What is dressing Waldorf? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 12-31-2006, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been reading "Waldorf Education: A Family Guide" and they mention in one little section about dressing Waldorf style. What is that? It did mention in layers and wearing wool even in summer. I have been pondering this and thinking that maybe that depends on where you live. I can see if you live in the North it would be a good idea, but living in the desert southwest it seems a bit silly to wear wool undershirts when it can get over 100 degrees in the summer.
Anyway, thanks for the insite!

H

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#2 of 48 Old 12-31-2006, 11:38 PM
 
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Yeah, in the desert southwest wool in the summer would indeed be silly. My daughter keeps the kids in wool underwear from the colder part of fall through spring, here in Vermont. They like it.

The other thing is a preference for natural fibers over synthetics. I'm a handspinner and can really feel the difference, so I rarely wear any synthetics, although I'm not a total fanatic about it. The concept is to keep children surrounded by stuff with life qualities--same thing as the wooden toys over plastic toys--synthetic fabrics are like wearing plastic clothes.
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#3 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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I understand the obvious preferences for natural fibers, but in reality, how does anyone find affordable woolens, even sweaters, for the very young?
I shop garage sales, salvation army, sales, for my kids, and it's REALLY hard to find that stuff.

As a result, I try to make sure that they are layered, have freedom of movement for comfortable play and are obviously free of commercial characters, logos, etc. For us, that often means a plain poly-fleece over a cotton t-shirt, but I don't stress that it's not wool.
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#4 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 12:10 PM
 
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Yes, the affordable thing is very difficult. My daughter only buys a few woolen undergarments and carefully preserves them. I think my grandson is wearing the same woolens his big sister wore and she has passed on the outgrown onesies to other friends who like wool.

Both of us knit. I found four skeins of wool sport yarn for $1.00 at a church sale. So far I've made my grandson a vest and now I'm starting a hat for his big sister. I also handspin my own yarn, but I can't say that is a big saving, frankly. I just do it cause I like to do it.

And my grandkids do wear fleece and other synthetics. Snowpants, for example, have got to be synthetic.

Oh yeah, my daughter has developed a nice technique for making mittens out of old wool sweaters. There are a lot of adult sweaters in used clothing shops that can be recycled into smaller garments, if you are crafty.

Do what works for you and don't angst about it!
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#5 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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I understand the obvious preferences for natural fibers, but in reality, how does anyone find affordable woolens, even sweaters, for the very young?
I shop garage sales, salvation army, sales, for my kids, and it's REALLY hard to find that stuff.

As a result, I try to make sure that they are layered, have freedom of movement for comfortable play and are obviously free of commercial characters, logos, etc. For us, that often means a plain poly-fleece over a cotton t-shirt, but I don't stress that it's not wool.
I totally agree with with this and would add that I think it's important for each family to make thier own choices about clothes. So while we do avoid logos etc, I would not be comfortable at a school that dictated how my children should dress. My experience, so far, is that our school is not a "Do it our way or get out," kind of place (In fact there is no one particular way that is pushed). If it was, we wouldn't be there.

I second Deborah: Do what works for you and don't angst about it.

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#6 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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Cotton is a natural affordable material and almost all of our clothes are cotton. No characters or writing, heavier cotton sweaters, and a few wool items.
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#7 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So is it natural fibers? It also said something about layering. And a friend who had her dd in a Waldorf school has mentioned not having the house heat up alot and keeping the kids core warm with clothing... has anyone else heard of this?
Just curious, not stressing about it.

H

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#8 of 48 Old 01-01-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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Yes, this is also talked about in the book Homemaking as a Social Art.
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#9 of 48 Old 01-02-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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Getting a kid to wear wool can be tricky sometimes too. My eldest is very sensitive and no matter what wool undershirt I bought, it was always too scratchy and we had to return to cotton. I spent a lot of money on wool undershirts that weren't worn but once for maybe 5 minutes. Lucky for me, I could resell them to other families who didn't have this problem.

I think the layers is also something you have to consider the child too. Some kids have a lot of heat within and even in cold weather can't wear a lot of layers.
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#10 of 48 Old 01-02-2007, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel for your child. I am so senstive to wool. So is my oldest. The only place I can wear it is on my feet or hands.

H

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#11 of 48 Old 01-02-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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Same here, we are primarily a cotton family as the twins and myself cannot stand the scratchy-ness of wool.

I recently knitted a pair of kitty dolls using two different kinds of wool. One was so rough that despite the small size of the project, my right index finger that I use to help wrap the yarn around the needle went near-raw. My DS got the 'rough kitty', but he does not cuddle it to his face unlike the softer woolen kitten that his sister has.

Since our budget is super-tight, we have to take what we can get in terms of hand me downs, and we try to do our best in avoiding logos and cartoon characters (Though DS does have a hand me down baseball cap with a certain M-Mouse, he simply refers to it as 'The Mouse' as we do not mention it by name).

So as long as our family is dressed in breathable, comfortable and layerable generic clothing, I see no reason why this should be an issue AND the clothing is still a step away from the landfill.

Waldorf mama to 5yo b/g twins
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#12 of 48 Old 01-03-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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I even tried expensive silk-wool blends that everyone guaranteed were super soft. Well to my eldest they were soft on top and itchy underneath!
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#13 of 48 Old 01-03-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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At the WS I went to we totally mocked the kids and teachers from the local anthroposophic community who "dressed Waldorf." The attire consisted of scratchy-looking wool tights, mousy skirts and blouses and scarves/kerchiefs up top. Men had a little more leeway, favoring the nerdy/rumpled professor look with an emphasis on hand-knitted vests. Both sexes wore clunky leather shoes. You could spot the "anthropops" from a mile away. There was something so relentlessly conformist about these get-ups, so lacking in individual style.

