The Temptation of Match.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the Continuum of Match.  It housed, if I may say so myself, groundbreaking and perception-changing clarifications of parental types.  If I were the Doctoral Candidate type, it might become a significant part of my thesis.

Let’s review the categories contained therein.

Level 5 Matchers: These parents believe that complete matching is synonymous with holiness.  They not only match ALL of their children, both male and female, all the way down to their socks and underwear, but also match their OWN outfits to their children’s.

Level 4 Matchers: These parents regularly match their children, both male and female.  Although they don’t typically also match their own clothing with their children’s, they feel compelled to do so for family portraits and holidays.

Level 3 Matchers: These parents tend to always match their children of the same gender (especially girls), but don’t subscribe to cross-gender matching or parental matching.

Level 2 Matchers: These parents find occasional pleasure in matching their children, but don’t make it a requirement.

Level 1 Matchers: These parents are Easter-Only, same-gender-only matchers, and refuse to match their kids at any other time.

Level 0 Matchers: These parents scoff at (or secretly scoff at) any parents with a matching level above their own, and absolutely refuse to EVER match their children, sometimes even consciously choosing to make them clash – on principle.

I am a Level 2 Matcher who would be 96% more likely to be a Level 3 matcher had I been gifted with two children of the same gender.  But I’m never tempted to match my own clothes to my children’s attire, and often consciously make decisions to prevent being mistaken by others as consciously matching my children.

Except.

Once a year, right around the dawning of that cool, crisp, magical fall aura that enters the air and makes Mommies want to go out and buy entirely new autumn-colored wardrobes for the every family member, a bizarrely intense temptation arrives at my doorstep, in the form of Hanna Andersson’s holiday catalog.

No one in my family has ever owned a single garment from Hanna Andersson.  Not even hand-me-downs.  Yet this catalog sends me into an immediate trance, endangering my budget, my familial harmony, and my sanity.

I’m pretty sure they lace the entire catalog with Mommy Crack (the drug, not an inappropriate amount of butt hanging out of jeans), because although there is nothing about the Mommy-Style in Hanna Andersson that looks similar to anything in my closet, I swear that something comes over me and creates a nearly-inescapable draw to buy every piece of clothing in their catalog .  For me, for Chris, for my children, and for age brackets of children that I don’t even possess.

What is it about their coordinating and contrasting prints that enraptures me so?

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(I NEED that hooded sweater onesie!! Surely I could shove Noah into it for a month or two.  And OH – the striped tights are divine!!!)

(Stop it, Rachel.  Cable-Knit sweaters make you look lumpy and barn-shaped.  For the love, woman – get ahold of yourself.)

But then I turn the page.

I don’t even like plaid, and I certainly don’t like sweater vests.  So why does this set make me wish I had a tween son to dress En Matche with my husband?

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(Oh…I so need a sweater dress.  Why haven’t I owned a sweater dress in my entire life?  Has it all been a sham?)

Then I turn the page.

To a woman’s cardigan.

A CARDIGAN, I say!! Straight off of Maggie, circa 1991, Northern Exposure!

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(Ali would look SUBLIME in those red tassly boots!!)

(Hey – I wonder if they have those toddler boy ‘fro wigs available?  I could totally order one for Noah to finish off the look.)

It was at this point that I looked up for a second and noticed Noah watching me with incredulous fear.

IMG_0308Just not the plaid!! JUST NOT THE PLAID!!!

I looked back down, re-entering my daydream of our family of four, all coordinating in our idealistically matching duds, strolling about a quaint French Countryside Farmhouse.

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But then I made The Mistake.

You know, the one where you open the catalog to your favorite page and tell your husband in that shopping-lust voice how awesomely enriched our family life would be if we could wear coordinates like these every day?

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Um, yeah.  I got The Look.

And then I compounded my mistake by accidentally slipping my grip from my favorite page and allowing him to see that I had earmarked matching pajama page.

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The Look, paired with The Eyebrow Raise and Downward Tilted Head.

“But look how gleeful that Daddy looks!! Don’t you think we’d sleep better if we had matching dancing penguins all over our long pajamas?”

“Pajamas.  Pajamas??”

So I tried the “Just This Once” Technique.

“You know, for the Christmas memories!”

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Chris recoiled.

“Do you know what I would look like in those pajamas?  I’d look like the Lorax, or some other round-bellied Seussian Beast. The Dad in the Hat.”

“Well, if you’d rather go with something a little more belly-appropriate, you could coordinate with this one…”

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“That reminds me of Will Ferrell walking through New York in Elf shoes buying lingerie for his long lost dad.”

