Back-to-school is something I look forward to as a parent because it was something I always looked forward to as a kid—mostly because of the new clothes. I remember spending the week leading up to the first day laying out different pant/shirt/shoe combinations each night assuming I had the perfect match. Then, the next night, I’d do it all over again. I’d do this right up until the morning of the first day when my mom would yell at me that if I didn’t get downstairs that minute, I’d be late. Sometimes I’d be confident in the outfit, other times I wouldn’t. Then I’d do it all over again the next year.
It’s been close to 20-years since I’ve felt that same back-to-school joy. But now that I have two kids finally of school-age, I’m starting to relive it all over again.
Carter’s | OshKosh sent me a gift card to go shopping for my girls, so before heading out, I browsed the online store with my daughters, who claim to be just as excited about back-to- school shopping as I used to be.
“Look at that cat shirt!” one daughter yelled.
“And those cat leggings!” I was sure to point out.
For two young girls who love the idea of being a robot one minute, a princess the next, and then finishing off their flurry of play with a change into a scientist’s outfit, the thought of mixing and matching outfits to fit their personality of the moment is a dream. Back-to-school shopping is a great time for dads to get to understand their kids’ developing personalities and sense of exploration a little better.
With Carter’s | OshKosh's multitude of designs to help kids envision themselves as a scientist or a princess, and to prove to them that good old dad actually has the best fashion sense of all of us, I decided I’d let them experience just how good I am at first-day-of-school outfit selecting by challenging them to a duel of sorts.
The premise for the challenge was simple: I’d pick one outfit and they’d pick another. Then, we’d buy whichever one they liked most.
The prize for winning this contest? Well, nothing. Except for my daughters getting to understand how good dad can be at shopping for clothes.
To set the mood for the day, I let them pick my outfit and style my hair for me:
The hairstyle speaks for itself. It was the classic spiked in the middle, patted down at the front and then covered up by a headband look that is all the rage these days.
It felt important to set the tone this way so they’d know I was willing to play fair and square. They did a nice job of choosing running socks, dress pants, and a Hermione Granger t-shirt which I wore with complete confidence in the 30-degree weather.
With the atmosphere set, what did we find?
I thought to myself “what would I wear if I was going to work on a casual Friday and if casual Fridays were how school works.
A pair of skinny jeans ($10) and a stripe tunic ($18) rounded out my outfit for her. I feel very strongly that this was a great outfit, although it may be more second, third, fourth, fifth...day of school than it is first day of school.
I knew from the moment we walked into the store and found overalls that I was doomed if I didn’t pick them first. My daughter has looked at every pair of overalls in every store we’ve been in over the past four months. They make her look like a farmer, she says, and that makes her happy.
This kid loves to twirl, and as much as I loved the mix and match opportunities available to her, this polka dot knit-like denim dress ($28), of the many dresses that lined the walls, was one I knew would twirl very well for her. It was also heavier than many of the dresses she wears during the summer, so I liked that it would be a little warmer for the fall mornings.
What you absolutely cannot fault her with is a commitment to a theme. Sparkle everything. She chose sparkle leggings ($10), a sparkle stripe tee ($14), and a pair of sparkle flats ($18.75). Needless to say, the reflection in the fitting room mirror made it very hard to keep from getting blinded.
As expected, the desire for a pair of overalls was simply too strong for me to overcome and my eldest daughter eschewed my jeans and t-shirt look for her farmer look. Can’t fault her for this outfit though, it is pretty great and the overalls are of amazing quality so we should get a lot of wear out of them.
Our youngest daughter couldn’t resist the twirl offered by the dress that was picked for her. Similar to the overalls, the dress is a heavier fabric that works well as we head into the temperatures that fall and winter can bring in this country.
Most importantly, both the girls loved the outfits they came home with. So much so, that they set up a game of “first day of school” where one sat down in a school desk at home and the other stepped up to the blackboard to introduce herself to the “class.”
As a dad, I was in love with not just the styles of clothing at Carter’s | OshKosh, but also the messaging. Their shirts for girls carried messages like brave, and adventurous, and smart. There are shirts with girls reading, shirts with girls doing science, and shirts with unicorns — that kind of thing isn’t lost on me or our kids.
I’m glad these clothes range in sizes that will last our kids for years to come, because they are things I’d love to see them continue to grow up in.