Author: Kath Doyle
Parents of multiples are faced with many decisions that parents of singletons don’t have to consider. If your multiples are the same sex, one of the first ones is should I dress my multiples the same or not?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to this, but there are a few things to consider when you make this choice about should I dress my multiples the same or not?
Some parents choose to dress their multiples the same so that they only have to choose one outfit each day. While others love the fact that they not only get to choose one cute outfit each morning, they can choose two or three!
However, choosing just one outfit isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Babies are messy and often go through several outfit changes in a day. If you have to change one, will you change them both so they still match? Are you willing to do twice as much washing as you need to? Will you take two identical versions of every spare outfit out with you? There is only so much room in that nappy bag!
Cute or cringeworthy?
This one is entirely a matter of personal opinion. While I generally tend towards the latter, I’d be lying if I claimed there weren’t plenty of photos of my twins sporting matching attire. Some of those photos are even my favourites. Like the one of my 3 year olds wearing matching B1 and B2 pyjamas. Cuteness overload. Or the time I took a pair of identical Emma Wiggles to the Wiggles concert. And the one of my girls meeting Minnie Mouse at Disneyland in their matching Minnie Mouse dresses is too adorable for words. Ok, so maybe I actually sit on the fence on this one.
Which one is this?
This point is particularly relevant to identical twins. As parents, you may have no difficulty telling your twins apart no matter what they are wearing (although as the parent of identical twins I have to confess that I sometimes need to look twice when they are dressed the same). Dressing them in exactly the same outfits, however, will certainly make it more difficult for family and friends to tell your twins apart.
Sure, we’d all like to think that everyone in their lives will know that Twin A is the more emotional, dramatic one and Twin B has the mischievous glint in her eye, but the reality is that most people will appreciate a little clue about who is who. Knowing that Twin A always wears blue and Twin B green can save a lot of confusion. Also, as much as you think that your identical twins look nothing alike, it can be surprisingly difficult to tell your twins apart in old photos and videos.
Wow! Are they twins??
Multiples inevitably attract a lot of attention wherever they go. You may be the kind of person who loves chatting to every stranger who gushes over your beautiful offspring and don’t mind answering the barrage of questions that come your way. Or you may just want to pop into the supermarket quickly for a carton of milk for that coffee you desperately need and don’t feel like having a conversation with every person you pass.
I speak from personal experience when I say that the amount of attention your multiples receive is directly proportional to the similarity of their outfits. Particularly as they get older (a pair or trio of babies will attract a certain amount of attention no matter what they wear).
Crowded places with twins and triplets
Some parents dress their multiples the same when they go out as they find it easier to keep an eye on them in busy places like playgrounds. Parents of multiples are constantly doing head counts in those situations, and looking for the same brightly coloured shirt can make that easier. It can also make it more difficult, though. When they are running around and you can’t be sure if you’ve recently spotted both, or if the same child has run past twice.
Should I dress my multiples the same or not? My experience as a mother of identical twin girls.
I am the mother of identical twin girls as well as two older singleton boys. We made the decision not to dress our twins identically, although we haven’t been strict about this as I’ve mentioned above. We don’t usually buy two identical items of clothing, but sometimes we’ve been generously given hand-me-downs from other twins which came in matching pairs, as well as birthday and Christmas gifts. Also, sometimes I know that a particular item, which only comes in one colour or print, will be a favourite and I’ll need two of them.
Generally, though, when our twins were babies we would dress them in similar outfits but different colours. I don’t know why we did that exactly. I guess it came down to two of my earlier points – simplicity and cuteness. So that we weren’t so limited in our choices, one twin almost always wore pink or red and the other twin wore any other colour. We chose these colours simply because pink seems to be the most popular colour for baby girl clothes and we wanted to make things easier for ourselves.
This would have been very helpful in identifying our girls in old photos if it wasn’t for the fact that at around the age of two, little miss “other colour” decided she would only wear pink for about 6 months. Now when we look back on photos we have to try to remember if it was taken during her pink phase. Oh well, we tried!
What do my twins think?
Now that my girls are seven and choose their own clothes. It is very rare for them to wear matching outfits, partly because they don’t own many and partly because they would prefer not to. They don’t like always being asked which one they are or being called by their sister’s name.
Although Twin B did say, with her aforementioned mischievous glint, that sometimes they like to dress the same to trick people. While I do have to pay a bit more attention on the days they do this, they’ll have to get those cheeky giggles under control before they can successfully fool anyone.
Daycare and preschool for twins and triplets
When they started daycare, and later preschool, we chose an unofficial “uniform” for each of them. We bought several pairs of the same shorts for each of them, one in pink and one in blue. It made it easier for the other kids and teachers to tell them apart without constantly having to ask. Name labels are an option, but these will be of more help to the teachers than the other children, most of whom won’t be reading yet.
School uniforms for twins and triplets
School uniforms can present a particular challenge for parents of identical twins since you have no choice but to dress them the same. Your options may be limited by the uniform policy at your school.
Parents of identical girls have a slight advantage because they can opt for colour-coded hair ribbons. This is what we have done. We have also embroidered their first initial and surname on their hat brims. This helps with ensuring that lost hats eventually find their way home as well as letting people know who is who when their hair is covered. Of course, this is only an option if your multiples have different initials. Other ideas are different coloured earrings or watches.
Parents of identical boys have to be a bit more creative when it comes to differentiating their multiples. Some ideas include different coloured watches, shoelaces or socks. Some parents have replaced the top buttons on shirts with different coloured buttons, or embroidered initials somewhere on the shirt.
Practical tips about managing clothing for twins and triplets
There are several ways that you can manage your twins’ clothing. As our girls share a room, they share all of their clothes and they are all stored together. Sharing is something that our girls have done since conception and is second-nature to them, so this has worked well for us. Besides, who wouldn’t like to have twice as many clothes to choose from!
If you would prefer for your multiples to have their own wardrobes, there are a few ways to manage this. While I can’t speak from personal experience with my twins as they share everything, my singleton boys have only in recent years had separate bedrooms and wardrobes after years of sharing. Some tips include:
- Once they are old enough, hand them the washing basket and get them to sort the clothes themselves. You may not know which t-shirt belongs to which child but they will.
- Socks and jocks are the hardest items to separate so we buy separate colours, brands or styles for each child. One of our boys only wears black socks and the other white socks, which makes sorting the washing much easier. Another option if they are the same size is to only buy one style and colour of sock and just split them 50/50. No need to put them in pairs!
- You could put their initials or a small colour-coded mark on the tags.
So, should I dress my multiples the same? Or not?
Ultimately, whichever option you choose is the right one. There are no rules when it comes to dressing your multiples and you’ll never please everyone. So do whatever makes you happy and have fun with it. People love buying cute little baby outfits, so whatever you choose, it might be helpful to mention it to family and friends before your babies arrive.