But it’s all good.  My husband’s reaction helped me regain my senses, break away from the Crack á la Hanna, and remember: I’m just a Level Two.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. Ok. That was one of the funniest, most well-written blog posts I’ve ever read! (I have a very close friend who ‘matches’ her family for every holiday! Kind of creepy/admirable).

  2. Elizabeth says:

    How funny! I had many of the same thoughts as you when I received the catalog last week, except I have two girls. Some of those dresses were so cute…and then I saw the nasty cardigans. Northern Exposure was a great reference. I decided to throw the whole thing away before I could be captured by its trance:)

  3. Too funny! Seriously, please don’t put Chris in any of those goofy pj’s…I’m seriously wondering who is buying those?? Who are these people? What kind of men are they??

  4. Melanie Miller says:

    One year when my son was about five, I think, I bought him a sweater vest to wear to church. Very handsome I thought. My son wanted nothing to do with it…but I forced him to wear it. (I know, mommy of the year contestant right there!) I wasn’t counting on his great ability to convey his displeasure with facial expressions alone. No words were needed. I took a picture before going to church to record the preciousness. By the time we got to church he had decided he wasn’t going inside. He would wait in the car until church was over. Nobody would see him in the vest. At this declaration I realized what I was doing and told him to take off the vest and we would never speak of it again. Peace was restored. This young man child has been the most vocal about what clothing he does not like though at now 12, he could wear the same thing every week and usually does.
    Needless to say, no matching at our house.

    • That’s an awesome story! I’ve never heard of such a young boy doing that. I totally did that growing up, but so far, I’ve been blessed with kids who care less what I dress them in. Perhaps it will catch up with me with Noah…

  5. Okay…a) I loved the ruffly cardigan the mom had on with jeans and the gray tiered (?) skirt, b) the Lorax…hahahaha! c) I have absolutley no desire to match my children!! But, I would still buy that cardigan.

  6. I’ve been working on pulling outfits together for family photos and trying to make us coordinate but not match. I think I fall into a level 3, but Hanna style – I love the matchycoordinatingness of their look. There is nothing, remotely, ever that would convince my husband to do such a thing.

    Whatever mommy-crack is in that catalog is strong stuff. I was drooling on my laptop screen!

    Great post… truly made me laugh out loud!

  7. I used to be a Level 3, but now am a Level 2. The Easter of 2011 was the first one where I did not intentionally try to coordinate everyone’s outfits, and it felt like it wasn’t really Easter to me. This year, I didn’t try to coordinate, but then everyone told me how great we all looked together, and I realized I had inadvertently coordinated our outfits.

    And yes, that catalog gets me every time.

  8. How is it I have never even heard of this company? I think I shall order the catalog today as there seems to be plenty stuff there I’d like to drool over.

    I had a pair of pjs for Eli last Christmas like the green striped ones shown above (not sure where they came from as they were either hand me downs or part of a craigslist box of clothing). My mother-in-law made a comment about Eli looking like a convict in them. Not quite the look I was going for with them; I had found them rather cute on him myself.

  9. Okay, now I want a cup (huge pot) of hot chocolate with whipped cream and a day alone to snuggle under old quilts and have a Northern Exposure marathon. Rats, not gonna happen though.

  10. LOL! I got that catalog yesterday too! My first page I liked was the browns/neutrals ones that you posted first and thought that the little girls outfits were so cute, but that horizontal stripe sweater for me would make me look huge! Why couldn’t they be vertical stripes? My girls are 7 and 2 yrs old and I rarely have them matching, but I do like it. I’m just cheap. Baby girl just gets older sister’s hand me downs. If they’re lucky, they both may get something new and be coordinating. Haven’t yet bought into the parents matching too thing.

    • I do have a problem with the overproduction of horizontal stripes in adult clothing… why can’t we have vertical? Is there some sort of unspoken rule – we don’t deserve it??

  11. I never really think about matching. We end up matching a lot of the time on accident because our family loves the color blue – my husband looks great in blue, I look great in blue, our two boys look great in blue…yeah, we own a lot of blue clothes. I think pictures with all of us coordinating are adorable, but I find coordinating all of our outfits on purpose to be a royal pain so I avoid it most of the time. LOL

    And yes, you NEED a sweater dress. I have a sweater dress I wear in the wintertime with tights and boots and I love it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say your life has been a sham, but you will definitely feel enlightenment upon wearing your first sweater dress. ;-)

  12. We were a level 3 family growing up, but now that we’re all grown and most of us married my mom tries to get us all to match for family pictures…like MATCH MATCH, like all wearing the same shirts. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry…we love you…)

    We knew this family when I was younger whose sons always matched…and they were older, like 14 and 15 and still matching, ALL the time…it seemed a bit much.

    I would say I might end up being a 2 or 2.5 if we have same gender kids…but really only girls.

