I see your child's underpants. Seriously. I do, all day long, every day. I know it has been a while since some of you have been in an elementary school, but their is a lot of sitting on the floor, recess, game playing and of course, gym class. Skirts are just not ideal for these activities. So this post is for parents...If your child wants to wear a skirt, put some shorts, tights, or leggings on underneath. While we are on the topic here are some other related thoughts:
Allowing your child to pick out their own clothes does not reflect badly on your parenting skills. In fact it reinforces decision making and independence. Additionally, it often puts a smile on my face. I understand that your child's choice to wear 6 non-matching colors and prints or a brown patterned skirt with a rainbow striped shirt cannot be found in a fashion magazine, but it does make your child unique and often gives them something to talk about. (a personal favorite outfit of mine: the child who came to school with 10+ hair clips clipped on to her shirt).
There are some things that do reflect badly on you as a parent (at least in my eyes)... Allowing your child to wear dirty or unclean clothes. We as teachers notice, and other children usually do as well. As a parent, make sure your child's clothes are clean (now don't freak out, a stain from breakfast is not dirty.We understand your child is not Mr.Tide or Miss. Clorox...). It helps teach personal responsibility and hygiene.
Another wardrobe concern relates to weather. If it is below 40 degrees outside, do not let your child wear shorts, skirts without tights or leggings, or sandals. It is TOO cold. There is a line between giving your child the freedom to choose their wardrobe and making sure your child is appropriately dressed for the weather. This rule also applies to winter coats, hats, gloves and boots.
Be practical! If it is gym day make sure your child wears gym shoes (not flip flops, sandals two sizes too big, or flats with no tread on them). If it is an art day, do not send your child in a brand new white T-shirt. If it is going to be cold outside make sure your child can put on his or her own gloves (if they can't there is this awesome type of glove called a mitten...you may have heard of it). If it is going to be hot outside three layers of long sleeves probably isn't the best idea.
In my opinion a child's wardrobe, like for adults, should be a reflection of individuality. It should not, however, be free from rules and the teaching of appropriateness.