Summer Fashion for Less

Why I let my two little kids pick out their own clothes this summer

Maca Atencio of Hey Maca allowed her young children to stretch their imagination by shopping for their own summer looks without stretching her budget.

By Maca Atencio, Hey Maca

Author's kids standing in front of a mural wearing marshalls clothing Photo: Hey Maca

I love having a front row seat to the show that is my kids’ lives.

Watching my two babies, Nico and Olivia, grow—not only in size but also in personality and creativity—is perhaps the most bittersweet blessing of being their mommy.

A part of me wants them to stay small and be my little babies forever and ever and ever. I wish I could freeze the moments of cuddles and kisses. Thankfully, my blog and Instagram allow me to do just that. But another part of me takes such pride in watching them blossom into the sweet mini humans they are today, and I love dreaming about the kind of people they will eventually become.

I love seeing bits of myself in them. Nico is already quite the colour-blocking artist, and Olivia has recently worked “so cute” into her vocabulary (she learned it from her mama). Future Hey Maca employees? Maybe!

Why I let my two little kids pick out their own clothes this summer

Recently, both have become a little more vocal when it comes to their personal style, too. Nico feels very strongly about keeping his hair long, and Oli has started piecing together outfits in the morning.

As their mom, I feel like I should promote this independence. But admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure I was fully ready to hand over the styling reins to a five- and two-year-old. Oh, mon dieu.

Since we were in need of new summer pieces, and I felt like I needed to take that extra step into giving them independence, I decided to give my creative cuties a chance by taking them on a shopping trip to Marshalls.

Both kiddos were so excited to get the opportunity to choose their own outfits. And believe me when I say that they ran to the kids’ section of the store much faster than my pastel heels could take me!

Why I let my two little kids pick out their own clothes this summer

Nico was drawn to preppy pieces: He went for a short-sleeved button-down ($19) and grey-toned pants ($30). Momma paired his look with some white sneakers ($50), which I regret to inform you were covered in ketchup shortly after.

Miss Oli couldn’t keep her hands off all things tulle, lace, sparkles and pink. She kept saying “so cute” to everything.

Why I let my two little kids pick out their own clothes this summer

In the end, she chose the sweetest ruffled pink tutu ($10) and a black-and-white-striped peplum top ($15). I added white tights and shoes ($20) and a little tropical purse ($5). She was right—"so cute," indeed.

Why I let my two little kids pick out their own clothes this summer

The results? Just look how well they did!

I could not have been more pleased or proud. My babies have got style.

With Marshalls' everyday low prices, I could let Oli and Nico stretch their imaginations without stretching my budget, and we got fresh, new looks for summer for a total of $150. Plus, the designer finds were crazy. A Ralph Lauren button-down? A Kate Spade skirt? Sold!

My mommy moment in all of this? As my babies get older, I need to learn to sit back, relax and enjoy the Oli and Nico show. They don't always need a director—just stain remover.

Disclosure: This content was created in partnership with Marshalls and Today’s Parent. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Marshalls or Today’s Parent.

This article was originally published on May 16, 2018