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Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

3-year-old fashion critic is a mom's dream come true

My daughter has been making critical commentary on my wardrobe ever since she learned how to talk. She's like the pint-sized fashion police.

Yes, I understand that jeans, fleece and clogs aren't all that stylish, but they're really good for grocery shopping.

At least that's what I used to think.

This past week I finally gave in. I wore a dress every single day just like my 3-year-old wanted me to. I also let her choose my accessories. It was our version of the book "Fancy Nancy" come to life.

On Monday I noticed, "Wow! I'm getting some really great service at the butcher counter today!" Then when I left the grocery store, I realized my dress was cut down low enough for high school. Probably moms who have nursed two kids shouldn't shop in the juniors department.

When I wore a more modest dress to volunteer in my son's classroom on Tuesday, the second-grade girls went nuts. Pink eyelet had dramatically boosted my street cred. I'm pretty sure the girls thought I was smarter.

By Wednesday, my daughter was channeling Laura Ashley. Suddenly our dresses had to match, along with our gold shoes and jean jackets. But at least I wasn't wearing a floral print that could double for couch upholstery. (I do have a dress like that hanging in my closet, though.)

Thursday was when I really started freaking out the other moms at the bus stop. Four days in a row without jeans? They were now asking me some serious questions.

Yes, I was still happily married.

No, the washing machine wasn't broken.

And yes, I realized that only a crazy person would walk uphill to the bus stop in high-heeled sandals.

But I had to wear sandals because my daughter and I now had matching pedicures.

Friday was when things got grim. That's because I was down to dresses that fit nine years ago, dresses that fit four years ago, and my one all-purpose dress that I wear to weddings and funerals.

Since nobody was getting married or buried, it was time to go shopping.

My daughter's favorite store is Old Ladies, which you might know by the conventional name Old Navy. She led me straight past the jeans, directly to the sundress section.

When we got back to the dressing room, she insisted that we not only try on dresses, but also dance in front of the mirror. So somehow I had turned from a dowdy but competent housewife into an Old Lady dancing girl.

Matching dresses, gold shoes and the most beautiful necklaces my daughter can fish out of my jewelry box; part of me has felt ridiculous this whole week. But all of me has enjoyed living the dream.

If you've ever wanted a daughter, then you know exactly what dream I'm talking about.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Parenting

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