I’m beyond excited to partner as an affiliate with Primary Clothing on this post. If you choose to use the banner attached, you will receive 20% off your first order with Primary and at the same time keep my blog up and running. I want you to know that I only am partnering with Primary because this brand is one we legitimately love and has made all the difference in dressing our sensory girl. Hugs mama!
Dressing a Toddler is Hard
Dressing a tactile sensitive toddler can feel isolating and like you’re losing a battle that you don’t know the rules to. My kiddo doesn’t give verbal cues when she’s uncomfortable. She will just strip whenever it gets to be too much. One second shes dressed, the next shes naked having a meltdown on the floor. So, for us it’s been a lot of trial and error. Of course, I need to mention that all the tips and recommendations I mention in this post are specific to our kiddo, how she likes to dress, how we prefer she dress, and what works for her specifically. My goal though, is that maybe if you’re facing similar challenges, there’s a new tip in here somewhere to help you on your journey.
1. We had to rethink what her triggers are.
My kid LOVES denim and tee shirts. Her dad wears them as a uniform, I wear them basically as a uniform as well. However, the days she wears denim (doesn’t matter what style, cut, thickness of fabric, if there’s a real fly or faux fly, if they’re jeggings or levi’s) we have more meltdowns. And I’m talking epic meltdowns with screaming, itching, and violent tantrums. So much of this sensory journey is experimentation and documentation. I noticed some days were significantly worse than others, ruled out any new activities, changes in schedule, too many transitions, then landed on the fact that those days start in jeans, and end up with her naked on the couch.
2. We had to rethink styles of clothes.
Like I said before, she likes tees and jeans. Those were a no-go. So, we moved on to tee shirts and leggings. But, my kid has legs a mile long and we were constantly fighting to find tees long enough that her stomach wasn’t constantly exposed (I’m looking at you Children’s Place and Gymboree tees). She’s a huge fan of dresses, but was tearing off ruffles, pulling at tight necklines, and again, stripping from them. One day, I came across play dresses with matching leggings from the brand Hanna Andersson, and we found that, to my surprise, they stayed on. All day. I’m serious, I’d put the outfit on in the morning and unless she dumped a bottle of tempera paint all over herself, she wore the outfit til bedtime. I’m sure for many that would seem like an accomplishment for any toddler, but for my toddler? It was like I struck gold in them there hills.
While you can find Hanna Andersson items on sale, and sometimes even on websites like zulily.com, or other sale sites, at retail this outfit alone will set you back $86.00 (US) for just the play dress and relaxed leggings. While I love my child with all my heart, I’m not sure I can carve out an entire wardrobe with this clothing, even on sale.
3. The Cat & Jack phenomenon
If you’re in any ASD/SPD parenting groups on facebook, or anywhere else, I’m sure you’ve heard all about Cat & Jack at Target. Don’t get me wrong, they have adorable styles, and some of their clothing is really well made. But, I’ve found that over time, it takes a lot of time on my part to make sure items have flat seams, are of a thick enough material, that they are cut consistently, and I have to keep in mind her current wardrobe as it’s easy for us to get a wardrobe set up where their items don’t match. We do love their plush sweat pants and their socks have been amazing (we size down and wear inside out). If Cat & Jack works for you, that’s amazing. It just hasn’t been the case for us.
4. And then there was Primary.
I’m pretty sure I saw a million advertisements on Facebook before I actually clicked on a Primary ad. To be completely honest, the idea that they advertised on Facebook cheapened the brand to me so I wasn’t interested in shopping. And then I got an insane coupon for black friday, we were desperate to find clothing that was affordable, that she would keep on, and that would keep up with wear and tear. When I saw their items were made with long-staple cotton or Pima cotton, I thought I’d jump in with some pj’s and a play dress and see what the fuss was about.
One thing I instantly appreciated about Primary clothing is that the dresses all include pockets. This may seem simple, but we’ve never purchased a toddler dress (from Target, Old Navy, Gymboree, Hanna Andersson, Children’s Place, or the like) that included pockets. Considering this kid doesn’t wear jeans or other pants that would accommodate her with pockets, this was a massive win in my book. Another thing I noticed was that on the leggings we purchased (we love the “cozy” ones) the waistband was not only completely flat, but also wide so there were no edges to dig into her hips.
The website is inclusive and as a mom of a toddler, it was good to see the items on a baby, a toddler, a child, and a preteen. So you could see how they fit, how they alter the cut as a child gets older, and there are beautiful photos of how they styled colors together. All in all, if you haven’t checked them out, I strongly suggest you click here, and see them for yourself.
5. Always allow for change.
And at the end of the day, what works one week or one month, may not work as easily the next. But, finding resources that work as a baseline is a great place to start.