To Buy Or Not To Buy? Clothing, COVID, And Unexpected Decisions.

Yesterday, I blogged about clothes, and the topic of clothing remained on my mind today. Strangely enough, I was thinking about a blog post of Doug Peterson‘s from back closer to the beginning of the pandemic, and then I noticed that he blogged about this topic again today, but going in a different direction. It’s interesting to see the connection between COVID and clothing.

Today, I was thinking about thoughts that were running through my head as I was out shopping yesterday. I ended up going into a store in downtown Dundas, buying a few tops, leaving some other ones behind, and then returning to this store later in the afternoon to pick up those couple of additional tops and an unexpected one. It was the unexpected one that inspired this blog post. As I was paying for my two additional tops, I noticed this really interesting poncho hanging over by the cash register. I don’t usually wear ponchos, as the bulky sleeves can result in a painting catastrophe waiting to happen. 🙂 What I loved about this particular poncho is that it had these black-and-white fake fur cuffs around the sleeves. My eyes were drawn to them. I just had to try this on. Of course, I fell in love with it! I really vacillated on buying it though. The top was more expensive than what I would usually pay, and while I recognize that I’m privileged to even get to contemplate purchasing it, I wondered if it would be worth the money. I was the only person in the shop at the time, so as I was talking to the employee there, she said, “I realize that this wouldn’t be a top for school …,” to which I replied, “Oh, but of course I would wear it there.” I think that she was drawn to the white fur, and wondered what kind of paint mess I could create. Hey, I’ll admit to having the same thoughts. 🙂 I told her that I was going to change and think about it. As soon as I went into the dressing room, I felt the furry sleeves again, and this is when I thought about one of our students from last year.

Taking A Selfie Of Just A Top Is Not An Easy Thing To Do, But You Get The Idea 🙂

This child will be going into SK this year. When we transitioned online at the end of the year, she was not always able to join in on our meeting times. Considering that we’ve been out of school for months now, I think that transitioning back to school in September could be challenging. There are many things that I remember about this child, but one that stands out is that she always liked when I wore my fuzzy black pants. Why? “They just feel so soft, Miss Dunsiger.” No matter where I was standing or where I was sitting, she just had to touch these pants. If this child was ever upset, angry, or tired, feeling these pants made her feel better. It’s that sensory component that seems so calming to many of our young learners. While I realize in the time of COVID that distancing is so important, I would always make sure to wear my mask and shield, so that if she needed to get that little bit closer, she could do so safely.

It’s hard to know exactly what the restrictions will be for this year, but I’m thinking that after many months away from school, this child will not be the only one that needs some kind of sensory connection. All I could think about in that dressing room was, “She is really going to love feeling these furry sleeves.” Yes, this poncho is sure to have some run-ins with paint, mud, water, and maybe even worms and snails, but for a few extra smiles, I think this will all be worth it. Who knows what colour these sleeves will be come June, but thinking about this student had me decide to say, “Yes,” to one other purchase.

For 1 1/2 years, we haven’t had many reasons to dress up or buy new clothes. I still tried to think about …

  • paint,
  • mud,
  • time spent on the floor,
  • time spent outside (in all weather),
  • and creepy crawly critters

when making my clothing choices, but I also decided to live slightly on the edge in a few different ways. 🙂

Maybe I’ll become my own walking piece of artwork, and maybe that will be just fine. Clothing and COVID: what are your stories to share? I bet we all have a few.


10 thoughts on “To Buy Or Not To Buy? Clothing, COVID, And Unexpected Decisions.

  1. It’s interesting how we were thinking about clothes on the same day. We’ll see if you’re thinking about Comic Books tomorrow. One of the first things that went through my mind reading your post was that we probably now have a good idea as to how often Aviva has to do laundry.

    Over the years, you’ve shared with us the messiness that goes into an Early Years’ classroom and I can’t imagine the washing challenges that that brings.

    It does bring an interesting thought to mind – if you’re wearing something that you’re really proud of or you know that it cost a great deal, do you adjust the messy activity accordingly?

    • Thanks Doug! No comic book thinking right now, but who knows, your post tomorrow might inspire something new.

      There’s no doubt about it that I do a lot of laundry. I also have some good stain removers. Over the years, I’ve become less concerned about stains as well. I try to see the art in that little bit of paint or marker left behind. Just as we tell our parents to have kids dress for messy play, Paula and I tend to do so as well. Truthfully, I probably purchased more clothes this summer that might be less geared to messy play than I have in the past, but I intend to get just as involved in paint, artwork, and mud as I would any other year. Most of our materials are washable anyway. All of my clothing choices are still comfortable and practical, which probably matter more to me than anything else, as sitting on the floor doesn’t work well in a fancy dress or skirt.

