Monday, 19 September 2011

Dressed for success...

I sometimes have to remind myself that my children are individuals living their own lives, not tiny extensions of me.  This can manifest itself in many ways. Does Eldest K really like alternative music, or just like it because it pleases me that she does? Are the girls really as passionate about dancing as I think they are, or am I living vicariously through my children?  I try not to.  I'm sure every parent tries not to. But one of the areas I really struggle to stay out of is their clothes and dress sense

I confess - I still completely control what clothes they get. I shop without them and chose for them as often as possible, and if I do need to take them with me when I make a purchase for them, I have absolute veto power. This is not a democracy, its a cheerocracy and I am the head cheerleader. They are not allowed to even walk into certain high street shops.  The little two obviously don’t have a problem with this. I wave clothes in their general direction of E and she almost always says yes. G clearly has no say, and to be quite frank she is the best dressed kid around as she is wearing about 5 different family’s designer hand-me-downs. But Eldest K is almost 8, and is starting to rebel in this regard. She is, how dare she, starting to attempt to have her own style, and is *sob* beginning to head off into the god-awful pre-teen section where clothes for mini-teenagers live. Fortunately, being an old soul at heart, she tends to emerge out with the least fashionable item in the room. Here she is in her most treasured possession - her "Jane Bank's" coat – right out of 1908.

But here's where it really goes wrong. I let them dress themselves. This isn't a problem with K, but Middle E - oh my word. Clueless - just clueless. She clearly inherited this from her father who had no idea that you couldn't wear stripes and checks when I met him (for real) and considers all colours a variation of khaki. E puts together the most horrendous combinations - they terrify me.  She has a pair of red leggings with white stars on them. I think she chose them herself – I can’t imagine I had anything to do with their purchase.  But these crimes of fashion are not the end of the story – she likes to wear them with fuschia or orange.  It’s terrible.  She layers clothes too, so she’ll wear leggings with a skirt over them, with a long sleeved t-shirt and then a short-sleeved T-shirt on top of it. And these will be yellow, light blue, stripey and purple, or the like. She’ll probably throw in a pair of red socks, a lilac head band and her bright pink crocs. And be sooooo proud of herself.

(I apologise for the poor quality of the photo - but this outfit takes some beating)

Now around the house that is fine (well it’s not really, but I tolerate it), but I have major problems going out with her dressed like that.  People will see... Its not a problem having the child dressed like a relic of the 1950s, this is vaguely trendy. I'm also not ashamed of the one in cast offs - she always gets complimented ("Where did you get that gorgeous outfit for G?" "Laura" "What - Laura Ashley?" "No - Laura standing next to you"). But I do get a bit funny about E in the layers from hell. What will the good mothers say? Their kids will be perfectly colour co-ordinated in pastels and their corresponding darker colour. They will look like they just walked out of a Pumpkin Patch catalogue. My child looks like she just walked out of an episode of Britian’s worst dressed children sponsored by Primark.  But them I look closer and notice most of them don't really look that good after all.  The boys are all in Ben 10 outfits, K's friends are in Justin Bieber or Hello Kitty tops and E's contemporaries are all filthy - whether they dressed themselves or their mother's dressed them.  Nothing says 4 and a half like egg on your dress and tomato soup in your hair...

And then I look at what I'm wearing, which is pretty awful most of the time. Even if they aren't embarrassed by me yet, I'm sure they will be in the future (Which is your mum? The one in the Pearl Jam t-shirt and woolen poncho? Nice one), so I guess I should let E get her shots in while she can...


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