Dress your son up for a special occassion.

How to Dress a Young Boy Like a Gentleman

by Erica Loop

Whether you're heading out to a family dinner at a fancy restaurant, going to a holiday party or simply don't want your mini-man to look like he's been rolling around in mud for the past few hours, dressing a young boy like a gentleman isn't always difficult. While your son may scoff at the idea of trading in his ice cream-stained t-shirt for a button down, some occasions call for a more adult-like style of dress.

Neat and Tidy

The first step to dressing your young son like a gentleman is to transform him from a dirt-under-the-nails type of kid into a neat and tidy boy. While athletic shorts, jeans and tees are perfectly acceptable for his days playing at preschool or evening play dates with neighborhood kids, this type of attire is often too messy-looking for a more gentleman-like style. Whether you need to dress your son up in a suit and tie or more casual with khaki's and a collared shirt, the key to a more groomed look is maintaining a well-cleaned image. This means that all of his "dress clothes" should stay pressed -- for as long as possible -- free from tears or holes and dirt-free. A tidy button down shirt will make your little one look like a gentleman, while a finger paint-covered version of the same thing won't.


While getting your young son to trade up his favorite character t-shirt for a much more well-styled look certainly presents its challenges, choosing a collared or button down top for your child is key to his gentleman-like image. This isn't to say you have to toss all of his less-fancy shirts. Instead, save these pieces of clothing for more casual times, substituting a more grown-up version for formal or special occasions. During the summer or warmer months, go with a short-sleeved button down or a polo-style collared shirt. When winter rolls around, you can ask your son to wear a long-sleeved button down. If the mercury tips too low for him to feel warm wearing a flimsy dress shirt, add a simple sweater over the top, allowing the well-pressed collar to sit slightly over the neck.


Jeans, nylon athletic pants, sweats and casual shorts are all no-no's when it comes to dressing your young boy like a little gentleman. Instead of going for a relaxed look, dress your child in a pair of pressed khaki's, corduroys or well-fitted dark-colored dress pants. If you have a somewhat casual event to attend in the hot summer months, you can get away with dressing your son in shorts. Avoid anything overly relaxed looking, such as gym shorts or jean versions, and have him wear a cute pair of plaid Bermuda's or dressed-up khaki shorts. You can pair these with a button down or collared shirt to make him look like a gentleman while still staying cool and comfy.


Some outfits and events require extra accessories for your son's overall look. This may mean adding a blazer, belt or tie. When accessorizing your child, make sure that all of the items fit him properly. A slouchy blazer or a super-long necktie will make him look sloppy. If your son needs to wear a tie, purchase a kids' version that is much shorter than the regular adult one. Boys and tweens who are almost adult height -- or over 5 foot 3 inches -- can wear a regular mens tie.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images