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The reason kids want to wear the same clothes over and over.

Contrary to popular belief, our kids own more than three shirts.  You probably didn’t know this because they wear the same ones every week.  Well, breath a sigh of relief now that you know that it’s not just your children that wear the same clothes over & over.

Thanks to Abercrombie Kids for partnering with me on today’s sponsored post.

The reason kids wear the same clothes over & over
Our son wore the same shirt to church so many weeks in a row that we jokingly called it his “uniform.”   He’s the same way most days of the week- he just has his favorites.

On most days, I can tell you which outfit our kids are going to come downstairs in… without looking.

White sweatshirt, black pants.   

A couple of young boys standing next to each other wearing winter coats with trees in the background.

However, I can’t say much.  A few weeks ago, my husband had his knee operated on, and when he came out of anesthesia, the nurse asked him if he could explain what I looked like so she could go and find me.  In his medicine-induced stupor, he told her “She’s short, and she is probably wearing dark jeans and a black shirt with a gray cardigan. She’ll be reading a book without her reading glasses.”   


That’s me.   

The nurse found me right away and told me just how she knew it was me.  Thanks, Mic. 😉

What can I say?  He knows me well (when you’ve been together since you were 13… you get to know the other person pretty well.)

The mom/wife who owns ten black shirts and 4 gray cardigans, and wears them over & over.     (Although he’s not one to talk, as I can tell what he’s going to wear on any given day, as well.)

Why do we do this?   Why do we fall back on the same outfits again and again?   Is it normal?

Yes. It’s normal.  It’s probably more the norm than not.    And… it’s ok 🙂

A couple of boys facing each other talking while standing in the woods.

Dori Winchell, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Encinitas, California says “There’s nothing wrong with wearing the same thing over and over, as long as it’s clean.  If a certain outfit gives them stability and security, there’s no harm in that.”

I’ve found that there are a few reasons why kids (and adults) wear the same clothes again & again:

1. Comfort.

What can I say?  When you find something that feels great, or when you find a brand that you love… you wear it more often.  You like the way that they feel and the way that they fit.  Why mess with what works?   Our son knows that he can throw his a&f jogging sweats on with a gray hoodie and feel good.  

A young boy standing in the grass with trees in the background.

2. It can make them SMARTER!

An interviewer once asked Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, why he wore the same gray t-shirt & zip up hoodie every day and he said: I want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.

He’s not alone.  Other people to wear the same clothes daily include Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Christopher Nolan, who told NY Times that picking out clothes was a “waste of energy.”

He might have a point.  Psychologist Oliver Burkeman studied the “Habits of Genius” and said: “It was William James […] who best articulated the mechanism by which a strict routine might help unleash the imagination. Only by rendering many aspects of daily life automatic and habitual, he argued, could we “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”   

“Subsequent findings about “cognitive bandwidth” and the limitations of willpower have largely substantiated James’s hunch: if you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”

A couple of boys standing near each other with trees in the background.
So when we outsource the mundane everyday decisions, we can use that energy on the more important things.  

A little girl balancing on one foot with her arms extended on a pile of rocks.

3. Confidence

Leaders have confidence.   Sometimes it comes from doing something well, and other times it comes from feeling good about how you look.

I once read a story about patients at a hospital.  They had volunteers come in and do makeovers for everyone in that wing.  They had their hair fixed, their makeup is done, nails done, etc.… Those patients reported feeling happier and felt better than they had in weeks.   When you LOOK good, you FEEL good.

Who knows… maybe that Santa hat is the must-have accessory you’ve been missing? 😉 

A girl posing for a picture wearing a Santa hat.
As Maria Sharapova once said: “When you look good, you feel good. Confidence with what you’re wearing is very important. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.”

4. Style

When you find something that feels nice and looks nice, it seems perfect.   Our daughter will wear anything lets her express her style and feel confident in herself.  Her Abercrombie Kids cold-shoulder dress is her favorite right now.  She wore it so many times this month that I’ve started making her wear a cardigan sweatshirt or a sweater over it to try to change it up a bit.   She doesn’t mind because the inside of that sweater is as soft as can be, so it feels like pajamas and she her confidence soars.

A little girl posing for a picture wearing a flower dress and a pink jacket.
The same goes for her jacket.  She wore her Abercrombie Kids a&f cozy puffer on a day when the weather didn’t even call for a coat because she likes it so much.

A close up of a girl wearing a hooded winter jacket.

5. It’s Easy.

Think of your breakfast.   Most of us have the same thing every day.  Cereal or eggs or oatmeal… whatever it might be.   Why? It’s easy, and we know we like it. Wearing the same clothes follows the same concept.

It boils down to Security & Certainty for many children (and adults). I read one time that a lot of CEOs and founders of companies wear the same clothes over & over again, often even day after day — the reason boiled down to security & certainty in a world that is uncertain.  It gives the same feeling like a security blanket for a baby.

If it is cold outside and you can open your closet door, grab that winter coat that you love and head out, you don’t have to worry or think about anything.  You know that it fits well. You know that it will keep you warm. You know that you like the way it looks. You know that it will fit the same today as it did yesterday.   It’s just one more decision that you don’t have to make, for now. You can take the easy road.

A side picture of a boy wearing a black hooded jacket.

In the end, my advice is to go with it.  Let them be comfortable, stylish & feel great at the same time!   If they love it and they feel good… they are HAPPY.

In the long run, wearing the same shirt (even if it does look cute on them!) twice a week isn’t a battle I’m willing to have right now.  I have bigger fish to fry in this parenting journey.

Let them wear what makes them FEEL happy. 🙂

More posts you might like:

Is it behavior… or sensory?
sensory processing disorder

Many of you know that I have a few kids that are very sensitive to clothing and have have e-mailed asking for specifics on our kids clothes.  Yes- these clothes are extremely soft & comfy.  The kids love them.
Here are links to everything: 


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. Not just for kids. I do the same. I started doing like that after seeing Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 weeks. 7 pairs of black suits, white shirts, watches, shoes, etc. I like the part about comfort and intelligence. I agree that there are more important battles than fighting over fashion.