“ Brand: Toys of Wood Oxford / Type: Costume „
When I was young, dressing up chests were largely for girls. Boys has their chance to dress up on Halloween, or perhaps with a soldier's helmet and ammo belt, but for the most part, fancy dress was a girl's game. I have to admit though, I had more fun with a battered army helmet and gun, I never was big on high heeled shoes which I promptly fell flat on my face with or pretend evening gowns and plastic handbags. I'd have loved the pirate suit though. I always wanted to be a character that was in the heat of the action, rather than waiting on a prince. I'm really glad to see things have changed now and not only is dress up a part of most nurseries and schools, many families now keep a costume box or drawer at home as well. A box full of costumes can be one of the very best toys in the house for creative play.
A costume allows a child to take on a new persona and try out new skills in a non threatening manner. Fancy dress and role play are wonderful for developing social skills, as well as imagination and creativity. It can work wonders with children who are a bit shy, as while they might be a bit self conscious, the character they become doesn't have to be. It can also spark an interest in trying something new and different. Since receiving getting this costume, my sons have taken a new interest in pirates and I'm planning to spend the better part of this evening reading Treasure Island to them.
This costume includes trouser, top, belt, tie bandana and eye patch. I would suggest adding a cheap plastic sword or cutlass if you don't already own one ( we have several) or perhaps a toy pistol which looks right for the era. If your budget allows, a small wooden chest with tumble stones, coins or chocolate coins would be great prop as well.
My sons are both quite fussy when it comes to clothes. They have very sensitive skin, and they do have a number older costumes that they love the looks of, but just find to uncomfortable to wear more than a 15 -20 minutes at a time. Even then I will often notice scratch marks all over their skin. Both of my sons absolutely loved this costume though. My youngest fell asleep in last night after listening to pirate stories. My oldest says it is the softest most comfortable material ever - and could we get all of his clothes made out of the same stuff. In fact, they loved it so much that I ordered two more costumes from the same company to use as pyjamas. I've done well enough to keep the boys in bottoms, finding a pyjama top they would actually sleep in has proved impossible up to now, and with the cold weather, they do need something.
Thankfully, these costumes do appear to be very securely stitched ( and I checked every seam before ordering more) so I have every hope they will hold quite well for everyday use instead of the just the occasional party. They are also quite adjustable in terms of size. I chose size large 7 -9 as both of my boys are tall, I've bought far too many costumes from other companies that ran small and they prefer looser clothes. These are just a little bit long on my 5 year old but can be pulled up and held up with the belt. The length would be quite easy to adjust if you wished. They fit the oldest child, almost 9 perfectly and I expect would fit most children of age 10 or even 11 depending on build as well. In retrospect, I would have ordered the size medium, 4-6 for my youngest and the large for my oldest, as the sizes for this do seem to be spot on, but these are so adjustable there is quite a lot of room for error. I ended up ordering them each a size large again because the style I wanted (Spiderman) was only available in this size.
The Toys of Wood Oxford costumes are far and away the most comfortable in our collection, and I have no hesitation in recommending these. I would note however, that while very soft and comfortable, and perfect for indoor use, if my child were going to be wearing these to school for a fancy dress day, and spending a winter day outside for recess I would certainly want another layer underneath. The costume is adjustable enough you should have no problem fitting a thin pair of pyjama bottoms and a vest underneath. This is not a very thick fabric and not really warm enough for extended outdoor use on its own, but then none of the store bought costumes are.
I was given this costume in exchange for an honest review, but I did like it so much - I bought two more myself. I know Halloween is past, but I think this would make a lovely Christmas gift , especially for a child with toys like a toy pirate ship or cutlass coming. It would be grand for school fancy dress days as well. I know some schools do have pirate themed days -and many have literature days or history days. Finally this would be wonderful just to provide a bit of entertainment on long wet winter days. A sofa turned backwards to face the wall makes a good pirate ship and a treasure hunt for chocolate coins, plus perhaps the odd armed raid on the snack cupboard would brighten up the day for most young children. We even have a big crocodile puppet to stage attacks when the boys try to leave the boat.
I wouldn't forget about the girls either. Even if they have a chest full of princess dresses, it can be fun trying on a completely different role. Just tell them the story of Grace O Malley - The Pirate Queen of Connemara, and perhaps you can add one of the princess crowns to this costume. It's a fascinating story at any rate, and their are a few other women pirates in history as well ( but their stories are nowhere near as interesting).