Kids' Clothing Choices

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Daughter, 8, having trouble picking clothes to wear

Oct 2007

Every morning before school my almost 8 year old can't figure out what to wear. She is a difficult size to fit, short and solid and everything in the stores seem to be for tall and skinny kids. We do our best, she falls in love with something and then won't wear it to school. I'm trying not to get upset but it is so hard to spend time and money on clothes that just sit in the drawer and we give away new when she's grown out of them. I guess I'm looking for 2 suggestions: where can one find clothes for your not so standard size child, including narrow feet; and how can I help my daughter get dressed in the morning? afraid of school mornings...
 


Are you sure you're not talking about my daughter? Well. that was the case, pretty much we have solved the problem. My daughter is almost 8 and has always been tall, broad shouldered, has breast buds (this matters), full hips and likes to move in her clothing and doesn't like tags, pockets, etc. to ''bug'' her. We shop Land's End. For almost everything. We buy the Yoga Pants, every year my daughter says okay to Yoga Pants, but she wants to shop in the stores. I let her pick out a couple of outfits at Mervyns, Target or other affordable stores. I do this because she likes the trying on, ''shopping'' experience. She wears these outfits maybe - and it's a stretch 6 to 10 times during the school year. The rest of the time she wears the Yoga Pants with a ''cute top.'' She has 2 black pair and two navy pair. The great thing about Land's End clothes is that they are relatively conservative. I don't have to deal with pink, hot pink, princess, rude sayings, etc. The cotton is incredible soft and the clothes are durable. So on most days, my daughter pulls out a pair of Yoga Pants, then you only have to deal with the top. Much easier. Also the clothes come in regular and plus sizes. Oh, and if you have to return anything, take it to Sears. No cost, no hassle. Lands End Saved My Mornings


I recently had a kind of similar issue regarding my feelings about my own clothes. I love clothes and I had too many choices and too many things that just weren't right for my body. I fixed it by putting together a portion of my wardrobe that was made up of 6 bottoms that looked good and then matched 12 tops that were all the same cut but different colors that matched the bottoms and matched 3 pairs of shoes that matched everything (one dressy, one sturdy and one casual). Do you remember Garanimals? Then I tried to exercise more and think about good things my body can do. former clothes horse


Regarding your 8 yr old getting dressed in the morning, I have a 7.5 yr old who would do the same thing if I let her. We now have a rule which is this.....she must pick out her outfit including shoes and socks and any other accessories the night before. She must lay them out in a designated spot so all she has to do is put them on in the morning. If she forgets to pick them out the night before, then I get to pick out her outfit for the day with no complaints. It works out great for us. Try it.... Nicole


Clothes changing 3 year old is driving me nuts

May 2007

My daughter, who's almost 3, is driving me crazy with the constant need to change her clothes. It makes getting dressed for bed and getting dressed in the morning really difficult. I don't really care what she wears in either case, as long as she's warm enough. It's just that she picks, then changes her mind multiple times and has a tantrum if I don't comply. It's especially bad at bedtime, when she's also using it as a way to stall the final goodnight. Any advice is appreciated! Frustrated mom


I am going through this also with my 5-year-old daughter, and it is likewise ''driving me nuts''. A few things have helped, but I confess that I have not managed to talk her out of her desire to obsess over her wardrobe. For a while I was keeping a bag near the dresser, and any clothes that she refused to wear went into it. The idea was that if she didn't want to wear it, I was going to give it away to her cousin or a friend. That worked somewhat, but it felt like punishment and it just made her unhappy. The current technique is working with much greater success: Right after dinner, she is not allowed to play until she has finished selecting her outfit for the next day (socks included). Every time she manages to select an outfit that she in fact wears without a fuss, she puts a bead in a jar. Each bead is worth a dollar, and so far this plan is working pretty well. I'm not the biggest fan of bribery, but hey, I need to get her dressed with as little fuss as possible. So far, so good. Meg


My baby is younger than yours so I'm not particularly qualified to give you advice, but it sounds to me as if your daughter has figured out that she can push your buttons by dawdling over the clothing selection and constantly changing her mind. It's nice to let her pick her own clothes, but once she's made a choice it's totally reasonable to put the other clothes away and tell her it's time to get dressed. She may have a tantrum the first few times, but she'll learn pretty quickly that this is how it works now. I don't mean to sound preachy (and I'm not always so good at following this maxim myself), but as the parent it's your job to set reasonable rules and stick to them. In the long run, she'll be happier to know that you're in charge. And she'll probably be happy to get her clothes on and get a start to her day! Good luck


