Sara needs to dress my daughter, or at least help me pick out her clothes.
I love clothes, and Miss J has so many clothes it’s a tad embarrassing. Even worse, the daily question of what to wear was turning into a daily power struggle, with J saying "I want to wear something else" to every suggestion (and going to daycare dressed in some pretty crazy outfits, which I know I’m not supposed to care about, but I do).
I went through all of her clothes and put them into 4 "capsules" (in wardrobe speak those are items that will go together because they are all in the same color family or have some other similarities — like what you do when you pack for a trip). I filter out inappropriate clothing (i.e. shorts) and stash it elsewhere. I put each capsule into a fabric bin that fits on her shelves. When it’s time to get dressed, I pull down a bin, and tell Miss J she can wear anything she wants from the bin. Each bin has pants, shirts, tights, dresses, and colored socks in it — a good enough assortment that many outfits can be made.
They key thing is refraining from making a recommendation — I just present what’s available in a certain category from the box and tell her she has to choose. This also has made it easier for her dad to assist in making "presentable" outfits.
As an example, here’s what we ended up with: The "pink" capsule — you’d be surprised how many different shades of pink look good together, plus denim, khaki, and some light purple; the "burgundy and pink" capsule (so much pink — she is two!) — more the darker pinks and reds and some fall colors like dark green and brown, as well as denim; the "basics" capsule — red, black, white, blue; and the "pastels" capsule — peach, pale yellow, pale blue.
We’ve gotten rid of almost all the daily arguments over what to wear, I’m back to having a well-dressed little girl, with that cute "I put this outfit together myself" flair, and we’re both happy.
I’m lucky that neither of my kids fight my choosing their daily outfits. Yet. But I’ll have to keep this in mind for the near future. Anything that helps kids take on self-care is good in my book.