Stunning Styles for Young Fashionistas.

For the first part of their lives your children are under your full control. When they eat, where they go, what they wear. It's all up to you. Then they hit around 18 months and may begin to rebel. I'm surely not the only parent who has had to argue that a Christmas jumper, Pokemon boxer shorts and wellies are not a good combination in August, especially when you are going to a wedding.

Having said this I think it's important to give children some choices in their day to day lives but there are definitely ways to still retain some control. If they think they have control you should see fewer tantrums. You might also be surprised as your young folk demonstrate they actually have great style.

Sharing choices relating to clothing is a great way to give them some input. When they are tiny offer the choice between this dress or that one, these socks or those, this hat or that one. They still feel in control while you have offered choices where you are happy with either outcome.

When they get older they will have lots of outside influences guiding their clothing choices. Until they are old enough to make appropriate choices for each occasion, it's wise to keep a close eye on what's going into their wardrobe.

As anyone who has been shopping with teens can tell you, this can be a tricky tightrope to walk. I am very lucky in that although my older daughter leans towards black, black and more black with T-shirts and plaid being her wardrobe staple, she will still take my advice on what might be appropriate for different occasions and on the quality or fit of any potential purchase.

Of course as  she has her own income she does make independent purchases but luckily she also still enjoys coming out shopping with me or browsing the web while I'm in the room and asking my advice on much of what she buys.

What I have learned is that mostly children, even as young as 3 or 4  must be allowed to create their own style, but they must also learn to respect your opinion when it comes to when and where they wear their wear certain outfits.

You may be surprised about how even young children can look at their clothing collection with their own unique eye and put together stunning outfits you might not have considered. From about the age of 2 my eldest son had an amazing eye for fashion and I often used to ask his opinion on my outfits as well as letting him dress himself.

My 13 year old son has a very unique style but somehow it works - this is his festival outfit with harem pants, Minecraft T-shirt and bandana headgear.

Not all children are natural fashionistas thought so to avoid conflict and a visit from the fashion police it's useful to listen to their ideas then maybe suggest compromises. Maybe browse some websites to garner ideas.

You could even make a Pinterest style  and fashion board with older children. This will be helpful for  those times when you are out without them and spot clothing for them that you love. If you've spent time discussing fashion with them you will have a much better idea if that impromptu purchase will be welcomed or banished to the back of the wardrobe.

Shopping online with them next to you is by far the easiest option avoiding bored faces and demands for off-topic treats. Make sure the sites you shop on have a clear and simple returns policy of course.

If designer gear is your thing you could direct them towards sites selling designer children's clothing and help them pick out a few top notch pieces which reflect their style with a quality touch. From casual wear to smart dressy outfits many websites can be a one-sop shop for even the fussiest young fashion addicts.

Teaching children to build outfits rather than buy individual pieces which catch their eye is my top tip. Help them pick out wardrobe staples then add mix and match pieces which really reflect their personality.

Impulse buys are a nightmare -we've all been tempted by that show-stopping top or skirt (often in the sales) only to get home and find you have nothing to go with it. I've tried to teach my children (and myself) to walk away from a potentially pointless purchase. Shut the laptop lid or if you are out and about, go and have a drink or lunch, browse other items and only go back if after a while you/they still can't live without it. If it's not still there it's not meant to be yours.

Help them learn about what might be suitable for certain occasions. It seems to be a dying art so teaching them that even an interview for a Saturday job merits clean, smart clothes might just give them the edge over the competition.

Having said that don't force your son into a suit he hates. Agree together if a suit is necessary for a specific event and then chat about colour, fit, style accents and accessories giving him the opportunity to make his own decisions. Even if he only gets to express himself through his choice of tie, he will be much happier than being presented with an outfit he hates.

You might hate slogan or character T-shirts while your child loves them. Don't ban them but agree events where such clothing might be acceptable to you. Out to the park? Why not let them rock a Bob the Builder hoody with Batman joggers as long as they understand that they can't demand to wear them for Sunday lunch with the grandparents in a posh hotel. My son loves his branded gear but I largely restrict them to nightwear and underwear otherwise he would wear his fave Pikachu onesie everywhere!

Budgeting is another vital skill. My mum gave me a clothing allowance for my "fun" clothes. (She bought all my uniform and covered my basic shoe requirements.) I still remember making my first independent purchase on a trip to our nearest city with school friends in the early 80's. It was a black corduroy A-line skirt which skimmed my knees. I spotted almost identical skirts in several shops during a recent shopping trip with my children this week!

Splitting their pocket money into clothing allowance and fun money will help them learn to budget for different things which will hold them in good stead in later life.

Shopping in quality stores and reputable online sites which help them learn that although they might spend more on one quality piece then four from a "bargain" retailer, it will almost certainly look better and last longer.

Above all imagine how you would feel about someone else choosing your clothes every single day. Let your young fashionistas show off their style- you might find they have such a flair that you'll end up letting them dress you!