They say that women wear 20% of the clothes in their wardrobe 80% of the time. What they don’t say is that the same is true for small kids.
You know all those adverts with dimple-cheeked cuties wearing heather-coloured pinafores or charming lederhosen? The knickerbockers and the high-necked velveteen coats? Those winsomely hippy waistcoats, as guaranteed to be rejected firmly the moment they appear in all their patchworky charm?
Look, real kids don’t wear bandanas. Or bonnets. Or shoes that don’t come festooned either with sequins or Angry Birds. At a minimum, footwear needs to be incredibly scuffed, preferably with ‘cosy holes’ for growing toes to emerge through. Suggest that those new shoes you got last week would be a timely alternative, and you’re likely to be met with howls of misery/derision at such a lousy suggestion. In fact, you might even be accused of ‘hurting my holey shoes’ feelings,’ which would mean that you’d have to spend two minutes thinking about your behaviour on the naughty step.
A lineup of your average under five year olds’ attire is an incredibly motley homage to the limited powers of washing liquid in the face of repeated conflict with pasta sauce, the shoddy construct of all-nylon princess costumes and unswerving devotion to a couple of items that were deemed to have been outgrown quite some time ago. Accessories tend to feature heavily, and too much is never enough – the under-hat tiara and the over-hat tiara is a great look for crèche, although it’s also possible to mix it up by wearing all of one’s Big Boy Pants at once, topped off by a pair of superhero pyjamas.
Don’t forget only important criteria for trousers is the number of pockets they have (those tiny Lego pieces won’t carry themselves!), so give up on buying the cool skinny jeans and just head straight for the mini-Unabomber cargo pants. In fact, why not just tuck a few euro into their sticky hands and give them the run of the department store floor. At least that way they’ll come back with something that they’ll actually wear. Lower your expectations from ‘suitable for Mass’ to ‘covering what God gave you’ and you’ll be fine.
Jenny Coyle @missmitford