Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fashion Guru

Children, I read, are hogging appointments with personal shoppers at posh department stores because their mothers are too busy to keep abreast of the latest wardrobe must-haves.

Now I frequently fear that, when it comes to motherhood, I'm a failure. I rush to check my blog stats before I greet my children. I shout at them when they're obtuse about decimals and supper is often a panicked improvisation with the Vicar's breakfast leftovers.

But deficient as I am, my daughter does have a personal shopper. Me. And I am expert in the latest wardrobe must-haves. In winter I am tireless in my pursuit of insulating thermals. I steer her knowledgeably away from kitten heels in Barratts to the supportive rubber soles of Clarks. I can sniff out a polyknit from a hundred yards and my sartorial savvy allows me to guage, at a glance, the most durable pyjamas and the most washable wools.

But does my ten-year-old appreciate this personal service that unluckier children have to pay for? Not a bit! Her uninformed eye is distracted by leopard-print wisps and confections of spangles that would be murdered on a hot cycle. She teeters on metal studded heels in New Look and lusts after £40 T-shirts in Hollister that can be got for a fiver in Marks.

Her childish ignorance confirms just how vital is the expertise of a seasoned pro like me and I am therefore relieved that juvenile demand for personal shoppers has doubled in the last twelve months.

As I fold the sensible knickers from an M&S multi-pack, I can feel the dismay of my watching daughter. But when she hears that personal shoppers are the latest wardrobe must-have I know she'll thrilled to realise that, for once in my life, I've started a trend!

What do you think about parents recruiting personal shoppers so their offspring can keep abreast of fashions? Would you let yours do it?

16 comments:

  1. My teenaged daughter manages to dismiss me as an old hag with no taste while simultaneously stealing half my stuff. It is a skill.

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    1. I feel offended that my 10yo never steals my stuff - except a pair of Moment of Madness boots and a black cardie!

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  2. My middle child sounds like she would get on famously with your daughter! She is like a magpie when it comes to sparkly glitz, leopard print and cheap & nasty fake fur anything!

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    1. I don't ever remember going through that phase. Grew up in the same denim dungarees as my brother until I left home.

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  3. I think it is possibly one of the saddest things I've heard in a long time. The death of childhood, surely.

    Or am I just old-fashioned? Is shopping so much a part of life now, that getting a personal shopper is just the equivalent of getting a piano teacher, or a tennis coach. In fact, do they offer shopping classes for kids these days?

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    1. I agree with you entirely. I've noticed in our own school that parents feel compelled to buy their kids the latest designer labels when pressurised by the flummery of others and that children as young as five have decided ideas on what's cool and what's not. The pampered pooch section of Harrods was bad enough. This is worse.

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  4. Personal shoppers for children - no, no, no, no .... when is armageddon due to happen? - maybe then, we could all start over? And no, Little A will never have a personal shopper - she will make do, as I do, with family friendly M&S! X.

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    1. I've never even approved of personal shoppers for adults. Smacks of a self-indulgence which offends my puritan instincts. Buy something you like then wear it until either it or you disintergrates is my mantra.

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  5. The Unicef study that declared us to be a woeful lot in terms of how we raise our kids, makes a great deal out of our misdirected addiction to buying our kids as much stuff as possible and the damage it does. Without sounding to Daily Mail about it - and you and I share a mutual loathing of that publication - for kids to be kids we need parents to be parents (I paraphrase Reg Bailey of the Mother's Union). My daughter is 4 and I'm not yet subjected to allthis stuff but I dread the moment I am and will be looking to my fellow bloggers for help! Great writing and great topic, as always....

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  6. Thank you. I wish I could say I loathe the Mail but I find it strangely compelling over a pub lunch on a Monday!

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  7. As an older mother with friends who have daughters a few years older than mine - I haven't actually started shopping for clothes yet. My daughter is 4 and still thinks clothes come in bags from friends. But so as not to feel left out, I have encouraged her to fight me every step of the way over new shoes.

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    1. It's a very sensible strategy for you both to practise warfare techniques so that you're fully prepared for puberty. Which, as I said, starts at around seven these days!

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  8. Heavens! I'm having a panic attack. My 16 month old daughter already prefers one coat over another. And your comment about wishing you could loathe the Mail made me laugh. I've stopped buying it, but then secretly read the ages on end. :-)

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    1. So do a fair few of my Guardian colleagues, as far as I know. For research, of course!

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  9. Personal shopper for children? Ghastly notion. My boys (8 and 6) struggle to enter a clothes shop unless there is a haribo trail on the floor for them to follow...I realise this must be a very different experience for those of you with daughters, one that I envy as I gaze wistfully at the racks of pretty dresses. But then I reckon they don't want to wear pretty dresses these days? (anon rach).

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    1. I was like your sons until I was around 35, much to the despair of my fashionable mother. And I still tend to consider clothes shopping, like chocolate filching, a weakness tat should be done in guilty secrecy as rarely as possible!

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