How to dress your casual kids for more formal family gatherings

When it comes to your day-to-day life, formal occasions may be few and far between. But there’s something about the holidays that brings out the good china, the oyster spoon, and maybe even Aunt Gertrude and her old-fashioned ways. And when you’re attending—or hosting— a formal family tradition, the last thing you want to worry about is making sure your kids have something appropriate to wear.

We know—shopping for dressy kids’ clothing can be tough. You want to teach them that looking your best can be a show of respect and consideration, but you want to make sure they’re comfortable, too. On top of that, you don’t want to invest in something that will prove too delicate to handle the post-dessert play that will surely follow.

On both of those counts, boys can prove the biggest challenge. We find that a good boys’ flannel shirt is a great compromise. It’s certainly less casual than a T-shirt, but will stand out as more dressy than their typical play clothes, particularly if you convince them to keep it tucked in (that may prove a challenge). Plus flannels have a built-in holiday appeal that may make them feel a bit more festive. And the best part? Unlike a plain white dress shirt, a flannel shirt in a tartan pattern will better hide pesky stains.

Depending on how dressed-up the evening will be you can keep them in a pair of Iron Knees® boys’ jeans. If it’s a bit dressier, swap denim for Iron Knees® chinos. The reinforced fabric in each ensures that they’ll be worn for the rest of the year, too.

You’ll have an easier time convincing girls to step out in their best—but that doesn’t mean their clothing should be any less delicate. A classic match is a knit dress, a stretchy knit velvet dress or a tunic paired with kids’ leggings reinforced by Iron Knees®. These leggings are already made with twice as much spandex, and have stretch patches added at the knees for extra resilience.

With the little ones kitted-out for a fancy meal, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. That means you can give all of your attention to which fork goes with your salad course.

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