You wrote, ''...has a tantrum if I don't comply.'' Who's in charge here? Give her a set time to leave the house (or go to bed)...and leave when it's time. If she's only half-dressed in her underwear and socks, put her in the car, and bring along the rest of her clothes in a plastic bag. When she throws tantrums, walk away. If she insists on changing multiple times in one day, teach her to do her own laundry. No divas please


What would happen if you said at bedtime, ''Tonight I want you to dress yourself into pajamas, brush your teeth, and go to bed. If you get ready quickly I can read you a story. If you delay, it will soon be my bedtime and you'll be too late for a story.'' Then proceed to finish up with the rest of your chores for the evening and start turning out lights in the house as you go until the whole place is quiet and boring and conducive to sleep... everywhere, including her room. Eventually she may tire of the game she's playing with you and will take on the responsibility of getting herself off to bed. I would suggest putting a bunch of pajamas in a basket so she can choose among them, fetch them out, and put them on herself. You provide the toothbrush with some paste on it and leave it out for her. She may seem like she's ignoring you at first and doing nothing. But as the lights go out, she'll start getting the message. Occasionally remind her in a matter-of-fact way (if she's not making progress) like it makes no real difference to you what she does, the consequence being that she simply gets no tucking in and no story. Obviously this won't work in the morning when you have time commitments to meet, but sometimes encouraging autonomy helps kids to feel like they have some control so they are less likely to defy you or order you about and throw fits. (Caveat: Under no circumstances should you correct her work afterwards. If the pajamas are on backwards or inside out, so be it.) In the morning, try giving her a choice between two outfits (she'll undoubtedly pick some combination between the two so keep that in mind, and you don't care btw) and then try to leave enough time for her to dress herself (if possible). My daughter (also 3) is very, ummm, ''high-spirited'' as well so I know what you're going through. ''How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk'' by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish helped give me some skills to deal with her better and anticipate fits so that I can avoid them. My daughter had issues with dressing, potty, bedtime, school, you name it. Things still aren't perfect, but they are measurably better. In sum, if there is any chance she can do it herself, time-permitting, let her try. -Mom in training


I'm sorry, I had to laugh. This is my daughter, starting from age 2 and continuing today. My sanity-preserver has been multifold: First, don't worry about 1 or 2 changes, but know in advance what your limit will be and communicate it to her. With my daughter, the godsend came on a few days that I just did NOT have time to deal with it, and I told her, on one occasion: one more change, and that is what you're wearing-doesn't matter if you hate it. On another occasion: if you don't put something on RIGHT NOW, I will chose, and you'll just have to live with it. And I backed it up. Another time I told her, just keep those shoes on while we brush our teeth, then if they still hurt we'll change them. Mostly what I do now is try to evaluate myself if it's a ''serious'' problem, and if it is (e.g., I know she really won't be comfortable in it), I give her the ''one-more-change-and-that's-it'' routine. If it is just capricious or procrastinating, I get tough. I have been known to forcibly dress her and forcibly put her in the car seat (while maintaining my outer calm and reserve, which is really key, and saying, ''I'm sorry, but you're just going to have to live with it''). And every once in a while we drive up to school and I have an ''emergency'' pair of shoes or sweater with me. But mostly she just has to learn to live with it. And the good news is that she has learned. Sometimes she'll have an all-out tantrum, but doesn't win, then 5 minutes later she'll tell me she's ok, and the dress is fine now. The other trick I employ is that if we throw a tantrum, we don't get whatever we want. Period. You have to ask nicely, but even so you may get the ''I'm sorry, we just can't'' routine. Surprisingly, she's often fine after being forced to wear whatever she hated for 5 full minutes--oh, and she has to clean up after herself (well, sort of, at a 4.5 yr level), which makes the changes less appealing. Have fun!


