Milton residents Eliza and Jonathan Fajen have found a unique way to enhance the family bond between their four daughters, Ella (7), Hannah (5), Olivia (3), and Lauren (1). Eliza shared her fashion tips for dressing her young family.
Mother/daughter Fashion Coordination
“The funny thing is, I thought I was going to have all boys! I never envisioned being a ‘girl’ mom. Once Ella was born it started. As I dressed her for the day, a color would come up and I would unintentionally dress in the same color. Baby girls have so many cute clothing choices. I wanted a fun way to create a mother/daughter bond. I knew there would be so many pictures of her, especially as a stay-at-home-mom.” Fajen shares a lot of pictures of the family’s daily activities on social media for her long-distance friends in Boston and family in Ohio. “I love to see the pictures of the girls wearing the same baby dress. I can picture all of my babies wearing them.
“I don’t have a sister. I have one brother. I am not forcing bonds, but I am showing them how easy it is to bond. Before kids, it was very important to have close family ties. Just dressing alike, can tighten our bond together. Family togetherness is very important to us. My husband, Jonathan, has three sisters, so he is used to a houseful of girls.
Beginning the Bond
“I picked out the clothes for the girls until Ella started kindergarten.” Ella is starting to dress herself. Mom has veto power over crazy pattern choices. “I started talking about patterns that don’t go together and how even the shade of the same colors may not match. I explain why light pink and hot pink doesn’t go together.
“I may say something to my girls like, ‘Together they don’t look the best, but if you like these items, you can choose one of these things to wear and we will find something that looks the best.’
“There are so many years ahead of us that we can talk about this. It’s important to me for my kids to be age appropriate. We talk about color and pattern combinations, not about styles.
“Having something the same draws the family together. I hope it tightens their bond, dressing alike, sharing clothes and choosing clothes. Many times, the girls choose to match.
Coordinating the Whole Family
“On Saturday night, we decide what we will wear on Sunday to church. We choose a color and go from there. Sometimes, I will choose a dress that perhaps someone is about to grow out of and I want to see them wear it one more time, we will wear coordinating outfits around that dress.
“Sometimes two girls will wear a matching dress, and the two other girls will wear complementary colors. The girls really like matching as well. My husband and I will wear coordinating colors in his neckties, and my necklaces, skirts or shoes.
How to get men matching
“Even though we have a lot of girls we don’t want to be too girly. If we wear pink, we also wear navy, and then Jonathan wears a navy tie. He owns a muted pink tie and muted purple tie.”
Those items can be easily used in the family fashion pick of the day.
“It is so easy to wear glitter and hot magenta pink, but we have consciously chosen not to do that to open up choices for us.
Safety in the same
“As much as I love to coordinate the girls, there is also a safety issue. When I go out to major attractions, I match the girls’ outfits. Heaven forbid, one of them got lost, I know what they are wearing at zoos, and amusement parks.
Packing/laying out the outfits
“Wearing coordinating outfits makes packing for trips easier. If I can envision activities and choose four outfits, it narrows down the mental choices. I just choose coordinating outfits for each daughter from the four main outfits. I want my kids to look good for pictures of our adventures and in front of extended family.”
Where to shop
“I like classic rather than trendy clothes. I go towards clothes that will last over the years. I love Gymboree. I know they have clothes that are classic and made with quality materials. I avoid characters on clothing. I don’t want to wear a character on my clothes!”
“Kid to Kid and Once Upon a Child have good prices and quality clothing. With a bigger family I need to find good deals. At Kid to Kid, I can find the next size up of some of the items I have purchased in the past in smaller sizes. When I find that, I get so excited! I am a much better mother if they come home from school with paint on their clothes and I realize that I only spent $5 on the item instead of $25.
“My mother and mother-in-law totally love to help dress the girls. They are so sweet! They shop at Kohls and Gymboree. There are only granddaughters on my mom’s side. My mother-in law has seven granddaughters ages 7 and under. It is granddaughter heaven in our family!”
NSW asked Fajen if it is starting to get difficult to find quality used clothing in Ella’s size?
Fajen’s advice is, “Know before you go. I am always aware of things I might need. I have started an ‘8-year-old’ bin. I already know what I am looking for. That’s why I love the Gymboree brand. They have coordinating clothes past 6x.
“All of my kids have been true to age and size. I look for seasonal clothes and the size they will be next year. At Kid to Kid, they have so many items, you can buy it when the season arrives and buy the size you need.
Not too girly
“In our household we also have trucks and blocks and other toys. We wrestle, and play in the creek. We want our children to be well-rounded and have their eyes open to a lot of things and not just girl toys and everything pink.
Final Fajen fashion tip:
“Matching/coordinating clothes should be fun and can be as easy as just everyone wearing the same color leggings or me wearing a necklace that is the same color as my daughter’s shirt.”
Fajen’s ultimate goal is to create family closeness and her family fashion choices have helped achieve that. See their latest pics on Instagram @elizanfam.