesting that they really do like/liked dressing the same! I am fascinated when I have twins in my classroom to appreciate how they play or not together, their personalities, their connection to each other,& their individuality that comes out within a large group. Thanks!

  11. My second child had a very strong opinion about what she would and wouldn't wear from a very early age which came as such a shock after the first girl would put on the first pair of shorts and t-shirt then head off to find the best tree to climb. Layers, mixed patterns, socks with sandals (although I admit to trying to 'fix' that), dressups, summer dresses in winter.
    Fitting into her car seat was sometimes an issue.
    I remember her dad calling me at work one day to ask how to get her out of the tutu she was wearing as he needed to go shopping. I told him as long as she fits in the car then just take her the way she is, that's what I always did.

    1. @oneclevermonkey
      Thanks for your story! Isn't it fascinating to really SEE how each person gives attention to things in different ways (clothes, sports, food). As for the pink tutu and the dad dilemma: I love the "as long as she fits in the car, just take her the way she is". As it should be!


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