You can look beautifully groomed, but what happens when your kids’ outfit choices let you down? Fashion blogger, Kat Farmer of Doesmybumlook40, explains how to navigate the shops with your children and find clothes that both you and they like…
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing – as I bask in the memories of putting together gorgeous (matching, obviously) outfits for my gloriously compliant, small offspring.
Fast forward a year or 10 and let’s just say the wheels have well and truly fallen off that chariot of dreams. Any mother who has tried to negotiate with a football-mad son of any age over the non-wearing of sporting polyester and trainers for a vaguely smart occasion, would happily take on all Brexit negotiations as that has got to be easier. And if you’ve had the unenviable task of doing battle with a teenage daughter over anything wardrobe related, then you may as well throw in sorting world peace too as, frankly, that would be a cinch.
In all seriousness, though, it’s lovely when your children know their own minds and are confident in their personal choices. Just not when it comes to clothing. But having three children, all with their own sartorial views (which mainly consist of football kit for boys or a budget that is hilariously unrealistic – daughter), I have come up with a battle plan. And with these guidelines, you won’t need a hipflask.
First up – as insane as it sounds, online is not my preferred shopping method of choice when it comes to children. Too many distractions when you’re forcing them into a trying-on session, the dog will pee on one of the boxes and you will forget to do the returns in time. This means that your hallway will be full of enough boxes to make your husband think you’re moving house (as obviously you have to order everything in more than one size because you actually can’t quite recall what size your child is and darn that growing thing they do anyway). And you will frankly wish you’d just had a dog and not kids (except one that is better house trained than yours).
When it comes to girls and boys, the key to a successful trip is to spend as little time faffing as possible. These are valuable hours of your life you’ll never get back (hours that could be spent perusing shoe shops for yourself, which should help focus the mind).
Prong one: planning
This is a two-prong attack. Start by making a list of things that you need for them. Otherwise you will come home with 14 T-shirts and they will end up having to wear one of these (and they will choose the one you loathe to wear on repeat) with their school trousers and trainers. Your daughter, on the other hand, will spend the entire budget on a bra top and a lipstick and then ask to borrow your clothes. Make a list and do not deviate.
Prong two: low expectations
It doesn’t matter if everything comes from one place – you know it will all match, there is only one changing room to encounter plus, if you’ve chosen wisely, you can give them free reign to choose things they like as you’ve vetted the shop already. However, there will be one T-shirt that you’d rather they didn’t wear. And you can guarantee this will be their favourite.
The experience is nearly over. It’s been relatively pain-free. You’ve kept the sports shop or the expensive clothes shop as the carrot at the end of the trip. Go treat yourself to a new pair of shoes with all the money you’ve saved on therapy.
Here are five of our favourite pieces that (hopefully) you and your kids will both agree on:
1. Anorak, £22-£24, Next
2. Girls Blue 'Ciao Bella' Bardot Sweatshirt, £14, River Island
3. Checked Print Dress, £14-£16, Marks & Spencer
4. Girls Yellow Lace Button-up Cami Top, £12, River Island
5. Pure Cotton Embroidered T-Shirt, £9-£10, Marks & Spencer
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