How to dress your casual kids for more formal family gatherings

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.

Make sure it’s comfortable

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.

Dressing up boys

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.

Dressing up girls

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.

Just add accessories

Sometimes dressing an outfit up for girls or boys is about adding some accessories. For girls, you can add jewelry, scarves, or maybe a headband to give a casual outfit a more dressy casual look. For boys, you can add a tie, a nice hat, or maybe even a nice watch to dress up their outfits. Adding these small touches can really dress a casual outfit up to the next level!

Don’t forget the footwear

Don’t underestimate how much a set of shoes can change your kids’ outfits. If your son or daughter is wearing a more casual outfit, if you add casual shoes like tennis shoes, athletic shoes, or shoes with characters on them, it will dress the outfit down. If you add a pair of nice ballet flats or dressy boots to your daughters’ outfits or a pair of nice docksiders or dress shoes to your son’s outfit, it will make a more casual outfit much more dressy looking. Also, don’t forget that adding tights can be a way to make girls’ outfits more formal, and adding black socks can really dress up boys’ outfits too.

No matter how you decide to dress your casual kids up, as long as they feel great, that’s what’s most important.


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