I'm certainly all about using natural fabrics whenever possible. But I wouldn't say it's as a result of my Waldorf education...
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#14 of 48 Old 01-03-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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I think the times have changed. I remember that look from the 60s and 70s, but the anthroposophists I know nowadays usually dress any old way they want--I know I do!
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#15 of 48 Old 01-03-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
At the WS I went to we totally mocked the kids and teachers from the local anthroposophic community who "dressed Waldorf."
:
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#16 of 48 Old 01-03-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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You all are describing a traditional way of dressing children in central Europe. Brings back memories!
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#17 of 48 Old 01-04-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Which is an interesting point about waldorf education in America--how much is Steiner and how much is central european lifestyle carried across the ocean? And, of course, how much is left-over hippie sixties and seventies stuff?

giggle...
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#18 of 48 Old 01-05-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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Does style of clothing matter? Could it be a plain cotton polo shirt / hawaiin type shirt for a boy? or must it be a tshirt?
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#19 of 48 Old 01-05-2007, 05:19 PM
 
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No, style is not important. The natural fibers are the big thing.
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#20 of 48 Old 01-05-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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Which is an interesting point about waldorf education in America--how much is Steiner and how much is central european lifestyle carried across the ocean? And, of course, how much is left-over hippie sixties and seventies stuff?

giggle...
In the kindergarten I went to in Hungary, we had a nature corner where we put things we picked up (fallen chestnuts and leaves and so forth), which from what I understand is also done in Waldorf schools. And the descriptions of "eurythmy" I've read are similar to the Dalcroze (originally Swiss) and Kodaly (originally Hungarian) methods of teaching music.
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#21 of 48 Old 01-06-2007, 04:48 PM
 
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I will add that as a teacher there is a bit of pressure to dress a certain way. It depends on the school. I've had to be careful not to rock any Waldorfian boats strolling through halls in my black Fluevog "tank girl" boots (motorcycle type boots with a couple extra buckles).
:
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#22 of 48 Old 01-06-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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I will add that as a teacher there is a bit of pressure to dress a certain way. It depends on the school. I've had to be careful not to rock any Waldorfian boats strolling through halls in my black Fluevog "tank girl" boots (motorcycle type boots with a couple extra buckles).
:
Fluevogs rock! I have seen very conventionally dressed teachers (Kindergarten especially) and some not so. One of the teachers, who has taught at both schools, always dressed like the tomboy she was.
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#23 of 48 Old 01-10-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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At the WS I went to we totally mocked the kids and teachers from the local anthroposophic community who "dressed Waldorf."
Wow. That's mean.

It seems at our school, parents and kids have an eclectic way of dressing. You still see a lot of tights and handknits, but it tends to look funky and fun, with lots of bright colors and different textures. The things that are most stressed are hats (sun hats in summer, warm hats in winter), sturdy play shoes or boots, comfy slippers to wear indoors. I agree with the idea that children need warmth so that they can focus on other things. My children have a few pieces of wool unders, but I generally dress them in cotton layers. We have very few synthetics, but sometimes a fleece pullover will serve as a sweater.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#24 of 48 Old 01-10-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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Just had a flashback. My daughter, a couple of years after she graduated from the Toronto Waldorf School, moved on to college at Humboldt State University which is in Arcata, California. She told me she felt right at home, because people dressed just the same in Arcata as at the waldorf school. Arcata, at that time, was called "the last refuge of the hippies." It may still be, I haven't been there in a few years.

Funny.
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#25 of 48 Old 01-10-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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Wow. That's mean.
Yup, kids can be mean. I hope this isn't a newsflash.

Of course, it's possible that back in the 70's, at this particular WS, kids were meaner than most. I certainly remember there being an intense pressure to have "cool" clothes. And anthroposophical garb was just plain uncool.
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#26 of 48 Old 01-12-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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Oh I don't know...I don't think Zinemama and her fellow students were being mean (just, as she said, being kids). And I'm glad Zinemama shared that story with us. I like hearing about Waldorf students thinking critically about Waldorfy stuff.
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#27 of 48 Old 01-12-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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I think the most imporant thing for the Waldorf school environment is that the clothes be fairly plain - no distracting pictures or crazy colors, obviously no characters or anything else. This is quite different than general public school attire which often is full of many characters and flashing sneakers, etc.

We buy all our kids clothes from thrift stores so sometimes it can be hard to find totally natural fibers or organic items, we just pick the most plain stuff we can find that is still cute.

Great for nature studies! http://www.pleinairkids.com
Plein Air Kids - Handmade wooden art boxes for Budding Artists.
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#28 of 48 Old 01-12-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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Yup, kids can be mean. I hope this isn't a newsflash.

Of course, it's possible that back in the 70's, at this particular WS, kids were meaner than most. I certainly remember there being an intense pressure to have "cool" clothes. And anthroposophical garb was just plain uncool.
Oh, I did my share of mean stuff in HS, too. Those were not my shining moments.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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#29 of 48 Old 01-12-2007, 07:16 PM
 
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I like hearing about Waldorf students thinking critically about Waldorfy stuff.
Ha ha! Don't get me started on what we thought of eurythmy! (sp?)
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#30 of 48 Old 01-13-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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Ha ha! Don't get me started on what we thought of eurythmy! (sp?)


Actually I'd love to hear about it...perhaps a topic for another thread?
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