My son does this when he is overtired. It makes both of us crazy. Try limiting the number of choices (When he was younger I had a drawer for school clothes and a separate drawer for weekend clothes). And definitely have her pick out her outfit for the next day at a time other than bedtime (right after dinner is good). He's now 8 and he still cares WAY too much about his outfits but at the stress has gotten a lot better. BTW, he has problems with ANY kind of decision when he's too tired - even which bedtime story to read. The only solution is to get to bed earlier. Mom of fashion fiend


Hi my name is Rebeca I have been working with children for 16 years( i'm also a mom ) & I have seen just about everything that children do. I recommend that you take all her clothes from her drawers and just leave 2 outfits for the day and 2 pj for night time, also be the mom if she has fit let her have it do not give in to it cause when she turns 13 it wont be about her clothes any more. Good Luck! rebeca


You aren't alone - our son is a few months short of 3 and he does the exact same thing (last night he changed his pajamas five times before settling on a particularly odd combination). I don't know if he's using it as a stalling tactic or exercising control of his options (or both). I'm learning to live with it, with the knowledge that this, like everything else, is a stage, and soon I'll look back and miss it terribly... A Dad


I have a girl the same age who sometimes does the same thing, though not as often and not as insistently. In my daughter's case, I think what's going on is that a) She recently learned how to take her clothes off by herself, and is basically practicing her new skill. b) She has trouble with transitions - going to bed in particular, but also leaving the house, moving from playtime to mealtime. As you say, she is trying to stall. c) She is exerting control in general. This is tough, especially that last one! Here are a couple of techniques I use (with varying success, right?):

* Offer her a choice between 2 items (the purple jammies, or the green ones?). She can choose, but it's not a wide-open choice. Just A or B.

* It helps if she doesn't /see/ the whole range of options (C through Z) that I /haven't/ offered her. Often this means I bring the 2 options to her wherever she's playing. Or sometimes I even hide things so the range of choices won't be so overwhelming (for example, do the rainboots need to be visible at this time of year?).

* Because she is adamant about her favorite color, I sometimes offer one outfit that has pink and one without. That makes it easier for her to choose. (This means I have to ration the pink items over the course of the week!)

* Once she's chosen, I help her into the clothes _right away_ so she can't dither over her decision. As soon as she's dressed, I try to engage her in something she wants or wants to do, like a eating snack (before breakfast; usually fruit) or silly horseplay.

* Finally, if her changing-her-mind is driving me insane, I just say no. I say ''This is what you chose. We're going to put it on now. We've run out of time for you to change your mind. You can wear that other thing tomorrow.'' Good luck! clothes wrangler


Hi,
My 2 1/2 year old son has also started to dawdle as a way of delaying lots of things lately. My solution has been to set a digital kitchen timer with an appropriate time for that activity (I put it where he can see but not reach it). For some reason following the timer is a lot easier for him than following his Mom. Go figure. Timer Mom


Arguing over 2nd grader's clothes

May 2005

My daughter is a very young second-grader in public school. Lately we've had some rather intense discussions about her clothes for school. The problem is that she has unusual ideas about what sorts of clothes go together, in terms of color, in terms of style, and on and on. I am *not* style-obsessed at all and tend to dress very simply, and I haven't gone to any lengths to get her outfits or clothes that would naturally coordinate - we tend to pick out individual things we like at Hannah's, or else I grab her some suitable things at Target, from time to time.

I think my problem with her sense of dress is that I'm noticing that she's somewhat isolated at school, and I'm beginning to wonder if it's all because she's a dreamer-type kid and likes to escape into fantasy books, or if other kids are starting to sense she's an odd duck and avoiding her. She does have a little group of girl friends, but I've heard of a few incidents lately that make me think she's not always on good terms with them. (I have my own issues about being an outsider from early school years, which is probably making me over-anxious in my approach. In fact, I'm sure I probably care more about her ''popularity'' than she does. Realizing this doesn't help much, though.)

She just said this morning, ''It's what's inside a person that counts, isn't it?'' and of course I want to honor that ideal, but it seems very tricky in the real world. It's funny, there is a lot of talk these days in school about accepting Others and respecting Difference, but it kind of breaks down on the school yard over apparently trivial things like dress.

Has anyone been through this and come to a really comfortable understanding with their daughter? Or, perhaps, any books or other resources you can recommend about 7-year-old (girl)s and what's going with them developmentally? Anonymous


My opinion is you should let her make her own (wild) clothing choices, so long as they are modest enough. If she doesn't match, or looks like a ragamuffin, so be it. My mother went through the same thing until my grandmother said to let me choose and I'd find out on the playground what does and doesn't work.

