Dealing with a fussy Dresser


My daughter was 2 when she started being “funny” with clothes.

It all started over a pair of jeans, they were a little small for her and made her uncomfortable, then all jeans were branded unwearable and CC has never worn a pair since.


I loved dressing up my baby girl, buying her cute outfits and lovingly selecting what she would wear each day. So, I continued to offer up different outfit suggestions every morning, resulting in daily tantrums … from both of us.

It then progressed to anything with buttons, then zips, then “rough material”. No long socks/tights, no cuffs and no collars – we were left with very little that CC would actually wear.

We got used to it though, anything for an easy life, right? I had sourced clothes that she would wear – soft cotton leggings and t-shirts/dresses (no waistbands) from H and M or Marks and Spencer’s. I have wasted so much money over the years buying clothes, cutting the labels out (no tags or labels allowed) for them to be thrown across the room. The amount of brand-new clothes I have had to give away is crazy!


I had let go of the fact my daughter wasn’t going to be wearing the latest fashions, no cute dresses and tights in return for her being happy. If she put on something, she didn’t like the feeling that we would get a full-blown meltdown. She would freak out! This was more than a basic child tantrum, she would trash the room, make herself sick and pretty much turn into the devil. So, if she had to wear over-sized faded leggings and a mismatch tee to avoid that situation, I was all for it.


Sometimes I think there must be some kind of sensory thing going on, but then other times I think she’s just playing up. There just doesn’t seem to be any consistency to the whole thing – something that was annoying her this morning she will wear this evening without any fuss.

For example, one morning, her leggings were annoying her. She had them rolled up over her knees with her socks pulled up, and they were rather ridiculous looking, but I said nothing. When we got to the nursery, she put them back down without a word. When I collected her that afternoon, she came out with them rolled up again, which I again ignored. At some point, she put them back down again, and that evening there wasn’t any problem with them. It is not just in the mornings either, she can suddenly start saying something is annoying her when we’re out for a walk, in the shops, in the car, etc., for no apparent reason.


My mum always comments on how unkept she looks and doesn’t believe me when I say it’s impossible to get her to wear anything else. “She wouldn’t have a choice with me.” She replies. I would get the “what is she wearing?!” from my sister, which I learnt to ignore. “She’s so pretty, why don’t you dress her like a girl…” I’ve heard it all.


I am at a loss to understand it. If it is just attention seeking I can’t see why CC is doing it as she really doesn’t get attention from it, she gets half an hour of exclusive time (time just for her) with me every day. I always sit with her for a few minutes at bedtime too, which she loves. I don’t insist on her wearing anything in particular, I give her lots of praise when she’s good and tries to ignore as much of the bad as possible.

CC started school last year, and I began to panic at the idea of a school uniform. I thought I would play it safe and got some hand me down pinafores and summer dresses to try, I didn’t want to buy a full new uniform for her to reject it. They needed to be baggy for her to wear, and soft and with no tags, …she was happy to wear them! Yes!

We bought some of the school jumpers and cardigans, but they have never been worn a year on. CC says they are “too comfy” (what does that even mean?) and with us rushing in the morning for drop off I don’t have time to argue. A few times though we have been late because she has had a meltdown, probably because I suggested tights instead of ankle socks when its been minus degrees outside. How dare I try and keep her warm!


Overall, I’ve had it pretty sussed with what she will and won’t wear the last 4 years. There have been some significant blowouts, but there could have been a lot more.

Since lockdown things have changed, Cc won’t wear anything…

OK, maybe a slight exaggeration as she will wear this t-shirt dress, but that is it.

The fact she doesn’t have to go outside just now seems to have her thinking she can wear her favourite nightie all day every day.

She won’t wear the old leggings; I even took her to a big Tesco to get some more. We did, we took them home, cut out the tags, and she refused them. I spent 30 pounds on leggings to just cut the tags off and put in the cupboard.

GRRRRRRRR, to say I was angry was an understatement, she doesn’t understand money yet, so it was no big deal to her.

As there isn’t much need for her to venture out, there hasn’t been many clothes arguments.
That brings us to today.

CC was wanting to go out on her bike with her dad, all fine. It’s a bit colder today in Scotland, and my husband insisted she wears her leggings and a coat. Well, that was that.


CC flew into a full meltdown, angry because she wanted to go out on her bike and frustrated that she had to wear clothes to do it. She trashed her room, breaking a few things, she spits all over the floor, pretending she had been sick and was screaming stuff you never want to hear a 6-year-old say. My husband had had enough, so he shut the door and left her to it.

We aim to support our children when they have emotional overloads. Still, my husband just couldn’t pander to it anymore today, he was over it.


CC came through and said sorry, and DH accepted. He asked her to now put on her clothes, again she refused. DH then said she had to stay in her room as he was so hurt and upset by all of this. CC headed back to her room and didn’t come out for 2 hours…man she is stubborn.

When she came out of the room, she was wearing leggings, and a jumper…he had won!

We don’t often use tough love, but sometimes it’s needed.

Tough love is not about being rude or alienating friends or loved ones. However, when people we care about engage in unsafe habits or practices, it often becomes necessary to remove certain conveniences for them to change. Some people mistakenly believe that tough love only affects the people who are being restricted. This is not the case. In fact, tough love can be just as hard on the person giving it as the one who is receiving it.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. If this was a one-off or a change in the process. I will have to wait and see.