Jessie and D’Lila Combs

Socialite Kim Porter sent her 12-year-old twins, Jessie and D’Lila, off to middle school wearing the exact same wardrobe.

An photo she posted of the twins wearing grey cropped hoodies and blue plaid skirts prompted the question: at what age is it appropriate for twins to stop dressing alike?

Child experts say dressing twins alike is harmful to their emotional health and well-being because the children often lack identities of their own when they get older.

Experts say a failure to recognize the potential danger of romanticizing same-aged children is problematic.

Child expert Joan A. Friedman is both a mother of twins and a twin herself. In her book Emotionally Healthy Twins, she writes that parents are doing same-aged children a disservice by dressing them alike.

“When the longing to see twins in a romanticized way prevents parents and others from seeing them as individuals, twins feel as if they are merely playing a role in someone else’s fantasy.”

Friedman said allowing children to express their individuality through clothing choices is an important part of child development. She said children need clear boundaries between them. Dressing children alike causes those boundaries to blur.

“Clothes, like names, matter because they are an overt and symbolic representation of identity. When they are matchy-matchy, the message is not one of individuality.”

Freidman says twins who are forced to share everything often feel they have no control over their lives.

The wardrobe, Friedman explains, is part of the “identity-building process.”

At 12 years old, it’s time for Kim Porter and Sean Combs to let their twins express their individuality now before it’s too late.