Commode To Joy

finding happy (even in the crappy)

We Had Family Photos Taken And I Didn’t Coordinate Our Clothes

The dreaded/beloved family photos.

In the 1980’s, everyone wore their Sunday Best for them. Attention to detail included tight perms, fluffed bangs, and lacy socks for little girls.

1990’s picture norms involved a more casual and organizational approach, achieved with one decision: Color blocks. Khaki on bottom, solid on top. That way even strangers in the mall could discern the family tree.

Sometime post 2000, photos became even more casual with families wearing cleverly coordinated everyday clothes. Each person’s outfit typically includes a few colors of say, a five color palette so that the overall affect is eye appealing and natural.

It’s one of those things that, when you see it done well, you know it. The families who pull it off have an – It’s so easy looking so good. – nonchalance.

Then there’s us. Even though our wardrobes are predominately white, gray, and blue (you think I’m kidding, look at the pictures on my website), I can’t get our clothes to click in pictures.

Despite being creative. Despite my ability to coordinate home fixtures and furnishings, we’re that family. The – Well… they tried. – family.

Every single family photo session we’ve had since Miller was born (save his hospital/newborn pics), I’ve not coordinated our outfits well. At best, our colors are off. At worst, we don’t quite look like ourselves, because we’re wearing atypical clothes combos.

Either way, I look at our pictures and recall the angst that went into outfit planning. I look at our pictures and nitpick what fell short.

During this year’s annual Muscato family trip to Florida, my mother-in-law organized photos on the beach at sunset. The color palette: neutrals and pastels with no loud patterns.

Fine. I can do this, I thought heading to our closet before the trip. After spending a good forty-five minutes pulling out clothes combos, none of which Mark and I liked, I decided to go rogue. I pulled out clothes for each of us that fit the palette without worrying about how well we coordinated (if at all).

You know what else I didn’t worry about for family pictures? My hair. I didn’t take the curling iron to it to enhance my natural wave. I didn’t straighten it. I didn’t diffuse it. I didn’t even time hair-washing with picture day (perhaps the most shocking of all). I just let it be. As is. Because that’s how I look ninety-percent of the time.

Miller and I are wearing grays that don’t match. Mark’s blue adds color to the otherwise neutral collage, but it doesn’t appear in my or Miller’s outfits. Doing so would’ve been a nice touch…

But whatever. Forget it. I’m done trying to live up to Pinterest Perfect Picture standards. I just want us to look like us. Wearing clothes, and even accessories, we normally wear.




Our picture won’t wind up pinned on an outfit planning board. I don’t know that it would’ve made a mall cut. But that’s not the point.

The point is, I see this picture and don’t nitpick it. Because when I see this picture? I see us.


Categories: Family & Parenting, Odes To Joy

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Good grief! This is so timely. My in laws are organizing a family portrait on the 27th. I’ve been instructed that the dress code is: solid color golf shirts for the men, solid blouses for the women – that means buttons down the front. No jeans, no denim anything, dress slacks for the women and dockers for the men. I own a single solid blouse- in black. I don’t even know if it fits. I’m getting so worried that I have had a dream about it! Your photo looks lovely – I only pray that ours will be “not hideous”!

  2. Thank you Jamie. I’m over the keeping up with the Joneses on family photos. It’s like there’s a contest ‘who can look more perfect’. I’m glad you wrote about this. I’m lucky to get the professional photos and stay away honestly because I never think they make us look like the people we are. Can’t we just embrace how we really are (like you did…photo was perfect) and do less?! We sat it daily ‘people are doing too much!’. It overwhelms me. Thanks for giving me inspiration to do family pictures ‘our’ way.

Leave a Reply