How to let them win the (fashion) battles but not the war

I’ve been asked a few times to write about how I get my kids to wear what I want them to. The truth is I don’t. 

I suppose I can’t blame my girls for having such strong opinions on what they  wear. I was and still am exactly the same. They both have a very clear idea of their own style and it makes them really happy to express themselves in that way. So I let them have a (little) bit of freedom and I have to compromise. I don’t think we do too badly. I have to use different tactics for each daughter, hope you find them helpful..   

Hattie, my eldest, is the girliest of girls. She has been the fussiest and most difficult to dress as her taste is the polar opposite of mine! Since she was 2 years old she has battled with me every morning. She used to come in to my bedroom before she’d barely opened her eyes and demand, “what am I wearing?” She would then open the curtains see a spot of a blue sky (even in December) and declare, “It’s sunny. I’m wearing a pretty summer dress.”

Hattie totally self styled at the weekend in a sleeveless summer dress!

Hattie totally self styled at the weekend in a sleeveless summer dress!

Honestly, we have been known to be an hour late for pre-school purely because she couldn’t decide what to wear. The problem was that I never bought her anything that she actually liked. Everything pink or glittery was firmly off the cards, but she couldn’t stomach the muted colours and traditional shapes I chose for her. So we were at a stalemate of meltdowns and hissy fits where me being walloped in the head with some cord bloomers or an ochre cardigan was becoming the norm. Until I discovered that for Hattie, the queen of tack, buying a couple of accessories that I knew she would adore (and that were acceptable-ish to me) was a complete game changer. I found that if I let her wear a pair of sparkly Mary Janes or a sequin cross-body bag, she’d wear pretty much anything. Sometimes I might even throw  some treats inside the bag. (Mums who have never resorted to bribery, I applaud you but I will never be one of you).

1.sunglasses  2.glitter hair bow  3.bracelet cream bag  5.shopkins bag tag 6. glitter satchel 8. cat headband  9.stick on earrings  10.glitter belt pouch
It’s all about working with what they like and adjusting it to make it look a bit more Bonpoint and a bit less Lelli Kelly. So, if there is a flouncy and inappropriate “summer dress” that Hattie loves and insists on, I’ll let her wear it. Along with some ribbed tights, desert boots and chunky knit. I now shop with her taste in mind,  so often there are things I adore but I just know she won’t be happy to wear, so I don’t bother.

Now, Rose was a whole different ball game. She’s a total tom-boy. Rose loves blue, she loves dressing really comfortably in t-shirts and joggers and her favourite item of all time is her batman sweatshirt (It’s actually quite cool, don’t worry)! Anyway, there are occasions when she needs to look smarter (plus it kills me that there are so many of Hattie’s old clothes going to waste), and getting her in a dress was proving to be no mean feat. But we finally cracked it. When I potty trained Rose I took her to choose some knickers. She looked at the rows of pink Frozen pants in horror and bewilderment and went straight for the Minions and Gruffallo pants in the boys’ section. It actually really annoys me that they don’t cater for girls who don’t like princesses, so I bought the pants. She was so proud and excited about these pants that she would wear anything I put out for her, happy in the knowledge that she had a minion on her bottom. This has since expanded to socks. Ninja turtles, spiderman, you name it, Rose has got them and she loves choosing which pants and socks she’s going to wear in the mornings. Now, as I’ve mentioned before horrid socks are a bit of a thing of mine, so obviously this only works if they’re wearing boots (so they’re not on show) but it’s been an absolute godsend!  Although, Rose has been known to say she’s boiling hot in the middle of a freezing playground and strip down to her pants and socks. Just to show them off!

1.Batman top 2.Gruffalo pants 3. t shirt

I also have a rule that when we’re at home, anything goes. They have lots of fun changing into different outfits a thousand times a day. The contents of their wardrobes are often all over their bedroom floors and I still love seeing how different their little personalities are.

My mum thinks I’m cruel and says, “what does it matter? just let them wear whatever they want.” This was the tactic she took with the 4 of us growing up. My brother wore a Peter Pan costume every single day until he was 8 (no joke. Hat, green tights, the lot). Anyway, she told me that I should choose my battles with them, and shallow as it might seem, this is a battle I chose to win.

Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, some days we are more successful than others. Don’t judge if you see me in the supermarket with Spiderman and Elsa in the trolley.


The girls playing dress up at home




3 thoughts on “How to let them win the (fashion) battles but not the war

  1. Jodie Harris says:

    Love this post Sarah and your cute little girls!!! Love the minion pants for rose and the sparkly accessories for Hattie xxx


  2. Helena says:

    I love this post. You sound like such a good mum and your tips are really brilliant. S is definitely a Hattie. She is SO girly, has been beside herself over her clothes since she was 18 months old, will only wear dresses and loves all the vile polyester my husband’s mother buys her. (Which I hide until it’s forgotten then give away. Ha.) Our tastes overlap on lovely simple dresses but there have been some expensive things she just won’t. Put On. It drives me mad because I know what she looks best in. I’m going to try your tips asap! I’m not much of an accessoriser so I think I underestimated its power.


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