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I Help My Daughter Dress So Everyone Knows She Doesn’t Care What They Think

The following was syndicated from The Pepper Dolores for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

The color combinations of my childhood outfits could choke a kaleidoscope.

I have my parents to thank (blame?) for my wardrobe. They were in charge of dressing me up until the age of 7, before I had to intervene.

I recently unearthed a photo of me from when I was 4. I was wearing wide-wale, navy blue corduroys, a banana yellow shirt with brown cowboy outlines on it, and a dark blue cardigan with red and orange, raised, vertical stitching on the front.

It’s clear from the photographic evidence my parents were vicariously living out their experimental fashion ideas through me. At least that’s all I thought it was.

Now, I’m a father of 2. My eldest daughter is 5, and my newborn is around here somewhere. I know today, what my mom and dad knew back then. It’s my God-given right as a parent to dress my kid however I want.

Usually, my wife is in the charge of our daughter’s outfits, but everyone once in a while Daddy is in charge. I’m no fashionista. I’m not even a Maxxinista. I’m more of a JC-Penny-irregular-collection-inista. What I lack in fashion sense, I make up for with imagination.

During my daughter’s school year, I curated mind-bending outfits for her that made the other preschoolers go “dammmn girl.” A particularly memorable attire consisted of leopard print tights, a tiger graphic tee, a white fur vest, thick bracelets, and pair of round purple sunglasses. I hung a sweet necklace with a big fat key around her neck to top it off.

Why a key?

It’s my God-given right as a parent to dress my kid however I want.

It’s for opening minds up to the possibilities of looking like a boss. In other words, a lady who don’t give a hot shit what you think of her choices. Well, her father’s anyway.

So why does a man who wears tee shirts until they disintegrate dress his kid like they are competing in Project Runway?

Mostly, because I can. But there’s more to it than that. I realize now my parents weren’t dressing me up like a psychedelic cowboy just because they could.

My daughter and I have fun when we put these outfits together. She checks herself out in the mirror and holds her head up. She smiles the whole way to school. It’s taught her, and reminded me, to be bold.

It’s only clothes, I know. I also know there will come a time when my daughter won’t want my opinion about most things, let alone her outfits. So for now, she’s my model, and I’m her Betsy Johnson. But a dude. You get the idea.

Someday my daughter will look back at pictures from this time and have me to thank (blame?) for helping her chew up the scenery.

Wait until she sees the kindergarten collection I have for her.

Gabe Capone is a writer, comedian, and goofball. He writes for The Pepper Dolores.

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