Mel Wilson gives her view on Clothing Children by answering 5 questions.
1. As a woman and a mum you fill a variety of roles everyday. Can you describe some of those roles?
Aside from providing endless rounds of cuddles and listening to both tales of joy and woe, my primary job is chief organiser. Making sure everyone is where they should be at the right time, with the right gear! In between times I'm the laundress, chef, cleaner, chauffer and birthday cake baker. I also work for the National Child Cancer Network looking at ways to improve consistency and quality in national service delivery.
2. Who is in your family?
My husband Paul who does a weekly commute between Auckland and Wellington, three beautiful blonde girls (Eliza 10, Violet 6.5 & Olympia 4) each with their own unique outlook on life and one very sensible nearly 13 year old son (Oliver).
3. What is important to you about the clothes your children wear? Does your philosophy, approach to life or ethical choices affect your children's clothing?
I love clothing and fashion - your hair, makeup, clothing and shoes are an important way of telling the world a little bit about yourself. I like the children's clothing to set off their personalities to make them feel secure, unique and cared for. I think its important for children to develop a strong sense of self so they can become confident in the decisions they make and the lifestyles they choose - clothing can be one way to make yourself feel special and in control. Setting out for the day in a piece of clothing, hair tie, or whole outfit that they love can help put a smile on a child's face and heart.
4. How do you approach the following factors when making decisions in clothing your children? * when to replace clothing * where you go to find or buy clothes * how much money to spend * issues to checkout while choosing their clothes * what the child wants and like * your own personal taste * any other factors.
I've got more strategic about buying kids clothes over time. I used to be a magpie who collected gorgeous pieces with very little thought of what else they had in their wardrobe. These days I try and set each child up with a couple of outfits at the beginning of each season that they have helped to chose and love.
I've stopped buying sale items for ‘next summer’ as it is too hit and miss from a size and need point of view. I’ve also stopped accepting hand-me-downs unless the children really need them on top of what they already have.
Kids aren’t always great at making decisions and I have found that limiting choices to some favourite outfits speeds things up and gets rid of a whole lot of clutter.
5. From your experience, what tips would you give a mum grappling with clothing her children?
- Buy things your kids like, not things you like.
- Let them try before you buy - once they're big enough to talk they're big enough to tell you if it's too itchy, too tight or the wrong colour!
- Lightly stock their wardrobes - if its at the bottom of the drawer or the back of the closet it never gets warn. You're better off with a few love love outfits than hundreds of items in a wardrobe. This might mean turning down hand-me-downs and sale items you just don't need so you don't get to the end of the season with clothing that has never been worn.
- Think about outfits for your kids not individual pieces. Try and get the pieces in your kids wardrobe to work together - tops and bottoms that intermatch means little ones can grab pieces that will go together no matter what.
- Put away uneeded clothes at the end of each season. Keep closets uncluttered by boxing up winter woollies during summer!