Seems you're trying to prevent your child from having social problems at school, which in turn could cause a problem between you two, as she feels more and more controlled by you, and unable to be herself.

She has a great point that it matters what's on the inside. No, our world doesn't always go along with that, but again... let her control her destiny here a little and make her own decisions (or concessions, as the case may be). It's only clothing, which is relatively minor in the grander scheme of things. anon


Choose your battles. Arguing over what a 7-year old wears to school does not sound like a great choice for a battle (assuming she's not wearing pants down around her ankles or her underwear on the outside). Also, based on your posting, it sounds like maybe you're projecting some of your historical issues on to her, which isn't very fair to her.

Kids don't always have a lot of choices or much control over happenings in their life. Being able to choose what they wear gives them something that they can choose to do. They can proudly say ''I picked out my outfit today'', an expression of her individuality. And, as you say, you pick out suitable clothes for her, so how bad can her choices actually be?

Instead of arguing over what she wears, engage her in a discussion. Ask her what she likes about what she picked out, or why she chose a particular outfit. It's an opportunity to learn more about what makes your daughter tick.


I would very much like to offer the best advice for you: LET HER DRESS THE WAY SHE WANTS TO!! She's only in 2nd grade!! WOW!! You're a lucky mom to have an invdividual who feels IT already!! Clothes are a WONDERFUL way to express yourself!! And only being in second grade, she should have no problem transitioning as she gets older to feel more 'normal' or 'in' using what she wears. Be happy she doesn't want to dress like a hoochie mama!!

It sounds to me as if you DO have a problem with what she wears, as if it's a reflection on you... or maybe you're embarassed by her unique idea of what's 'cool'. This is such a great age for gaining individuality!! And what better way than to be an extroverted dresser! This could be the dawning of a career in fashion design! It's artistic, creative, playful, unique and expressive! I wouldn't worry so much about whether or not she 'lonely' at school. Because, maybe she isn't. Have you asked her if she's lonely or are you only assuming? She could also dress wild because she knows she doesn't want to make friends with some of the other kids...some kids are freaked out by uniqueness and it only lends to the fact that clothes and appearance can be great detractors and a great way to weed out the other intersting thinkers from the bland fad followers. Remember: Some people are leaders, other are followers.

My advice: don't make such a big deal about 'fitting in'. That topic weighs so much on a child's conscience. Because then one day it'll be about staying thin or wearing mini skirts 'because all the girls are doing it, mom!'. Let her blossom without being worried about what people are going to think. Maybe you might learn something exciting about clothes and expression through your daughter and someday she might encourage you to spice up your 'plain' outfits with colorful scarves, wacky sandals or funky sunglasses!!

Encourage her!! Take her to thrift stores (Thrift Town in SF on 17th x Mission) and vintage shops (Twisters on San Pablo, it's owned and run by the coolest gals in town!), buy her a Cyndi Lauper CD (Girls Just Want To Have Fun!) and the B-52's (they are awesome style hounds and have very silly lyrics!!) Embrace her individualty and nurture her creativity because YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE SUNCH A WONDERFUL LITTLE PERSON!! And remember most of all... HAVE FUN!! tinygirl_oak


I'm only going to address the issue of dressing styles and leave the matter of popularity and school friends alone.

My daughter had, from early on, very personal opinions about what would constitute a good outfit - most of the time, but not always, her ideas were different from mine. She was particularly fond of wearing 2-3 dresses one on top of the other and, for good measure, some pants underneath. On average she would combine 5-6 diffent colors, which is pretty easy if you wear many dresses, and NEVER socks which would match (drove my father crazy when we visited). Sometime I found it cute, sometimes just badly matched, but I didn't feel that it was worth an argument.

I wondered sometime how she would evolve fashion wise, but now that she's almost 17, she's rather conservative in her clothes, and, a couple of times that she needed something more colorful, she actually came to my closet. Of course between 2nd and 11th grade there have been many transformations and many styles, and they have been all very interesting and fun to watch. I'm looking forward her 20's to see what happens.... Giulia


I don't have kids your age yet (I dread facing this issue) but I was an oddly dressed kid in elementary school, as was my husband, and we have bad memories and as a result are all for helping kids to fit in (with limits, of course). However, I dressed oddly because of my parents social/political beliefs and this is not the case with you. You provide perfectly fine clothes for your daughter--she chooses to make odd outfits. It seems like you are doing your job as a mom by providing the clothes, loving her, and helping her test out this ideal of the ''inside'' mattering. Maybe if she has support at home--which it seems she does--she can survive the social ramifications which she does not seem to mind. In short, I guess if she feels good about herself, try to let it go. If she decides that one day she is uncomfortable with the situation, maybe you can then help her navigate out of it. I think it might be worth talking to her teacher to see what is going on socially and why. same childhood baggage as you!


