When fashion blogger Summer Bellessa decided to let her three-year-old son Rockwell choose her clothing for a week, she had no idea what to expect. The rules were simple: he got to choose her outfits, and she had to wear them, no matter how silly or imaginative they got. The mother-of-two thought it would be a fun week of role reversal and an opportunity to allow her son to experiment with style, with potentially hilarious—and totally bloggable—results.
@summerbellessa let her toddler dress her for a week and the results were pretty priceless. #ToddlerStylist
A photo posted by @babble on
“As a mom, I’m always telling them what to wear, where to go and what to do once they’re there,” Bellessa explained. “I thought it would be fun to try the shoe on the other foot.”
She expected mismatches and color-clashes. What she didn’t expect was the overnight, viral sensation of #ToddlerStylist. Within just a few weeks, moms all over the country carried the torch and let their children take over the reigns of their wardrobe.
“A lot of people have asked me if I knew it would be such a big story, and the truth is, I had no idea! However, I love that motherhood made the front pages for something so positive and upbeat,” wrote the fashion-savvy mama. “After all, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the everyday struggles of motherhood, so it was refreshing to bring some silliness back into our lives.”
Now, #ToddlerStylist has taken on a life of its own, with hundreds of young moms and children joining the adorable trend. The sidesplitting posts feature a picture of the proud (or slightly embarrassed) mother explaining her son or daughter’s inspiration, and their fashion forecasts for the season. But while the trend is rather lighthearted and carefree, Summer Bellessa insists that we can learn a lot from our trendy toddlers!
For one thing, a little creative role-reversal is a great way to show your child that you aren’t just the austere authoritarian that they envision every time you sentence them to a time-out. Allowing your kid to set the boundaries for your wardrobe is a fantastic way to remind them that they have a voice and you value their input. They will appreciate the chance to state their opinion and call the shots. Even if it’s something as insignificant as your outfit—it’s still Mommy’s outfit- and that’s a big deal to them.
The experiment is also a great reminder not to take things so seriously. “Silliness is good for your kids and for your heart,” she explained, and she has a point! Sometimes the stresses of being a mother and balancing your well being with your children’s can be exhausting. It’s only healthy to stop every so often and do something completely ridiculous and left-field with your child, just to blow off a little steam and enjoy a bit of pure silliness.
Perhaps the most interesting lesson to be learned from a week of #ToddlerStylist, is about how we can put what can sometimes become an obsession with the way we look a little bit in check. It can be an incredible boost of self-confidence to let go of your outward image and show the world that you are more than just clothing and makeup. Bellessma described her week-long experience as “therapeutic.”
“I realized how little people really care about what you’re wearing,” she said. “The pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way is just that: pressure we put on ourselves. I wore two different shoes for two days, and no one noticed until I pointed it out.”