My daughter has loved fashion since she was tiny and has always enjoyed a flick through the Next Directory or a wander round the shop looking at clothes. But since Christmas, she has stepped it up a level. She’s really got into shopping.
I enjoyed shopping as a teenager and before I had kids, but it’s a long time since I’ve been to shops for anything more than purely functional reasons. But my daughter has requested to go shopping a number of times over the last couple of months and I’ve been able to see the excitement of shopping through a child’s eyes.
And it’s really rather sweet.
She’s always liked Next and M&S, but has recently discovered H&M, which is more in her own price range. She’s also discovered Primark, which is somewhere I haven’t shopped regularly since she was tiny and I was broke. She’s amazed at how cheap everything is. So a shopping trip with my daughter encompasses Next, M&S, H&M and Primark. Plus Claire’s.
Oh my goodness. A person could live and die in Claire’s.
I can see why she likes it. It really is a wonderland for little girls. But it’s overwhelming. There’s so much choice. It starts with Paw Patrol stuff to hook the pre-schoolers in, then there’s lots for young kids and even stuff for young adults. But the prime customers are kids of my daughter’s age. Tweens. And the shop is full of them, poring over the merchandise, barely able to contain their excitement at the earrings, necklaces, hair accessories, phone cases and everything else.
One day we spent half an hour in there, while my daughter pondered how best to spend a Christmas voucher, while taking advantage of a buy 2 get 1 free offer. Among other things, she bought a little rubber choker, which she always wears at weekends. It is simultaneously grown up and child-like. It’s a little girl trying to be more grown up and it’s so cute it almost breaks my heart. I know this is a very small window of her life, encompassing year 6 and probably the first half of year 7, before she goes full-on trainee teenager. And I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Family and friends know she likes clothes, so she always gets plenty of vouchers for birthdays and Christmas. She used her Christmas vouchers to buy a denim skirt and a red dress in M&S. She’s been saving her money up for ages and was able to buy white jeans and a peach coloured hoodie in H&M without even denting her finances. (I only buy her necessary clothes – extra things she wants are always with her own money or as presents and she is happy with that.)
One day, we even had double trouble when we took her best friend shopping. Actually, it wasn’t double trouble, it was delightful. The two of them have been best friends since reception and have such a strong bond. It was lovely to see them sharing their shopping experience. Just days before, we’d read in one of her books about best friends wearing matching outfits and she’d been surprised.
But they went shopping with near-identical pink bows in their hair (not JoJo Bows, those things are the work of the devil) and bought another rubber choker – this one came in a set of two with a linked heart saying ‘Best friends’. That really did melt my heart. They bought the same Tshirt in Primark too – although at the last minute my daughter swapped the black one for the white version. They both bought another black top – my daughter’s from H&M and her friend’s from Primark.
I don’t know when my daughter will have chance to wear all her clothes. But I’m loving going shopping with her and I hope it’s something we can continue to do even when she’s a big grammar school girl.