Mall's well that ends well
New season, a new wardrobe – and Tracy has to brave the malls.
Winter has pounced, which means it’s time for… (ominous thunder and howling wolf sound effects, please)… kids’ clothes shopping. It only happens twice a year, but I need those six months in between to psych myself up.

My children have to be the most unadventurous dressers in the history of fashion.  Fussy doesn’t begin to describe it.  This applies to both offspring. Everything is too tight, too scratchy, too shiny, too frilly, too poky or too ‘uuurgh’.  Seven-year-old, pink-obsessed Layla has a cupboard full of pretty skirts and sparkly tops two sizes too small (I gave up trying two years ago). She loves fashion – but only when it happens to other people.  Only one pair of shorts ever sees the light of day, and that was a miracle as it’s denim with zips and bumpy buttons.  She really has worn them in – they’re so soft you could probably use them for toilet paper.

Notice there is no mention of brand names. We’re not the most stylish of families –we can’t tell Prada from Mr Price and wouldn’t recognize Diesel jeans if we found them eating our dinner. Our budget also stops way south of the designer label border – so even if they did want that stuff, they couldn’t have it, which does simplify matters. 

So they remain resistant to the ravenous beast that is brand-obsession.  Go them! Plus 10 points! However, it’s not on purpose. They just can’t be bothered, and prefer to be comfy. Laundry day finds Layla hanging around in pajamas while she waits for her shorts to dry, and Conor holds fast to the position that ironing is pointless when it’s ‘just going to get creased again anyway…’  He also believes that logos on shirts are evil (YOU try and find a men’s non-ugly t-shirt WITHOUT a logo on it) and that black trenchcoats really do go with everything. Not so good, minus 100 points.

Comfort and fashion are two diametrically opposed ideals. You cannot have both.  My children have made their choice.  They will be happy and comfortable, but will look like hobos. I must accept this.

So we will set off into the wilds of the local mall shortly, full of high spirits and amnesiac optimism. We will return empty-handed, frazzled, angry and still wearing the same tracksuit pants, because everything was too shiny, frilly, poky or uuurgh. 

And as for school uniforms… well, just don’t get me started.

Do you like shopping with your kids? Why on earth?

Read more by Tracy Engelbrecht

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