Costumes and Coordinating – A Dad’s Survival Guide

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Playing Dress Up – For Grown Ups

Recently, I wrote about the importance of playing dress up with your kids.  (Read about that here)  I pointed out that this was an easy task with minimal risk of being seen by the public at large. Stay in the house, put on the tutu, and don’t take pictures. Everyone is happy, and you minimize the chance for embarrassment.

But let’s suppose you’re ready to take it to the next level…or your wife has heard from the kids how much you LOVE playing dress up, and she decided you’re ready to take it to the next level. What is that next level? I’m glad you asked. It’s coordinating outfits…in public.

Now I know some of you reading this are saying, “Whoa! Stop this ride, it’s time for me to get off. I didn’t sign up for this.” But hear me out. When I first wrote about trying to get out of playing dress up, I mentioned the disappointment I saw in my daughter’s face. Well, wives were daughters once, their disappointment is just as real. Besides, there are some upsides, but more on that later.

Becoming Coordinated – The Beginning

For those of you strong enough that you’re still reading (or you feel like it’s a train wreck and you can’t look away), let me tell you about my own experience with coordinating outfits. See if it’s as bad as you originally thought, or if it is something you could get on board with.

To her credit, my wife used the kids to get me used to the idea, then eased me into it with some events where coordinating made perfect sense.  Finally, she brought me into the fold where the whole thing is kind of fun. Let me explain.

When my wife, Krystal, found out she was pregnant with our second child, she decided to let people know by taking a picture of our son, Kanyon, wearing a shirt that said ‘Big Brother’ on it. It only seemed logical that after Viktoria was born, she got a shirt that said ‘Little Sister’. Boom – coordinated kids, right out of the gate.  From there, we had the onsies that matched what her brother wore, the pants and tie for him made out of the same material as the dress for her, matching pajamas. It was all cute and didn’t hurt anyone, so I let it ride.

My role in the coordination evolution came at Halloween. Before kids, we had always had a Halloween party at our house. We always dressed however we wanted, our costumes didn’t match. After kids, Krystal suggested we start making our costumes follow a theme for the party. It started simple. When Kanyon was a baby, we dressed him as a ‘hunny pot’ from Winnie the Pooh. My wife was Eeyore, and I was the bear. Easy enough. The next year, we dressed as pirates for the party, but when we took him trick or treating, he was a monkey.  No big deal. The third year, we were all candies. He was a pack of Smarties, my wife was the green M&M, the new baby was a tootsie roll, and I was a Sugar Daddy (Think Mac Daddy with the sport coat made to look like a Sugar daddy wrapper. It was a hip costume.). Then it was characters from Toy Story, Kanyon’s favorite movie. Kanyon was Woody, Viktoria was Buzz (wearing a tutu), Krystal was Jessie, and I was the Evil Emperor Zurg (I know, pretty cool, huh?). The next year, we dressed the kids as Dr. Suess’ Thing One and Thing Two (it totally fit them that year, but that’s another story). It just made sense for me to be the Cat in the Hat. As you can see, each costume fit the theme, but I was my own character.  Coordinated, but individual!

Total Transformation

Once Krystal got me used to the idea of matching at Halloween, she used vacation as the final push to get me to succumb to the forces of the coordinating clothes world. I am fortunate enough that we have been on two Disney Cruises. They were absolutely amazing vacations, and totally worth saving for. After we booked our first cruise, the coordinating conversation went something like this:

Krystal: “You know, they have a Pirate’s of the Caribbean themed night where everyone dresses like pirates. We should do that.”

Me: “Ok, we have the costumes already from a couple years ago.” (Looking back, I think I was set up, and we were pirates that year as part of a master plan for this exact conversation)

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K: “And we really should get some matching shirts for pictures with the Disney characters.”

Me: “Wait, huh?”

K: “Sure, everyone does it.”

Me: “Everyone?”

K: “Sure. Let me show you some pictures.” (She then goes to some Facebook page about Disney Cruise families, and sure enough, everyone is matching.)

Me: “Well, I guess if everyone else is doing it…”

K: “Great! Oh, and we should have matching jackets for when we board…” (And so on and so forth)

Now, I’m not going to tell you everyone was doing it, but there were enough families that we weren’t out of place. I’m also letting you know that we weren’t matching the entire time, but we had running themes most days. Honestly, I had to wear clothes either way, so did it really matter if the whole family was wearing a tye-dye shirt with Mickey Mouse in the center? Not really.

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Going With The Flow

Now I am at the point where I’m fine putting on coordinating clothes. I’ve learned to appreciate the upsides. For example, last year, I picked the theme for Halloween (Star Wars all the way!). We get a lot of compliments, and my wife gets to hear other women say, “I wish my husband would do that.” Believe me, that’s worth the bonus points right there.  Also, any embarrassment I used to feel is a thing of the past.

The kids get into the whole matching thing, too, and they’re only little for so long. I know the day is coming when they’re going to want to be their own character for Halloween, and then there won’t be any more matching, so why not just enjoy it for the few years it can happen?

So this year, we’re going to be The Incredibles for Halloween (ok, Violet is younger than Dash, and it’s baby Jack-Jackie, but whatever).  And when the kids say, “Let’s all be animals today!” I grab a T-shirt with an animal picture on it. And when Krystal tells me she got coordinating purple outfits for the rehearsal dinner for her cousin’s wedding, I may tease her about it being more lavender than purple, but I’ll just wear it either way. Ultimately, it’s not a bad outfit, I’ve got to wear some sort of clothes, and it makes the wife happy. To me, that’s worth it right there.

Any other Dads out there coordinate with your families?

Erik Miller
Erik is a music teacher, Star Wars fan and really awesome dad. He recently started blogging at Healthy Happy Thrifty Family about his parenting adventures. Please connect with him on social media.

16 Responses to “Costumes and Coordinating – A Dad’s Survival Guide

  • Dad’s that dress up are awesome! You guys always have the best Halloween costumes, you are inspiring! 🙂

  • I think this is a wonderful idea! Why not do things like this while you can! Kids grow up too fast! WE grow up too fast! There is no reason whatsoever not to allow ourselves to have some fun, especially with our kiddos!
    Love it!

  • Looks like you did a fabulous job! I love all of these super cute costumes 🙂

  • I love that you wrote about this because I think a lot of people struggle with the decision to do matching costumes. My ex boyfriend would never do matching costumes primarily because of how much ridicule his best friend would have given him

  • Elizabeth O.
    2 years ago

    Kudos to you for being a team player! I love that you went with the flow even if you weren’t sure the first time. I think it’s great when dads do this for the family, it builds better memories for the kids, plus like you said, the wife is happy. And you know what they all say, happy wife… happy life! Lol.

  • Great to hear from a dad’s perspective. Cherish all your memories x

  • What a cute idea. Playing dress up would really be fun.

  • We also coordinated for Halloween this year. My twins generally match all the time, and my oldest sometimes likes to dress the same too, so it’s easy to buy 3 of the same thing. We don’t coordinate on a regular basis, but I think it would be fun for special occasions too.

  • I think it is adorable that you participate so well in this adventure! Good on you – and nice outfits Mr. Fashion Coordinator! 🙂

  • What a fabulous idea!

  • CourtneyLynne
    2 years ago

    Awwwww I just love this!!! Having a little girl I just love it when I see dads dress up! Cutest thing ever!

  • We’ve coordinated before. When the Harry Potter movies were coming out each year, we’d all dress as Harry Potter characters for the HP parties and the midnight showing. We haven’t done Halloween coordinating, but I keep planning it, lol.

  • Looks like Grandma and Grandpa were involved too! That’s commitment!

  • very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

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