How children decide the clothes we wear.

The Actress Katie Holmes at the National Memor...

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Poor Katie Holmes, she can’t seem to do or say anything right can she? Most recently, she has attracted criticism and ridicule after admitting that her daughter Suri sometimes chooses her outfits. In particular she pointed out the red evening gown with blue heels that she had worn to the Met Ball that had met with some mixed reviews. Heat magazine, in particular was quite scathing of Katie, printing some unflattering pictures and saying it was quite obvious that the clothes had been chosen by a child.

But why the fuss? I think anyone with a young child would be the first to admit, that even if they don’t actually let their child choose their outfit, the fact that you have a child pretty much governs what you wear anyway. Take me for instance. Before I had Baba, I lived in a wardrobe of slim fitting pencil skirts, dresses and very high heels. I’d wear any colour that I fancied, and particularly loved reds, pinks and yellows. Flash forward to when Baba was born, and I still tried to maintain this every day. Just two weeks after Baba was born prematurely (and I had almost died in the process), I was very proud when my health visitor said that I looked so glamorous in my wrap dress and heels, just a couple of days after bringing Baba home. But maintaining this proved more difficult. Baba was constantly sick after feeds, leaving me covered with nasty looking ( and smelling) puke for most of the day. Darker colours seemed to hide this better than my favourite brights, and so black, brown and navy became staples of my wardrobe.

As Baba has got older, I still find myself dressing to suit him. In the house, jersey dresses which stretch as I change nappies and play with toys on the living room floor are more sensible than more structured clothing. Flat shoes and jeans are more sensible for running around the park than vertiginous heels that I used to live in. Chunky cardis are better for spending time outside than belted glamorous coats, whilst a cross body bag is a lifesaver when pushing a pushchair around the shops during weekdays when Hubby isn’t available. (Thank god for Cath Kidston wipe clean bags and Kipling’s all-purpose, multi pocket bags.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. For going out occasions and times when Baba is with Nanny and Grandad, the heels come back out in force. Last weekend in London, my Love Label lace ups got an airing, the new Ferragamo Kitten heels were much admired at a recent Bridesmaid dress fitting. I still swear by chandelier earrings, even in daytime with jeans, and I refuse to wear combat trousers, joggers or any other monstrosities favoured by some moms on the school run. But you do have to think carefully.

So I think Katie Holmes should be applauded for her turned up jeans and plaid shirt ensembles which she has worn lately. They are practical when looking after a child, and she still usually gets it right with brogues and sunnies.

In addition governing your wardrobe as a practicality, children do like to be involved in wardrobe choices, both their own, and yours. My Baba is a nightmare in Sainsbury’s, every time he spots a Thomas the Tank engine or Cars top, he pops it in the trolley, shouting ‘Momma, this.’ My cousin Terrianne’s little girl is Cheryl Cole obsessed, copying her dancing and clothing. I remember vividly watching my mom dress to go out when I was a child, messing with the clothing and really admiring her leather envelope clutch bag. I have spent years trying to find a similar one, to no avail.

Last year I went away with my 7 year old niece.  I let her help to choose which top I should wear each day. She plumped for the brightly coloured one each day, ignoring a navy River Island tunic I had bought with me. So it comes as no surprise that Suri Cruise chose the bright blue stilettos for her mom to wear. I can imagine Katie showing Suri the pictures from the press and saying, you helped mommy to look lovely, didn’t you. And I, for one, think that is a sweet image.

So, Heat magazine, back off Katie. You never know, you may have kids of your own one day who want you to wear the blue heels with the red dress!

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