Unbrand my child!

I’ve never been particularly interested in clothing covered in branding. Not for myself and not for the boy. He’s had a couple of GAP hoodies with branding across the front, but other than that I don’t really go in for turning my child into a walking billboard. But what irks me more than branding, are children’s clothes covered in TV or film characters. It’s brand stretching at it’s most cynical.

Your kid likes this TV show? Why not advertise for us by having him walk around plastered in the stuff? Come on, we give you hours of fun for free, you owe us! Well no actually, we don’t. And producers realised long ago that the hours of ‘free’ fun could be paid for by ads. Maybe that’s why character clothing is on the increase. Traditional advertising revenues are falling with the advent of streamed TV and Internet. Whatever. Doesn’t mean I have to be part of it.

I would just like to make it clear that this is a totally personal preference. I don’t judge anyone for the clothes they choose to put their kids in. The fact you’ve got them up and dressed is a win from me! I just dislike character based clothes on my own child. And that’s fine. I’m happy to just avoid it. But that’s getting harder and harder to do. Even previously classic bastion of good quality children’s clothes, Marks and Spencer, have covered their recent children’s collections with TV and Movie collaborations.

I was looking for a plain, thin, summer hoodie for Oscar last weekend. The boy has one lovely one from Next, but I was looking for some variety. I was shocked at how little I could find that wasn’t covered in either branding or characters. And it saddened me. I mean I know the high street in Guildford isn’t the very pinnacle of choice when it comes to shopping, but it’s big enough, surely, not to have to devote any and all children’s clothing retail space to the big character names?

In the end do you know where I found a lovely, simple and well cut summer hoodie without any branding or character tie ins? Primark. I defied my own number one shopping rule and went in Primark, on a Saturday afternoon. And I found exactly what I was looking for. It almost pained me to realise my favourite brands had let me down and here was Primarni doing me a solid. I even ended up buying him the cutest pair of denim shorts and some socks too. Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Well 12 as it happens and I left pleased with my purchases. Happy ending.

Or rather, it’s really not. The hoodie has washed really badly. First wash and the fabric is incredibly bobbled. I’m gutted, but not really that shocked. It’s the reason I’ve avoided the chain in the past. You get what you pay for. And had I been looking for cheap I’m not sure I’d be as bothered. But I wasn’t, I was looking for plain, unbranded, uncovered in characters. That’s all. Is this what it comes down to?

High street chains please take note. Not all parents want to dress their children in ads for the latest blockbuster. At least while they still have a say in their children’s clothing. Who knows? If Oscar ever starts giving a hoot what he wears, I may just be eating my words!



Life with Baby Kicks

Dressing for Best

Over the Christmas holidays Oscar has shot up. And I mean SHOT up. The trousers that fitted at the end of November are suddenly two inches too short and all his adjustable waists have had to be taken out. He’s grown like a weed and right in the middle of a season too. How rude 😉 . It’s too cold for spring clothes, but is it worth buying winter wear that may only last him a short time? It’s the constant malign of parents across the land and the reason my poor child constantly lives in second hand gear!

It’s rare that he grows and the seasons change in sync, however last Autumn he did. He suddenly needed bigger clothes overnight, and it was early enough in the season to make a few new pieces worth it. I got him some jeans, a couple of tops and a gorgeous sweater from Next. This one in fact.

Super Star boys sweater Next Autumn 2014

Super Star boys sweater Next Autumn 2014

I love it so much, the colour makes his eyes seem so very blue and anyone who knows me will know stars are just my thing (I don’t know if it signifies anything but I’ve been drawn to the star shape all my adult life. I even got a star tattoo when I was 18) Anyway the point is I love this top. And I realised the other day he almost never wears it. It’s not because the weather’s not been right, or because it doesn’t fit well, it’s because it’s new (to him) and therefore kept for “best”.

But when is best? And how often is best really needed? And more to the point, how often will best come around before he ups and grows out of it? I realised I had to ask myself a question. What was I actually worried about? What would bother me more, him wearing this gorgeous jumper in ‘boring’, every day situations and it potentially getting dirty and worn, or him only wearing it a handful of times before it’s too small and can’t be worn at all? Seriously. Why buy it at all, if he’s going to get no moneys worth out of it? It’s clearly not a formal item, the kind you might keep for very special occasions such as weddings etc. Its an everyday item and was surely bought to be worn. I’m not sure where this attitude has come from. but with the speed at which he’s growing, it’s surely not one worth having?

I read an article recently written by Tim Wotton, a man with Cystic Fibrosis, who has outlived doctors expectations. He leads a full and active life, and is married with a son, despite (or maybe because of) the age expectancy of someone living with CF. It’s a great article and I urge you to read it. Tim has also written a book I’d love to read. But something he said in the article stuck with me.

I dress each day like it’s my last day on Earth, and never leave my favourite clothes in the wardrobe waiting for that special moment.

He’s so right. We never know what tomorrow holds. So even if it’s just the last day a sweater fits, I’ve decided I want to make the most of it. I’d rather see Oscar in clothes I love, at any time, than wait for a moment that never comes. So today I dressed him in his ‘best’ pair of jeans (and one of the only ones that fit properly) and let him go in the garden. They were muddy within minutes and we were off visiting this afternoon. Sigh. But so what? He’s a little boy. And he’s wearing some damn fine threads.

Actually, I think I’m going to do the same. Wedding dress party anyone?

My super, superstar

My super, superstar