What Not to Wear: Preschool Edition

This weekend I went back-to-school shopping for my two-year-old daughter, Mazzy. (That’s her in the photo at left, working her way through my closet.)

I’ve always been a pretty relaxed mom when it comes to getting my daughter dressed. I even let Mazzy choose her own outfits when she insists on it— she has a new obsession with “matching” so that alleviates most fears of her looking like she lives on the street.

As I was going through all the online offerings at places like Old Navy, Baby Gap, Zara, Children’s Place and Target, I realized I actually have a lot of rules about what my toddler should and shouldn’t wear to preschool.

Some rules are based on personal preference— like I tend to stay away from clothes that are too babyish (we’re over pale pink bunny motifs) and clothes that are too grown up (no navel grazing, thank you very much). But most of my rules make practical sense for any parent sending their kid to school for the first time.

Here are what I consider “The 7 Preschool Fashion Faux Pas”:

  • White or Creme 1 of 8
    Yes, white is lovely and innocent. It is also a magnet for paint, dirt and spilled juice. White stays white for about 5 seconds. Even less time when your kid is away from a parent monitoring their every messy move. White looks a lot less lovely with green and orange streaks of paint down the front.
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    Found at Zara
  • Laces 2 of 8
    Besides the obvious— it's way easier to trip over an untied lace than a buckle— laced shoes also come undone more often. Teachers don't need to add the nuisance of tying laces into their already full day. Plus, I think it's great that Mazzy is learning to take on and off her velcro sneakers herself.
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    Found at Zappos
  • Overalls 3 of 8
    Whether your kid is potty trained or still in diapers, overalls are the last thing anybody wants to deal with when a two-year-old has to pee.
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    Found at Target
  • Clothing that is too structured. 4 of 8
    As adorable as a military style dress would be on my daughter, it's not practical. Toddlers need to move, put their arms up over their head, and run around. Instead of a restrictive material with lots of buttons, opt for a nice roomy playdress in preschool-friendly cotton.
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    Found at Baby Gap
  • Sandals 5 of 8
    Most preschools have a "no sandals" policy for good reason. Toes get stubbed, heels get scraped and shoes are more likely to fall off. It's a protective measure.
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    Found at Zappos
  • Animal Prints 6 of 8
    This is a personal choice but I happen to think preschoolers in animal prints are a bit much. This is preschool, not ladies who lunch on Park Avenue. Unfortunately, leopard seems to be the cornerstone of Baby Gap's fall preschooler line.
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    Found at Baby Gap
  • Character Tees 7 of 8
    My daughter does own character shirts— Minnie Mouse, My Little Pony, Olivia and Snoopy to name a few— all of them given as gifts. I have chosen to relegate these shirts as pajama tops, which as an added bonus, helps ease the pain of getting ready for bed. If she were allowed to wear character shirts during the day, she would insist on wearing nothing else. Plus, why remind her and her classmates of television in a place focused on anything but?
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    Found at Old Navy
  • Dry Clean Only 8 of 8
    This might seem like a given, but after last week's post on
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    absurdly expensive toddler clothes , I think I need to say it again. There is no way I am going to spend more money cleaning my kid's clothes than my own. And I'll bet you an $1000 Armani toddler suit, that teachers are not going to cater their classes to keeping your kid clean.
    Found at Bergdorf Goodman

What clothing do you not recommend for preschool?

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