We’ve all seen the stereotypical image of a set of twins with identical matching outfits, but matching outfits between parents and children is all the rage these days! While some may find it strange or even a little too over the top, wearing matching outfits can actually have many positive effects on childhood development, emotional wellbeing, and overall mood. Although many matching outfits can often be a little showy, tons of fashion brands have recently started developing modern lines of matching “mommy and me” outfits and tweens love them! Getting the entire family involved in planning outfits for a family vacation or holiday photoshoot is a fun way to strengthen the bond between you and your child while making a statement that’s sure to be remembered for years to come!
In This Article
The History of Mommy and Me Outfits
Matching outfits has been a fashion fad that has come and gone many times over the past century. The history of mommy and me outfits notes that the outfits started out as a niche hobby that quickly gained popularity and flourished during the late 1930s after Life magazine published an article touting the youth enhancing properties of “look alike” outfits. There was a great emphasis on the family dynamic during this time and mommy and me outfits were often used as a visual representation of the affluent, connected family. Throughout the next 20 years or so, the design of matching outfits were centered around creating a youthful appearance for the stay at home mother. Around the time of the 1970s, more stay at home mothers started entering the workforce and matching outfits fell out of style as women focused more on their careers, leaving less time for family life. Recently, commercial availability of matching outfits and celebrity tabloids have helped mommy and me outfits reenter an era of popularity. At a time when gender equality continues to progress, it’s once again hip to be a mom and part of the women’s empowerment movement includes building up the next generation of strong women.
Celebrity Mommy and Me Sightings
Throughout the past several decades, a number of celebrities have popularized this trend in the media and on television. Celebrity mommy and me outfits were seen in Hollywood as early as 1935 when Joan Bennett and her two daughters were photographed wearing matching clothing. Shortly after, the popular womens’ lifestyle magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, published a series of covers portraying mother-daughter couples in matching outfits performing a variety of household chores such as knitting, wrapping Christmas presents, and baking cookies together. The covers became so popular among stay at home mothers, that women began searching for the sewing patterns for the outfits depicted on the covers. Matching outfits went out of fashion for a few decades, but have recently been repopularized in social media and celebrity tabloids as a trend known as “twinning,” the newest craze in mommy and me fashion. Paparazzi have photographed plenty of celebrities like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Katie Holmes, and even Princess Diana sporting these look alike outfits with their children.
Positive Impacts of Mommy and Me Outfits
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “when you look good, you feel good” and although that saying may often have superficial roots, there is scientific evidence that links what we wear to our mood. A study performed by psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire concluded that wearing outfits that are appropriately fit, figure enhancing, and made from bright fabrics can enhance overall mood. In addition to the positive impact of the outfits themselves, the study also noted that adding accessories like shoes and jewelry can increase these positive effects. Knowing that our mood is positively impacted by the outfits we choose can encourage moms to get their kids involved in picking their outfit of the day! Engaging children in the process can reinforce a sense of teamwork and belonging that contributes to heightened self-esteem and overall happiness. Although there are many positive impacts of mommy and me outfits, it’s also important to note that children should be allowed enough creative freedom to develop their own sense of self. Parents should keep in mind that this is an occasional activity, and not necessarily sustainable or practical for everyday use.
Getting the Kids Involved Now that we know some of the positive impacts of mommy and me outfits, let’s explore some of the ways to help encourage kids to be involved in the fun! It may seem pretty obvious that a shopping spree would be the easiest option to get kids interested in the decision making process of choosing outfits. A quick trip to the mall can provide parents and their children quality time to catch up on life while perusing the racks, but this can also lead to more in depth conversations about real world issues like body positivity when trying on clothing. Reinforcing body positivity when shopping is a great way to teach children confidence, self worth, and acceptance. It can also lead to open discussions about changes your child may be experiencing while they are going through puberty. Providing a safe space to discuss sensitive topics will allow your child to feel a sense of safety and comfort at home. If you’re using mini me outfits to generate a more creative atmosphere, have the kids help pick out fabrics and sewing patterns to learn how to make their own clothing! Healthy hobbies like sewing allow children to express themselves, discover their interests, and build self esteem. Providing the necessary space, tools/equipment, and positive feedback and encouragement to your children will help instill a strong work ethic, pride, strong problem solving skills, and more. Additionally, children who are passionate about their hobbies may continue to pursue these passions later in life and eventually drive their career goals. You never know, maybe you have the next Coco Chanel or Ralph Lauren on your hands!
Tips for Choosing Mommy and Me Outfits
With all of the positive attributes of matching outfits, there’s no harm in trying out this fun, new way to bond with your children. But a full blown mommy and me outfit may be too much for some people. If you’re interested in reaping the positive benefits of matching outfits without going too over the top, start off small with things like matching shoes, accessories, or hair styles. Starting out with just matching T-shirts can be a fun way to keep matching outfits casual or try thinking outside the box and pick out coordinating outfits instead of exact replicas of the same design. Using items you already have in your closet while focusing on coordinating colors or complimentary designs will still generate the same positive effects while being easy on your wallet and the planet.
Where to Find Mommy and Me Outfits
With mommy and me outfits on the rise in recent years, you’re guaranteed to find plenty of options at budget-friendly retail stores like Target or Walmart and there’s no shortage of these outfits on online retail sites like Amazon. You’ll find plenty of options at specialty stores like the Disney Store and even high end retailers like Gucci and Burberry have designed “mini me” looks for their runway shows. There are a handful of chic luxury children’s stores that have released exclusive mommy and me fashion lines for those shoppers looking for style and quality. If you’re on a budget, you might be lucky enough to find a matching set at a local consignment shop or thrift store or be creative and mix and match! No matter where you shop for mommy and me outfits, the most important thing is that you have fun creating memorable experiences with your child (and maybe get some cute Instagram photos while you’re at it!).
Family Outfits: One Step Further If you’re a mother of sons or want the men in your family to be able to join in on the fun, there are plenty of options available for all members of the family to be involved in creating memorable outfits and experiences. If you’re planning a family photo, trip to Disney World, family reunion, or other special event why not try customizing t-shirts for the whole family? There are dozens of options for family outfits available on sites like Etsy that specialize in handmade items and custom orders if you’re looking for that extra special outfit idea. The twinning trend has become so popular that there are even stores specializing in matching father and son outfits to bring the positive effects of matching outfits to the male members of the family. Matching family outfits are also a great way to keep family connected through generations, especially when it comes to handmade clothing. Whether it’s matching baby bonnets or entire outfits, gifting a matching set of clothing as a family heirloom to the next generation can act as a great conversation piece to continue to strengthen the bond between families for generations to come.