The key issue for you seems to be your daughter's social standing, rather than her clothes, which I agree is a more important issue. One thing I know is that it is easy for parents (esp. us moms) to make *way* too much of conflicts with other children (and to put our own issues on them). Sometimes my daughter talks as if everyone picks on her and is mean to her, but I know that this group of friends loves her and they play well together almost all the time. Maybe there is 5 min. of conflict in a day and she will focus on that when she is telling me about her day. Or the same person that she says doesn't want to be her friend one day is clearly a close friend the next. So I would really try not to interpret what she says as if an adult is saying it, or as if she is talking about grown-up friends. Kids really do act and interpret things differently. I try not to make too much of negative reports and usually ask my daughter to focus on the positive. (''Tell me the best thing that happened/your favorite part of/something good about today.'')

As for the clothes, I would think that the only legitimate issues are if they are appropriate for the weather and/or disrespectful of the occaision (bathing suits to school, etc.) I would really recommend you let her decide what ''looks good'' and whether she wants to fit in or stand out in particular ways. She sounds like a very strong and independent person. --anon


I can't speak as a parent who has had your issue, but I can relate to your daughter. I, too, wore crazy outfits in elementary school (polka dot skirts with striped shirts and wild hats). Like your daughter, I was also a dreamer and an avid reader. I was completely oblivious to the fact that there was such a thing as popularity, even though other kids were very into the social scene. My parents always let me wear my crazy clothes, and encouraged me to be my own person. Looking back, I don't have ''normal'' elementary school memories. Instead, I have wonderful memories of all of the great books I read, and of laying on the grass by myself at lunch, daydreaming. These are wonderful memories, and I'm grateful that my parents never made me feel ashamed for my kooky-ness. And I did end up having many close friendships throughout life (and becoming a somewhat decent dresser). In short, please let your daughter be who she is. Just b/c you have some issues from your own childhood about popularity and fitting in doesn't mean your daughter will have your same experiences. Pressuring her to dress or act a certain way, however, will most likely only make her feel anxious, like she's somehow not good enough. She sounds like a delightful girl with a wonderful spirit . . . just let her be! Stephanie


I had the same problem with my 8 year old. Every morning we would argue about what she was going to wear - she too had an odd sense about what was appropriate, i.e., clothes too small, or mismatched in color and wrong for the weather. My solution: I got rid of all the clothes I didn't think were appropriate and I took her shopping for a few items just to get a feel for her ''taste'' and then I bought the bulk of her clothes without her there. I bought complete outfits.

To avoid the outfit blues in the morning, one of her chores after school is to pick out her clothes for the following day. This has almost eliminated all of our problems. I was the odd kid out when I was growing up as well and while you want her to place more value on what's inside rather than what's outside you also don't her to be ostracized by her peers in the process. Your daugher seems pretty intelligent - maybe beyond her years. She may get it if you let her know that kids can be mean and that they usually swarm and destroy anything that is 'different' than what they consider acceptable. What you wear is important - but it doesn't define who you are. That is something no one can touch. But in the meantime, don't wear clothes that distract people from seeing who you are - once you fit-in 'style wise' your peers will feel more relaxed and will be able to get to know you. A mom of 2 girls


I sort of went through the same thing with my son. When he was about 5 he cared if his clothes matched. He wouldn't go near an outfit untless it matched. He finally grew out of that phase into an I-don't-care-if-it-matches-or-you-like-what-I'm-wearing phase. Totally hippie, open shirts with shell necklaces, long shorts and barefoot or flipflops. He does that now too. At first I was afraid that he was going to have a hard time at school. Even though they wear uniforms, items can be worn a certain way and don't get me started on accessories! He loves necklaces and bracelets! He had the Lance Armstrong bracelet and they have a bunch of others at Walgreens that are sort of the same. I digress.

