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My Dapper Day Revelation: I Need to Chillax About My Daughter’s Own Sense of Style

Dapper Day Disney Sisters Parenting

Ever since we learned about Dapper Day, where Disneyland patrons dress in their vintage-inspired finest, we’ve loved attending as a family. It’s really fun to be at the Disney Parks when so many guests are dressed to the nines — I might even dare to call it the most photogenic event the parks offer. We’ve even been known to dress ourselves  up a bit —  we don’t go all out like some of the more fashionable attendees, but we certainly spiff ourselves up! Naturally, when the spring 2014 Dapper Day dates were released, my family was looking forward to it.

And the festivities are not just for adults — my kindergartener really gets into the Dapper Day spirit. I think she’s is even more adorable when she’s all dolled up; I just can’t resist a cute dress! Because my daughter is only six, it’s not unusual for me to pick out her outfits for special events or holidays. I have admired children dressed in these to-die-for vintage outfits at past Dapper Days, and I thought that I would dress her up in something similar. Little did I know that my daughter had something else in mind. On the morning of “Fancy Day” (her own name for it), she had her outfit already planned out. Unfortunately, so did I, and we didn’t have the same idea — surprise!

I had picked out a tan, leopard print dress with a crisp white collar, trimmed in hot pink. Then, to off top the amazing ensemble, I added a matching leopard-print fedora with a hot pink ribbon. It would look great on her, fit the occasion perfectly, and it would look amazing in pictures. Everyone would be happy … or so I thought.  Instead of my genius idea, she insisted on wearing the Disney Princess gown that she has worn a million times to Disneyland before. It’s not that the dress isn’t cute, and yes she looks adorable in it, but it did not look very vintage-inspired, a.k.a. very ‘dapper’ to me. Being a photographer, I often struggle with wanting things to ‘look’ a certain way for all of the photos I envision taking. That’s the funny thing about kids — they don’t care about your vision. They don’t care about what you want them to wear, or how you want them to look. They are their own people with their own ideas.

My six-year-old is definitely becoming more independent every day, which, don’t get me wrong, is amazing to witness. I really do try to let her do her own thing when it comes to her creativity: Fashion choices, her hobbies, or anything else. However, I have had to learn to bite my tongue on a number of occasions, and I especially struggle when she is doing her art projects for school. Sometimes it’s so hard for me to just let her do her own thing. I find myself trying to manipulate the situation to get her to do things ‘just so,’ a.k.a. the way I would do it. I don’t know if it’s the perfectionist in me, or if it’s my controlling side coming through, but I’m not proud to admit it. I can’t be alone on this one, can I?

Although motherhood can be maddening and challenging at times, a majorly good thing about it is that it will put you in situations that give you the opportunity to learn a lesson (again and again) until you get it. Dapper Day was no exception. Obviously I still have some work to do. Letting go might be the most difficult lesson yet. Watch your child forge their own path, make their own choices and live their own dreams can be hard, especially when it’s not exactly how we pictured it. Today a princess dress, tomorrow something totally different, but the lesson will be the same; I know that it’s my job as her mother to cheer her on all the way and watch her shine.

In the end, we had a great day. It didn’t matter what she wore, it didn’t matter what any of us wore. None of us will ever remember the fashion statement we did or did not make that day. What we will remember however, is that we spent hours together as a family that it was another magical time at our happy place laughing, playing, and eating churros. And we ended the night like we do every other trip, with her fast asleep being carried out in her daddy’s arms — her princess dress flowing in the cold night air.

DAPPER DAY® Events are independently organized social gatherings neither operated by nor associated with The Walt Disney Company.

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