Do you let your children choose their own clothes?

“Seriously,” whispers Bee, looking at me sceptically, “are you really going to let Belle go out like that?”

I look at her, in her pink leggings, which are just that little bit too short, gold striped knitted dress, odd socks and red shoes. It looks alright to me.

I shrug my shoulders innocently, as though it’s out of my hands. I try to make out that I’m actively enabling Belle to use her clothing to express her personality, and that I don’t want to stifle her, but neither of us are convinced.

The truth is that when it comes to kids’ clothes, or clothes generally to be honest, I’m a bit rubbish. I have no real idea of what goes and what doesn’t, and don’t naturally carry off an outfit with effortless grace and elegance, as you can see from this picture of me as a child:

Slummy Single Mummy baby pictures

See what I mean?

This is another personal favourite. I do the same cheesy grin in pretty much all my childhood photos:

baby pictures

It’s a miracle really that either of my children have any sense of colour or style at all, but poor Belle seems to have been dealt the weakest hand. Lucky for both of us that we have Bee to keep us in check.

Bee came downstairs one morning recently and literally stopped in her tracks. I smiled, thinking she must be speechless with awe and envy in the face of my amazing combination of accessories. I was particularly pleased with the large flower on my headband.

She shook her head, appalled.

“I can’t say anything,” she said. “It’s all just too silly, I don’t know where to start.”

I felt momentarily dejected, but I’m used to Bee’s ‘no offence but…’ statements, and tried not to let it bother me.

I do think though that at nine years old, Belle should have the freedom to choose what she wears. Clothes are an important part of developing your own identity, even if that identity is ‘slightly grubby looking child who’s been wearing the same cardigan all week’. It’s part of growing up isn’t it? Learning about yourself, what suits you, what makes you feel good?

What do you think? Do you let your kids choose their own clothes, or is the potential bullying risk just too high?



  1. 10 December, 2011 / 5:11 pm

    I have said it before, I don’t have kids, so I’m not really your target demographic. I so love your writing that I just have to stop in and check on you, Bee, and Belle. (Note: I’ve recently decided I a pro Oxford comma. It makes me giddy each time I get to use one.) I love the photos…especially the cheesy grin.

    I would probably let my children choose their clothes, though it is also possible I would attempt to steer them towards sporting gear with the logos of my favorite sports teams garishly emblazoned across them. I think it is best that I haven’t reproduced. :-)

  2. 10 December, 2011 / 5:54 pm

    Wonderful! It sounds like I have the same amount of fashion sense that you do. I find it hard enough to pick out my own outfits without looking slightly homeless. I am lucky to have two boys – it is hard to go wrong with jeans and a striped shirt. At least I think so…
    I say let your kids pick out their own outfits and if teasing becomes a problem then do what you can guide them towards more “appropriate” attire.

  3. Karin Hall
    12 December, 2011 / 9:08 am

    Hah, I only have a two year old, but this one has a strong mind! I am very lucky if I’m not told in the morning what she wants to wear. Usually it is “Mami, I want to be a pretty girl, that dress there!”, or “No Mami, not these trousers, I want these ones!” In order to avoid any shouting matches first thing in the morning, she does choose her clothes herself quite a lot, and yes, why not?! There are things I don’t like to wear, and I wouldn’t like anybody tell me that I have to :-)
    As long as they are appropriate for the weather, I don’t mind, and she is much happier that way.
    Love the pictures by the way!

  4. 13 December, 2011 / 9:43 am

    Ha! Ha! love your pictures, oh you look so cute with that Gorgeous grin, not to mention your outfits lol
    I can see why someone would question your choice of outfits for Belle (above would suggest am right!) Only joking x
    Know i think you should let them have there own mind, within reason.
    After all, as they grow they will choose what they want to wear, and decide their own style, which makes them the person they want to be in life.
    As long as they have that independence to make choices now, i think it makes them start to grow and be more independent person in the future.

  5. 13 December, 2011 / 9:33 pm

    yes, whenever he is with me out shopping…..and luckily being only 5 he tends to choose either skateboard designs or bob the builder types!
    HE has recently (through school I think) acquired a nasty habit of pulling his trousers down half-mast, like rappers do!

    • 16 December, 2011 / 12:12 pm

      Oh no really??! Already! Gross. I really hate that – a sure sign of my age :-)

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