He also wanted to wear his hair long. It was in his eyes it was so long. At first I was a little resistant to it, but hey many Native American men wear their hair long so we figured why not. The real test came when he wanted corn rows for the first day of third grade. CORN ROWS. We're Mexican and he has long fine hair. It seemed sort of funny, but we decided, what the heck. His aunt came over and she did his hair and he looked AWESOME. I came to realize that my son, despite my best efforts, is his own person and has a style all his own. If he can handle any pressure by his peers, than I have to respect that he's earned the right to wear his hair like he wants, as long as it's appropriate.

I have to say the same about his clothes. No slouchy pants where his butt crack is exposed, otherwise, if he can handle being unique then more power to him. I look at him and I wish I'd had half the courage he had while I was in school. After two days with the corn rows he decided he wanted a hair cut. It was sudden and sort of weird, we asked him why and he said he just wanted short hair now.

As a kid, I tried to hard to blend in, which is what the majority of us try to do to survive. I do remember however some unique individuals with great style and I thought how brave they were. Who knows, maybe your daughter will start a trend! Either way, she'll either conform on her own by pressure from kids at school, start a trend, or a combination of the two. We all want to save our kids from pain and humiliation, but sometimes they don't want us to, in which case we can only step back and be supportive. Congradulations, you've got a great kid with an understanding of what's really important-- what's on the inside. If she understands that now, than she's got a great start in life. Mariana


Just because your daughter's taste differ from your own does not mean that they are ''unusual.'' Anyone who buys clothes, picks out clothes, and dresses themselves knows that clothes are about person style (however dreadful that style may be). It is also about autonomy, more importantly. Your daughter does not need you any longer in this capacity. Step back and let your daughter make those decisions for herself (children learn HOW to make decisions, by making them, not by following directions or in this case the advice of their mother). Think of how YOU would feel if your husband or a friend kept on you about your clothing choices, would you berate a friend for poor fashion sense? Then why would you do it to your daughter? If the answer is ''out of love'' - then your intentions are good but your course of action is still (in the end) damaging to your daughter. By damaging I mean, every time you express disapproval of her choices (and imagine choices as benign as clothes!), you convey the message that she is not living up to YOUR standards or expectations. This really puts a strain on the relationship and when something really important comes up your daughter will be less inclined to come to you because she will know that only judgments and potential condemnation await her.

And perhaps it is true that your daughter is an ''odd duck'' - a ''dreamer-type kid'' - we don't choose the kids we get but we have to accept them - REALLY accept them for whoever they are even if that someone bares no resemblance to our own sensibilities and personality. Making you child dress according to your sensibilities won't change her ''odd duckness'' as she will just find other ways to express it (perhaps some ways that are more destructive) BUT it will make her resent you. Whenever someone's autonomy is not respected, problems arise. Don't force your daughter to make a choice between her autonomy and submitting to you. I can understand you not wanting your daughter to feel isolated at school and I know kids (especially girls) can be cruel. But dressing her like her peers won't ultimately resolve things and most importantly it does not honor your daughter.

I know this response may sound too analytical but let's face it - this is not about clothes. This is about control. Parents often try to exercise too much control over their kids in the name of love. If your daughter really is an ''odd duck'' - it will come out and clothes can't cover it up. Children often bring things to our lives that are unknown to us, they open up so many worlds, bring light to so many dark places - there's beauty and fear in there. It is a courageous parent who can just wholly, truly, and deeply celebrate their child in all of his or her incarnations - no matter how unfamiliar they are. This is your job, and if you can pull it off - it will be the most wondrous gift you can give to your daughter. And she will hold it in her heart not on her sleeve. Sincerely, Odd Duck


I was the weirdo kid who wore funky mismatched clothes, too. Yeah, I got teased for being the uncoordinated, unhip kid, but of the few friends I did make, many are still in touch with me today, so I guess clothes weren't the main reason why I was a bit of a social outcast. How about taking your child shopping and letting her choose some items, and then suggesting to her possible items that coordinate somewhat, but ultimately let her do the choosing, even if she ends up fluorescent green pants and a hot pink shirt? I wonder also if the dreaminess and fantasy-life you describe is more of what isolates her, and if she minds being a bit of the outcast. In the end, she will probably find friends more like her, and that's good.

Also, you might ask her why she asked about what's on the inside? Ask her about events during the day, did she play with her friends, and what happened. Make room for her to open up and tell you about her experiences. It might not be her clothes, after all. Also a non-fashion victim