"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot." (Aldo Leopold) Apparently, I cannot.

Letting Punky Brewster Be


Making coloring look good!

Making coloring look good!

Belle is quite the little fashionista. Always has been. The girl has been dressing herself since she could put on her clothes all by herself. And even before that she was picking out her own outfits, often giving me looks reserved for angsty teenagers who hate their parents if I offered her anything less than highly fashionable.

Boots wit da fur

Boots wit da fur (with leggings rolled up and leg warmers)

My mom says I was like this when I was little. When recounting stories of my outfit choices, she always refers to my “Punky Brewster” look. Growing up in the 80s, my outfits usually went something like this: rainbow something or other, a faded tshirt with some sort of animal on it, and shorts with piping along the hem. Oh, and jelly shoes. Had to have the jelly shoes. So, the girl gets it honestly. You could say fashion is in her jeans! (Heh heh.)

Although, I think for me, my fashion sense stemmed from not really caring what I was wearing–you know, just throwing stuff together (I was probably more interested in getting outside to play); for Belle, it’s just the opposite. She does care and is very deliberate with her choices.

Even baby Saurus is in awe of her style

Even baby Saurus is in awe of her style

I have to admit, it took me a little while to embrace Belle’s Punky Brewster style. I’d buy her outfits in which everything matched, you know, where all of the pieces were bought to go together–the pants with the shirt and the matching socks. I’d fill her drawers with said outfits, all the corresponding pieces together in one place, so all she would have to do was grab an outfit and go. Instead, Belle would grab pieces from two different outfits and put them together. And it wasn’t a quick or thoughtless venture either. She had to have just the right mixture. When she’d come to me with the black and white polka dot pants paired with the multicolored striped shirt, my type A personality would take over and I’d try to get her to change one of the pieces so that things matched. As you can imagine, this led to tantrums and tears.

Not afraid to try something new

Not afraid to try something new

I tried to hold my ground. After all, I was the parent and she was the child. It pained me to find her drawers completely disheveled after I folded her laundry and put everything away nicely and neatly. Plus, I had bought those polka dot pants to go with the polka dot shirt, dammit, and that’s what I wanted her to wear.

But then I had one of my first (of many many) “Aww hell!” moments. In the grand scheme of things, what did it matter what the child was wearing? At least she was wearing clothes, right? And who was I to tell my clearly budding fashionista what to wear? Heck, 9 times out of 10 she’d look better than me. (And sadly, this is still the case.)

Most recent dress-over-nightgown-over-pants look

Most recent dress-over-nightgown-over-pants look

So, I let go. I stopped buying “outfits” and instead just started buying a bunch of tops and bottoms and let her have at it. I no longer care how her clothes go into her drawers or how they come out. As long as she is happy, I’m happy.

And, I wouldn’t be surprised if 15 years from now you’ll be seeing people wearing clothes Belle has designed. Well, either that or she’ll be a teacher. Or a doctor like her daddy. Or a police officer. Or an artist. She told me the other day she wants to be all these things when she grows up.

Go for it, girl! One thing is for sure, whatever you do, you’ll be stylin. ๐Ÿ™‚

Author: Mamma Wild Thing

I'm a mamma to four little wild things and can't imagine life any other way. (Well, most days.)

15 thoughts on “Letting Punky Brewster Be

  1. I’m with Belle. I’ve never liked the matchy matchy outfits. Good for you to see the big picture and let your girl show some individuality!

  2. I really and truly wish we lived closer together. Your Belle would get along perfectly with my, um, let’s call her Ariel.

  3. Good for you for letting her develop her own style! Fitting in is highly overrated, and you’ll be very glad that she has a strong sense of personal style when she hits her teens. (I came from the Hump Day Hook Up.)

  4. she’s sweet and has style gurl!
    Thanks for hooking up at the Hump Day Hook Up

  5. I love your daughters sense of style! It’s so much fun to see kids express themselves, of course it’s easier to find it fun when it’s not your kid. My daughter use to love to combine patterns and I have to say half of the time it was cute but I too got upset sometimes when her patterns didn’t match until I decided to stop letting it bother me and realize that it’s not a reflection on my parenting. But it’s not always easy!! Thanks for a great post !

  6. My 4 year old loves to pick out her outfits but does want to look “matched” so if I tell her something doesn’t go together she will change. And my 2 year old is very good at matching, so long as the color is pink. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love this! I have a little Punky Brewster as well (though I was not clever enough to name it as such!) and at nearly 7, her outfits are still rather eclectic. I have sort of stopped noticing, although every once in awhile I’ll whisper to my husband, “We should take her picture so Grandma can see this outfit!” My poor mom is a bit more of a fashion traditionalist- ha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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