How to dress identical twins is a hot topic among families with twins. As a mother of seven-year-old twin girls, professional organizer and member of Professional Organizers in Canada, my personal and professional experience has helped our family navigate the fun—and sometimes tricky—world of dressing twins. We hope that these tips and ideas help your family, too.
It started when we adopted our twin girls after three years of waiting and anticipation. I felt if I bought anything prior to being matched, it would jinx the process. So, from the time of receiving the phone call, to our twins' arrival, we had four weeks to do some serious shopping—including outfitting for two.
I like dressing them in matching outfits mostly out of practicality and aesthetic pleasure. I have to admit that, once in a while, I will dress myself in similar style or colours, or wish secretly that I had their outfit in my size! I don’t know what drives this behaviour, but perhaps it’s a bonding thing. Whatever the case, it does feel like you are on the same team. Occasionally, I will ask them if they are OK with wearing the same outfits, which they are fine with 90 percent of the time.
So, here’s the lowdown for new twin parents:
Raising multiples is an experience beyond comprehension. The first two years are a blur, so choosing one outfit instead of two reduces stress and doubles your efficiency.
Tip: Choose all their outfits for the week on Sunday.
You’ll need two of everything. It will cost you twice as much to dress twins, unless you have a keen eye for "two-for-one sales" or have friends with twins.
Tip: Ask stores for a twins discount.
Twins get attention from the get-go and dressing the same is a guaranteed celebrity status builder; people are naturally drawn to them.
Tip: If you enjoy the positive attention, go for it.
I remember my friend telling me that dressing girls is a blast. Dressing two girls doubles the fun and it satisfies the organizing urge to group alike things together.
Tip: Shop early in the season.
Imagine being in an airport, the mall or a theme park and were separated from one twin. If they were dressed alike, you could use the other twin as a visual reference.
Tip: Get safety wristbands.
One of the downsides to dressing alike is that it’s harder to tell them apart. It can be especially difficult later when you look at pictures.
Tip: Use different hairstyles or accessories.
Encouraging different dress promotes their individual identity. They will have colour and style preferences. One twin might be the girlie type, while the other might be more tomboyish.
Tip: Keep their clothes separate.
Different outfits means there is less chance of being caught in conversations with strangers about twins. If you want to avoid being stopped every 50 feet in Costco, this dressing style often solves the “are they twins?” question.
Tip: If someone asks if they are twins, say "yes, thanks" and move on.
Dressing them differently is very helpful for teachers, friends and family. It is easier to tell them apart and people will relate to their personalities more quickly.
Tip: Label clothing with their name.
When you go to the doctor or hospital, it’s essential to dress them differently. You don’t want to have any mix-ups
Tip: Dress them differently when giving medication.
Allowing twins to choose their own outfits will help them to develop their decision-making ability. It will also likely result in some sometimes pretty crazy outfits.
Tip: Make sure clothes are within their reach.
Having the different outfits can generate the “No fair, she gets to wear that!” bullet.
Tip: Let them do the choosing.
If you love dressing them the same but worry about crushing their style, complementary outfits can accomplish this by creating outfits that are the same but vary by colour.
Tip: Save money and buy in pairs but different colours.
Dressing them in the same outfit but in different or analogous colours requires a little more thought, but accomplishes a coordinated look with a bit of spice.
Tip: Put one in pants and another in a skirt.
Complementary outfits help people tell them apart. You can assign hot colours to one twin and cool to the other to help identify them in pictures later.
Tip: Aim to associate a colour, or set of colours, with each twin.
Your say in how your twins dress may only be short lived. So for the time you do have a say, you’ll likely make choices based on your lifestyle, pocketbook and beliefs. It’s a practical and aesthetic process for me, but to each their own—that's my motto.
Marie Potter is a Trained Professional Organizer and Silver Leaf member of and Director of Marketing for Professional Organizers in Canada . She began her company in 2003 and works on-site or virtually with clients in their home and office. She helps her clients get organized and achieve more; more time, space, calm or play.