kids

"They change outfits 3 times a day": 8 things you know to be true if your kid's into fashion.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Barbie

You really do notice them right away.              

In their tutus and tights.

Over-sized accessories.

They’re adorned in glitter and sporting at least one bag/toy/bubble wand/prop.

It’s the expressive kids that are really into fashion. Like, really into fashion. And accessories. Creative, spirited, independent, iconically stylish. Call them what you like. They radiate sunshine and deep-down you wish you had the confidence to even attempt to pull off one of their 'looks'.

If you’re the parent of a truly fashion-obsessed child, here are the 8 things you’ll no doubt relate to.

1. They change outfits 3 times a day. Minimum.

Just like her Barbie dolls, my tiny fashionista is never in one look for long. 

It’s not uncommon in our house to have a breakfast outfit, a quick change for quiet time and then crack open the dress-up box for a trip to the park (well, you never know who you might see from pre-school there). Bonus points if she can match her toys to her ‘fit, and with the Barbie Fashionistas that just got easier. 

The Fashionista range celebrates diversity with a wide variety of skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types and fashions. The dolls are designed to reflect the world kids like my daughter see today – and their attention-grabbing outfits help them stand out too.

Barbie dolls and playsets fall into the category of ‘open-ended toys’: a real staple if you want to nurture creativity in your child. Talking to our daughter when she's playing with Barbie about her ideas and encouraging her to describe how Barbie's feeling (or how she feels) about Barbie's latest storylines and accomplishments has been game-changers in fostering her self-expression.

These are toys that can be used in multiple ways for multiple purposes and therefore encourage imaginative play and creativity.

Image: Supplied.

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2. Anything involving a uniform requires UN-level negotiations.

Sports, ballet, family photos... anything that encroaches on her opportunity for self expression, particularly uniforms, have been requiring an added layer of negotiations in our house. With the volume of compromised agreements and "harmonising" in our house, you'd think my daughter worked for the United Nations.

Hot tip: I've learnt to rebrand my daughter's uniforms as “costumes” and encourage her to add an accessory, to help add a bit of "her" to the ensemble. It's guaranteed to stand out at soccer.

Image: Supplied.

3. Anyone can be a trendsetter.

When we accidentally moved across the street from a construction site, what I was seeing was constant disruption and chaos. What my daughter saw was the perfect shade of fluro yellow, with the construction folk appointed as her fashion muses.

We definitely encourage her creativity and self-expression through play in our house. So, soon enough, a tiny safety vest from our dress-up box was promoted into high rotation to her wardrobe (paired with a tutu, Birkenstocks and cat tights, of course). 

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Apart from our encouragement, she's taking that inspo from her Barbie EXTRA

This new range of dolls are on the NEXT LEVEL with bold fashion choices and over-the-top personalities. They embody everything fun – glitter, gummy bears, emojis, bright colours and shimmer. Everything my daughter lives for. 

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When she's playing with her Barbies, I tend to ask her questions like, "how do you think she'd like to celebrate her birthday party? Why is she driving that fire engine today? What's she up to for Christmas? Is there story behind her blue hair?"

I'm obsessed with the stories she comes up with. It encourages our daughter to express her ideas and make micro "decisions" about her Barbies and their backstories, while nurturing her creativity, verbal proficiency and imagination power.

Plus, listening intently on my end is a big part of it too! Actively listening and sharing in her excitement when hearing about her latest muse's style choices, 17 dogs' names or jet-setting plans (can I come too?) makes the world of difference in spurring on her creativity.

Barbie EXTRA really celebrates unique style, self-expression and fashion fantasy play, by showing our kids that anyone can be a trendsetter… even the construction worker across the street.

4. You’ll go to the bathroom at 4am only to find them fully dressed for the day.

I guess when you’re that excited about your outfit, it’s hard to stay... asleep. 

Even though it makes for an early start, I love seeing how proud she is of herself; taking on this Big Girl Responsibility and starting her day, her way. 

To help us get a little more sleep, we set her up with a water bottle, snacks, books and her drawing things. Giving her books that show characters expressing themselves in various ways is a handy idea to nurture her own self-expression. Plus, having plenty of pens, paper and craft supplies in each means she’s learning to channel her creative energy in a productive way when inspiration strikes.

And I get to go back to channeling my energy into being asleep.

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5. Self-expression is more than just clothing.

Yes, food-outfit coordination is a thing. But everything from lunchbox combinations to pizza is an opportunity for personalisation and creativity. Giving her plenty of space to make decisions, play, and reflect on her discoveries has definitely kicked her self-expression up a notch.

Just like her beloved Barbie EXTRA dolls, “more is more” is the mantra of my expressive child.

Image: Supplied.

6. They invent new characters faster than Grey’s Anatomy.

Every day, we’re introduced to a new persona. 

Whether it’s an original creation, emulating a character she loves or a delightful off-brand miss-mash of any two people she watches or reads about.

Every persona requires a specific outfit… and hairstyle. And don’t even think about trying to address her by anything other than today’s character’s name.

7. Book Week goes for... a month.

Book Week equals the greatest time in the year for my daughter, given she asks me at least once a week, “is today dress-up day?”. 

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Yes, Book Week involves a level of coordination I previously didn’t know I had, but I love how we can collaborate on costumes and ideas together. She's a creative powerhouse at only a few years old.

Now, if we could just “collaborate” on the laundry…

8. It’s always the right time for an accessory.

Rain or shine, school or Bunnings, a tiara is always an option. Or a hat. Or a bag. Or a wand.

Image: Supplied.

The key to a good accessory is that it must not be practical. At all. If it’s a bag, the bag must be filled with 16 stones, 4 twigs, 1 plastic animal and 2 sultanas.

Do not for even one second try to put useful items like: a water bottle, hat, sunglasses or tissues in the bag. All these items must be carried by the parent, preferably in one hand.

Anything can be an accessory when you are creative: an empty toilet roll on a ribbon is a necklace, a scrunchie is a bracelet, but my personal favorite fashionista moment was when she looped Christmas decorations over her ears... as chic earrings.

We want to know about your fashion-obsessed kid. What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Inspire kids to celebrate their own unique style. Shop the Barbie FashionistasBarbie EXTRA and more dolls & playsets now.

Feature image: Supplied/Mamamia.

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