A mummy make-over, kid style
Would you let your little one run riot in your wardrobe? Claire Spreadbury did just that – and then had to wear the consequences
I LIKE fashion. There isn't much I enjoy more than a proper shopping spree, taking time to browse and try on the latest trends – well, some of them. But being a mum, I only find the time to do that about once a year, and if the kids are in tow, I'd rather give it a miss.
There seems to be loads of new surveys 'mummy-bashing' our fashion credentials. According to the #StyleHasNoRules campaign by Long Tall Sally, a whopping 76 per cent of women in Britain and the north admit to having zero fashion confidence.
And research compiled for Oxfam's Dressed By The Kids Day reveals more than four in 10 kids are embarrassed by their parents' fashion sense.
So, I set my seven-year-old daughter Rosie the challenge of dressing me for a week. This is how it went.
So, today is a pretty warm day and Rosie chose a stripy dress, with a teal bolero (both M&S). She did insist on blue tights (I am cold most of the time – I think she was worried about this) and chunky platform Miss KG trainers.
She also picked out my big, blue Vision Express specs ("Because they're so cool") and requested "a bit of make-up" with absolutely no lipstick. It's a little on the warm side, and I wouldn't have teamed the trainers or the cardi with this dress, but I think it works.
There was a moment of panic when Rosie was selecting today's outfit, as she paired some very skinny jeggings – the sort with no pockets that are really only made for wearing with long stuff, or by children – with a short, sparkly top: cue muffin-top-alert panic.
However, unconvinced, she moved on to a dressy midi skirt and finally decided on a lacy Next ra-ra, with a pale top from Oasis, clear tights and another pair of Miss KG platform shoes.
This girl makes good colour combo decisions!
Day three was a little tougher. Rosie is taking her job very seriously, which means deliberating and deciding on entire outfits is becoming somewhat time-consuming.
Today, she opted for a Traffic People dress, over some blue footless tights and some silver Birkenstocks, which was just about passable, until she went to town on the bling.
She plucked quite an elaborate M&S necklace off my jewellery hanger, teamed it with some sparkly, fringed, uber-dangly earrings (which I haven't worn since I had long hair as they come down to my shoulders) and a pair of specs. Pat Butcher eat your heart out.
I was instructed to wear make-up, especially blusher, and the same pink lipstick as yesterday.
Today's look feels positively casual compared with everything else so far. Some comfy Whistles trousers and a Next jumper, with the scruffiest VivoBarefoot trainers I own.
Rosie did, of course, team the whole thing with a pair of turquoise dangly earrings (thankfully smaller than yesterday's) and a giant glass ring. There was initially talk of her choosing a separate running outfit for when I drop them off at breakfast club (I usually run back as I work from home on a Monday), but that idea seemed to fall by the wayside.
I had lots of comments on today's outfit. A bit dressy for work, perhaps – last worn to a pretty formal event, if I remember correctly – but it's a goodie.
Rosie teamed a purple Leona Edmiston dress with some Irregular Choice heels and small drop earrings. I had to add a slip underneath, to bring the neckline up a little for the office, but this is probably one of her classiest choices.
The necklace is a little on the random side, however.
Now this is a fun outfit. The same Miss KG trainers made a re-appearance - something I would never team with this Oasis matching top and short skirt combo, but I really enjoyed wearing it.
The blue tights had to be washed and re-worn as well, and some funky danglies were supposed to be hanging from my ears, but I had to give them a miss as my lobes were sore from all the weighty bling already this week.
On my final day of being dressed by a seven-year-old, Rosie picked a great outfit but it didn't sit especially fabulously together. An Uttam Boutique (available from House of Fraser) top with a silk Ted Baker ra-ra skirt, footless black tights and very beautiful, old gold shoes from M&S. Bright pink Aveda lipstick was her chosen accessory today.
So, what did I learn?
I learned that it's delightful not to have to make decisions about what to wear every day. And that it's nice to make more of an effort. 'Poshing-up' to take the kids to gymnastics results in a barrage of compliments, and wearing a smart dress to work can give you an air of confidence.
Requests are now being made for me to let my other half dress me for a week, which could prove just as interesting.
Watch this space.