      I’ve never modified plans based on clothing. We paint every day. Our kids need this sensory experience, and it’s not fair for my choices to change the plans for the day. But I have accepted that messes are inevitable, so if I’m too worried about the clothes, I need to select something else to wear or “let it go” (as the song says). 🙂 Curious what others also think about this topic. You bring up a good point here.


  2. I LOVE this, Aviva! I’m a sucker for fun clothes ( and shoes) and I adore a good poncho. When I taught kindly, I had a little friend with sensory challenges who would sit during whole group time right in front of me and quietly rub my shoes throughout our group discussion or book reading. I had the shiniest shoes that year!
    Can I suggest – as a fellow poncho wearer – you keep a couple of scrunchies or big thick hair elastics handy to pull and and secure those pretty sleeves when messy activities are planned? I bet some of your little fashion friends would love to see you in some cute scrunchie arm bands as well!
    May the rest of your back to school prep be as uplifting as the shopping was.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Kristi! I love the scrunchie idea. I would have never thought of this, and it will totally work. I’m definitely going to buy some fun scrunchies before back-to-school. These might just save the white furry sleeves after all! Thank you so much for the great fashion advice!


  3. I love this, Aviva! I had a similar sensory experience on the weekend. My daughter turned 13 and her aunt bought her a Squishmallow, which I had never seen. My daughter started hugging it and rubbing the ears, just like a small child does with tags or a blanket. I immediately started thinking about the little folks coming back and how we have several who would benefit from this soft, loveable, huggable Squishmallow. I foresee some of these soothing little creatures in my class’ future – even if it means some extra laundry. 😊

    • Thanks so much for sharing this, Helen! Your story brought back the greatest memories from when we were online, as one of our students had many Squishmallows. He shared one with us one morning, so Paula went to get hers. This child was sure that hers wasn’t a Squishmallow, as it had feet. Paula’s stuffed animal was deemed a “Squishmallow-Wannabe,” and this became the joke for the rest of the school year. Almost every day, children shared and talked about their Squishmallows and Squishmallow-Wannabes. It was a reminder to me that kids connect over sensory experiences, whether in-person or from afar. I’m interested to hear about this Squishmallow sensory experience of yours in the coming school year.


  4. Such an interesting post. When I taught intermediate I often wore dress pants and heels. I was very young, fresh out of teachers college, and shorter than most of my students. But every Wednesday was school spirit wear day and I’d usually wear a school T-shirt or hoody with yoga pants. The older kids always commented how how much they liked my outfits on Wednesdays but not the other days of the week. Every since I moved to teach junior and then primary students I rarely wear dress pants and never wear heels. I needed to be able to sit comfortably on the carpet for conferencing or math games. Now in the library, in a “normal year”, I can hit 15 000 steps just inside the room! Leggings, sneakers, and layers of shirts/sweaters are my work clothes. I almost wish I’d worn more comfortable clothes when I taught my big kids, too.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Beth! It’s interesting what a big role clothing plays in teaching. Obviously a lot of thought goes into our choices. I remember getting more dressed up when I taught Grades 5 and 6, until I made some changes in my Grade 5 classroom. Then all of a sudden, my students were working everywhere (including on the floor). The need to spend a lot of time sitting on the floor, or popping between the floor and a table, had me back in more comfortable clothes again. I’m curious to see how some of my more “dressy” options work this year. I have no doubt that they’ll be highlighted with a little bit (or a lot) of paint!


  5. Aviva,
    Thanks for that post. I’ve been thinking about clothing too. This summer, I did a huge examination of my entire wardrobe and purged a lot of items. I also bought quite a few items too, with school in mind. I can tell that I go through “clothing phases” at different points in my life. For instance, I finally had to give away the last of my animal hoodies (because they don’t fit anymore). I used to love wearing them at school because a) they were comfortable, b) they were conversation starters, c) the students would sometimes match me, d) they represented my “vibe” (my admin once said “How can someone looking like this be scary?”). Recently, I really got into the “poncho” stage, because it was easy to layer (too hot = poncho off / too cold = poncho back on) and to “dress up” a t-shirt and leggings (like Beth mentioned).

    I love the sensory purpose of your clothes. I hope we’ll be able to “touch” a bit more this school year. It also reminded me that I have to choose those sensory options carefully – I will send you a photo via Twitter of a shirt that I liked, but that I’m giving away for two reasons – hopefully you’ll see why when I send the visual!

    • Thanks for your comment, Diana! It’s so interesting how much clothing says about us, and how our clothing choices might have changed over the years. I’ve never thought this deeply about clothes, but I think that I will more often from now on.

      Your sensory comments intrigue me. I need to go and check Twitter now. 🙂 This also makes me think more about my own sensory needs. I’m bothered by the way some wool products make me itch, and I never like anything that makes me feel too hot. The layering aspect of this poncho might work for me. 🙂

      Have a great start to the school year, Diana!


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