I've always been more of a "sticks and leaves" type of fashion person, wearing Earth tones, suede sandals, torn-up jeans, and minimal makeup, so when I got pregnant with my second, I wasn't expecting to birth a little fashionista.
My daughter is very particular about the clothes that go on her body. When our friends pass on hand-me-downs to us, she always has an opinion, and it's typically different than mine. I go for functional, soft styles that fit within my world of boho-hippie-magic vibes, so sometimes, following what I'd wear, I move an exceptionally frilly dress over to the donate pile, which she follows up with a stomp and a "Hey! I like that!" as she grabs it and puts it back into the keep pile.
I've managed to influence some of her clothing, with feathers, moons, and Harry Potter finding their way onto some of her shirts, but they all have to have one crucial ingredient for her to accept them: glitter.
Her clothes need to sparkle just as much as she does. When we walk through shops, the glitter pulls her like a magnet: sparkly shoes, sparkly polka-dot dresses, sparkly tutus, sparkly unicorn headbands, even sparkly underwear. If it doesn't sparkle, is it even clothing?
I've had to let go of a lot of control when it comes to my kids, which is a good thing. I've always been able to choose what my oldest son wears because he doesn't care — half the time his shirt is inside out and backwards — but I'll admit sometimes I want my daughter to look a certain way. She has other ideas, ideas that I want to encourage, but I have to let go of some of my power to let her carry her on.
Fashion is a way for each of us to shape our identity. For our kids, it's their first steps into asserting their autonomy. They get to decide how they want to be perceived by the world. They get to show some creative expression and find out who they are and who they want to be. It's a time where they start developing their sense of self and a sense of how they fit in with their peers.
It's been a great learning experience for me, acknowledging that she is her own person and that it's OK that she likes shiny, flashy things. It's difficult not to view our children as a reflection of ourselves, but honestly, I don't want her to be just like me (well, maybe a little like me). My style was shaped around insecurity. It's become a part of who I am, and I love it now, but when I was younger I dressed the way I did because my single mother couldn't afford to buy new clothes. Even moreover, wearing anything sparkly or eye-catching would make me stand out. I wanted to blend in because I knew that if I stood out, people would see that I wasn't enough. I don't want that for my daughter, so I've grown to love and embrace her wild child sass and sparkle. I want her to be assertive. I want her to stand out because that's who she is, and who she is is enough.