    And I really love the red fringe boots!

  13. isn’t it good when our husbands bring us back to reality? i like his round-bellied jibe at himself b/c my husband would say something like that. i think i might be a level 2. but as i look up at the wall and see the last family portrait we took last fall, perhaps i’m a level 3. me and evie were wearing off white and the boys were all in navy. but in my defense, we didn’t really have anything that would go together and look good. the photo looks crisp and clean instead of a mess of color. i dunno. i never thought of it before i guess!

  14. I don’t *need* to match but my daughter often insists. What can I say? Matching doesn’t bother me at all and I like to pick my battles. I do like matching shirts for the odd picture, regardless of gender. That can be quite cute. But we hardly ever do so (not even once a year). Hmm. What level am I?

  15. I match my daughters every once in a while, because it’s freaking adorable. But I wouldn’t try and match them, because for one thing, I’m twenty five years older than them. And people with that kind of age difference just shouldn’t match.

    Although, I think I would forgive people wearing matchy stuff from this catalogue because most of it isn’t *overly* matchy. That’s the important part.

    And Chris is absolutely right; Zeuss.

  16. Adorable dresses for my daughter. I’ve seen Hanna Anderson but haven’t ever ordered from there…until probably now because I am in love with that red, blue, ivory strip dress with the red fringe boots. I am trying to talk myself out of it because come on $68 for a pair of red fringe boots for my 7 year old. But oh my how cute she will look and this outfit would make a perfect Christmas photos outfit. I am perusing The Children’s Place, Old Navy, and Gap right now trying to get my bearing to see if I can find something a bit more affordable and budget friendly that I will fall in love with. And why did I just request the catalog. I think your blog post is laced with that Mommy Crack that filters through our screens and keyboards. I really need to get a hold of myself. Though that outfit and boots are sitting int my “shopping bag”. And here I am doing more talking myself into it by being like well I only have one child so at least I don’t have to buy for more than one child. Too funny about the Lorax comment your husband made.

    • Oh no!! And I purposefully didn’t link to Hanna Anderssons site, just to not lead people down this dangerous, dangerous, $68 boot road. I apologize for any wayward straying you do on my account.

  17. Oh my goodness, that catalog is definitely laced with Mommy crack! It’s a darn good thing I don’t get it because I would be obsessed! I would totally buy everything on all those pages (excpet the Northern Exposure page and pj pages). Love the coordinating outfits…I’m starting to go that way more than full on match since I’ve got a five year age gap between the oldest and the youngest now. I have to say I have moved up a level since you last posted about the Levels of Match. I think I’m a full-on Level 4, but since I only have girls that helps. The adult pjs are definitely going to far though. My husband would only wear those if he were stone cold dead and I forced his lifeless body into them!

  18. Oh my word….dying! This post made me laugh out loud. Loved the part where you horrified your husband by showing him your carefully selected pages of matchiness. Me & my husband don’t have kids yet, but I appreciate your cautionary tales of the Hanna Anderson catalogs…I will have my guard up if we ever get any.

  19. Those pjs….oh.my.word! I cannot, in any way, come up with a scenario in which a whole family in coordinating pjs seems normal. I can’t say that I know anyone who does that (although maybe they do and are just so embarrassed that they do it in secret, thus me not knowing about said coordinating jammies…).

    I’ve actually never seen a Hanna Andersson catalog (?!?) but I’m sure someday when I have kiddos I will become enlightened to the world of such catalogs, levels of match, and smock…all things which are foreign to me know. I’m so glad I’ll have your handy guidance to help me :)

    P.S. I can’t say for sure, but I predict I’ll be a level 2 or 3 matcher

  20. Thank goodness I didn’t know about Hannah Andersson when my girls were little. I did however, love Gymboree. I used to shop/loiter in that store for HOURS. The store manager asked if I wanted to work there part-time to get an employee discount and because I was so familiar with the collections and answering customers’ questions!

    • Oooh yes – I can’t WAIT until she’s old enough to learn business math! That was my favorite. And yes – Kangaroo DOES have good Icees!!

    • That’s awesome! I love the Gymboree Outlet – they have a totally different line of clothes. I like some stuff in Gymboree, too – I just usually talk myself out of it due to their prices.

  21. I LOVE the Cocoa Weather Cozy outfits. I really want to match my family with those outfits! The sweater onesie?! Nicholas needs that!! (Nicholas is 21 months, but he’s the size of a 3 year old! I don’t think I can squeeze him in it!)

  22. This totally cracks me up!!!! I was only a level 1, maybe 2 matcher, but when the day came and they refused to match, it broke my heart.

    Then again, if two teenage boys walked into church in matching sweater vests, I would fall off the pew laughing (or maybe I would just pray for them).

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

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