A Fashion Fight

I kept the girls home from picture day yesterday. The drama that ensued over what to wear became much too much; screaming and crying and clothes tossing and hysterics over matching tights to dresses to shoes.

While all of their friends were having their photos taken, my daughters sat in their room with their lunch boxes while I huffed and puffed; would have blown this place down had I been able to find the lung power.

I’d love to say that it was all them, but it wasn’t. I did my share of screaming and clothes tossing, too. I, their mother, was the ringleader of the madness; the curator of the crazy.

I feel badly about it today.

Did it matter if Soph wore the brown/green/orange polka dot tights with her navy dress? Would it have been so terrible if Grace had worn her red and white Christmas dress with the “they’re comfortable” salt water faded Keen boat shoes?

I am an easy-going mom. I let my kids have an awful lot of choices about what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do.

I’m not a “You WILL wear this!” kind of mom.

But yesterday I wanted pretty pictures of my girls in the Liberty print Petit Bateau dresses I’ve been waiting for them to fit into. I bought those dresses with images of my sweet daughters looking tres French. Lovely sophisticated little girls. The fairy tale image of what I always imagined my daughters would be…

They hate the dresses. They hate the print, despite my lessons on the history of Liberty of London. They hate the weight of the fabric and the style of the sleeves. Grace especially hates the front button placket.

I sent them off to school this morning in outfits of their choosing.

It’s a gorgeous day here, the sun shining bright for the first time in a week, and I chose not to fight the what to wear battle.

Do I need to start picking more battles for control?

Probably a good idea to create more limits.

What’s a mother to do when you realize that your parenting style has created a personality trait in your children (in my case stubborn minded fashion forward not at all French little monsters) that could potentially become a bigger problem? Fix it, right? And fast…


I have a nostalgia thing for Petit Bateau and Liberty of London, since I wore them myself as a little girl. I know that this is not bright pink and covered in ruffles, but would it have killed them to wear it for one day? Apparently, yes.

10 thoughts on “A Fashion Fight

  1. You just have to pick your battles. My youngest daughter wore purple fake Ugg boots to preschool almost every day last year, with every outfit from tank tops and shorts to her gold taffeta Christmas dress. We live in Arizona, so you can imagine. Now she’s in kindergarten, and has to wear a uniform to school every day and the fake Uggs have been thrown away.

    1. You are right! I really wanted to win that battle yesterday, but in retrospect I guess I could have let it slide. Live & learn… but Grrrrrr! Thanks for the comment Kara!

  2. Ahhh, fashion battles…it is a lovely print and I can see why you like it. Of course the more you want them to wear the Liberty dresses, the more they will resist. Independence is a wonderful thing, most of the time. 🙂 As you know, Miss K started dressing herself early and there were many days when I wanted to wear a badge that said “Don’t ask me…she dresses herself!” I realized that for events like picture day, we had to begin a few days early and talk about what she might like to wear. With the pretense of making sure outfits were laundered, I would have her pick 2 or 3 outfits. Sometimes I could suggest something also, and then I could decide if I could live with her choices or if I had some wiggle room to suggest other minor changes or additions (a sweater over a sleeveless dress in late October). By the morning of the event, we had worked out the issues in a non-pressured environment and the choice had been made…all that was left was the dressing (another story). You’d have to check with her to see if I’m remembering this correctly or if this is just my revisionist history. The happy news is that we shop together now on a regular basis, she has a great sense of what works (on both of us), and she looks fabulous (although I have raised an eyebrow or two over some of her outfits).

  3. I was a “you will wear this”, mom for picture day and what do I have to show for it…20 formal pictures of my boys in argyle sweater vests, khaki pants, and white polo shirts. Does that reflect their personality at the time…no! Do they all have “sweater vest” issues now? YES! Not to mention I put them in matching sweater vests for holidays and special occasions. If I could do it over Zeb would be in his bug shirts, Griffin in his various costumes, and Wyatt in his “revisible(reversible) nylon basketball outfits.

    1. LOVE! We are going to another school for makeup picture day and decision made…I’m letting them wear whatever they want! 🙂

  4. Dear Martha,
    You are not alone and have learned a great lesson in parenthood. However, after 18 years of parenting I still make these little comments that set off at least one teenager in my house on a pretty regular basis.
    My advice for what it is worth… choose a school with uniforms- it has been the best thing for our teenagers- especially where girl drama is involved. Keep exposing them to your style and beautiful, quality clothing. They do come around… JG is now the best dressed in our house thanks to his precious girlfriend who has great tasting in clothing and wonderful & practical sense of style.

  5. My oldest did not have any wardrobe issues and I felt blessed when I heard parents complain about theirs. Up until last year (1st grade) I picked out every singe outfit for her every single day–and never once a complaint. This summer we stayed in pajamas well into the mid morning when my husband had a day off. He told her to get dressed. She put on a Polar Bear sweater (it was July) with mismatched plaid shorts. I realized, “Oh no–she’s almost seven and doesn’t know how to put together outfits!” She picks out all her outfits now and it’s hard sometimes. Today she wore this white shirt with iron on transfers that didn’t fully get on the shirt and these old jeans that are starting to get a hole in them. But oh well.

    I have a more neurotic issue with hair. My mom didn’t do much with my hair (I had an ugly 80’s bowl cut) and was very tomboyish because she struggled to do little gir’s hair. I was always jealous of the girls with braids, buns, and ribbons. I spend a lot of time on my little girl’s hair, but trying to teach the seven year old some simple things like how to do a ponytail (which I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t learn to do until 9th grade).

  6. Hi Martha, I think ( change that to know) I have lost the battle with dressing my 3 girls who are 13, 11 and 7, now I have handed over to them, and guess what! great style is emerging, I even ask them now if things look good on me, and I value their comments. Let them explore with clothes and you may just have style rookies in the making. I would love you to check out my blog ( coming soon) it will be about my life and my girls. I love your blog it’s my morning coffee read, and I too am a twin.

    1. What a lovely comment… Thank you!

      What a lucky lady you are… a twin and a mom of 3 girls! Keep me posted for when your blog is up and running. Can’t wait to read it!

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