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We want children to walk their own path. We want them to not compare themselves to others. Mostly we want them to be proud of who they are no matter what. But I’m wondering if what we say to them sometimes gives them a different message.

My son asked me tonight – why do you always ask me to clean my face? Why does it matter if I have food on my face or if I wear certain clothes?

I started to say, well we are judged on our appearance so we need to make sure we look presentable. As I heard myself say these words out loud, my mind went to – what total and utter bullsh*t! Why am I teaching him that’s it’s OK for people to judge him on his appearance and he needs to dress for others?

It didn’t sit well with me. Why are we judged on appearance? Do those that wear whatever they like increase their likeability because they wear what they feel best in, no matter what society expects? And how does this impact their ability to get jobs, friendships and even relationships?

Do we need to dress to impress?  And what exactly do we want children to understand around this?

I’m following Nas at the moment. Some of his videos have had 4.7million views. In one of his latest videos Nas shares he has worn the same t-shirt for 600 days. He has 10 of the same so I’m assuming they are clean each day! His rational for the same t-shirt is that he is rebelling against being judged for his appearance. And it makes it easier to pack for his travels! It doesn’t appear to be affecting his ratings, in fact it may be helping them rise.

If we don’t encourage children to have choice over what they wear are we curbing their uniqueness and their ability to stand out? Are we letting them believe that they are only worthy if they look a certain way? Or that they have to dress for others?

Research tells us first impressions matter.  I wonder if we can stage their development by first building up their beliefs about themselves that they are worthy no matter what they wear and let them work out whatever dress code works for them later.

Dress to impress or not?  What are your thoughts?