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Fashion? It's just wearing me out

Annie lost her front tooth this week, so she looks kind of, well, not as cute as usual. I mean she's cute still, but it's a different kind of cute. Kind of a bare-knuckle fighter cute.

But she thinks she looks cool. This is not the first time her understanding of what looks good and what doesn't has let her down. She's been choosing her own wardrobe for the past three of her seven years, and absolutely refuses to wear anything she hasn't picked herself.

To be fair, she will listen to advice. If you say to her, 'Annie, those pink legwarmers don't really work with those green shorts, she will change'. If you tell her that patent leather shoes aren't the best accompaniment to dungarees, she will accept what you say.


Or at least she would if I said any of these things, which I don't, because as far as I'm concerned there's nothing inherently wrong with green shorts and pink legwarmers. It's only when her mother comes back from work and sees what I've let her out in that I discover that green shorts and pink legwarmers aren't favoured on the catwalks of Milan or Paris. How the hell am I supposed to know this?

The last wedding we went to, I wore the trousers of one suit and the jacket of another. I didn't discover this until half way through the meal. I turned to my wife. "Hey, look what I did, and you never noticed!"

She shook her head the way wives do, and said: "Oh I noticed alright, but we were already late so I didn't say anything."

"It's not too bad." I said. "At least they're both black."

"One's black and the other's navy."

"Really? Navy is just a posh way of saying black though, isn't it?"

She shovelled in another spoon of tiramisu and turned to talk to the person on the other side of her.

I know Annie's not the only girly girl to take control of her wardrobe early. The thing is, our school doesn't have a uniform. All the fathers think this is a great thing. They all say things like, sure, won't they be wearing a uniform long enough? But it drives the mothers crazy.


Mike, meanwhile, has spent most of the summer wearing almost nothing. He's five years old. Anytime we have to go anywhere in the car, it's a struggle to get him to put anything on. And he also decides what he will wear. Yesterday, he was wandering around naked, except for a shoelace tied around his middle.

Whatever Mike does, Conor does too. But Conor's two and has so far resisted all attempts to get him out of nappies. So when he rips off said nappy and wanders around in the altogether, it's all very fine and dandy until someone slips on a pool of urine and cracks their head on the floor. As I write this, Annie is in the drizzle outside wearing a bikini, a bobble hat, gloves, a shawl and 3D glasses. The school term is looming. I'm beginning to wish they had a uniform.