What does how we dress out babes say about us?

Do we iron each tiny outfit before we leave the house, or do we settle for something that’s (only) stained with milk?

Do we tell them what to wear? And why?

Is it somehow a reflection of what kind of mother we are – what our children put on their backs?

Do we think everyone around us is judging us, marking the scorecard of our motherhood based on the fashion quotient of those little people in our care?

I remember reading once that our wardrobes are filled with “myths, memories and meanings”. (This is why it can be so hard to clean them out and let go of the dozens of things we’ve never worn in years.)

The truth is we don’t dress ourselves just for practicality. We dress to impress, to express, to lift our spirits, to fit in and to stand out.

It stands to reason, we might do this for our children too, without even thinking.

girls fashion party dresses

So how much value do we place on what they want to wear?

If style is a critical form of self-expression, where do we draw the line before we find ourselves treating our children like dolls to dress up as we will?

The “sweet spot” of balance between letting them call the shots and us giving them a few pointers on what might look better (we think) or serve them better for climbing trees…

When my Elder Babe demands to wear a backless number and it’s a blizzard outside I’ll “suggest” under-layers with all the maternal defiance I can muster.

But when she carefully selects an “outfit” that really resembles a dyslexic rainbow, what can I do? She thinks she looks a million bucks.

Reminds me of little 4 year old me.

I wouldn’t listen to the desperate cajoling or hushed mocking of anyone around me, and neither will my little fashionista.

If being stylish is walking the fine line between “on point” and “over the top”, this kid’s gotta stellar career ahead of her.

girls fashion party dresses

I really don’t know what to say to her.

My sense of “style” is far from infallible. Courtesy of early motherhood, I frequently don the same day-to-night get up for 48 hours straight. Who am I to guide her?

I have to say, she might already be ahead of me.

Fashion is a dialog between current trends and those flogging them. So it evolves and reinvents itself based on who’s playing the game.

And it feels odd to be exchanging these ideas and learning from a little child. It can make you feel even younger and more inexperienced than them.

I guess it’s like all the other bits of becoming a mother. Everything you thought you knew is shaken, challenged…

You realise yours isn’t the only way. Maybe up until now it was a pretty lame way to do and see things. It feels like you’re back at square one on a daily basis, and you’re constantly questioning yourself.

Ah, even if we all end up dressed like drag queens, at least we’ll be close enough to laugh our heads off when we look in the mirror.