Childrearing

My ‘Tomboy’ Daughter Will Only Wear Dresses

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I remember the good old days when I felt like I could control my daughter’s fashion choices. They were about six months ago, when I first started writing for this website. I bragged about my ability to convince my child to wear the outfit I had set out for her. I felt so proud of my accomplishment. And even back then, getting her to agree to leave her Princess Tiana costume at home didn’t come easy. If I only knew then how easy I had it.

Now, my daughter is four years old. Now, she’s attending pre-school on a regular basis. Now, she’s decided that she is completely, totally, in-every-which-way done wearing pants.

That’s right. Here in the Midwest, where we spend normal winters with constant snow on the ground (this year has been shockingly mild), my daughter is committed to her dresses and tights. She doesn’t care if she has to pair them with snow boots, there’s no way that she’s giving up the tights.

What brought on this suddenly feminine uniform? Honestly, we have no idea. My daughter has never pretended to be the ultimate girly-girl. This is a child who had a Batman-themed birthday party. She thinks that wrestling is an acceptable evening past-time. She may enjoy getting her finger nails polished, but she’s more likely to show off her muscles than her manicure. If you asked my little girl to describe herself in one word, “Strong” would be her go-to adjective.

Strong and wearing a bright pink dress and glittery tights.

I have absolutely no issue with my daughter’s interest in action figures. And I probably wouldn’t mind her insistence on skirts if I hadn’t spent a fortune buying jeans and yoga pants for this winter. Sure, sure, I’m happy that she’s learning to express herself. But I’m not going to act like I’m fine with watching hundreds of dollars worth of clothes sit in her closet untouched while she wears the same 10 dresses on rotation week-in and week-out. Alright, I guess her independence is worth some unworn clothes…

Early on in this “No Pants” phase, I attempted to convince her that jeans were adorable and sweatpants were comfortable. She glared at me with a supreme look of annoyance that I was bothering her with talk of pants when she obviously didn’t care for them. I used to worry about her cold little legs on the playground at recess, all red and goosebumped through the thin fabric. Bless that little girl’s strength, she never once complained, even after running through the snow in the park and drenching her tights. She continued to play until I dragged her inside worried about hypothermia. (She did admit that they hurt as they were warming up, making me feel justified in removing her from the snow without proper attire.)

Hey gym teacher at school has gotten used to my daughter’s no pants rule. Thankfully, she’s still too little be worried about playing sports in a skirt. And she hasn’t vetoed tennis shoes with her tights yet.

My daughter’s conviction about her wardrobe has shown me just how strong-willed and opinionated she can be. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous about our ever-approaching teen years. This girl’s got some spunk.

I used to wonder what made my little girl decide that dresses were the only way to go. Did she like that strangers often Ooh and Aah over a little girl in white tights and hairbows? Did she overhear some comment about how women wear skirts and men wear pants? Where was this coming from? After asking for months, my daughter finally clued me in to her reason for needing dresses. “Mom, my legs can run faster when I don’t have pants getting in the way! And I can kick higher too!”

Of course, that’s the reason. Now, it all makes sense.