How this writer and editor gets her kids’ fresh looks right every time

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Words: Hayden Horner | Images: Supplied

Even as a busy working mom of two girls (Maya Nandi, 11 and Ruby Lelethu, 9) Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine still loves shopping for her kids. But with most of her day consumed by her roles as a writer, editor and music selector, where does she find the time?

She admits that online shopping is her saving grace and says she’s been doing it for years. Zodwa says it is also a fun and safe way for her girls to peruse catalogues and be inspired to dress themselves. “But ultimately, I make the final decision.” she says.

From cute outfits to age-appropriate cuts and patterns as well as seasonal styles, Zodwa shares her experience of shopping for kids.

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The best part about shopping for kids is when the package arrives and the girls’ faces light up like it’s Christmas. Every time. It takes me back to when I was a little girl and my sisters and I would open the spoils from our not-so-frequent shopping trips, try on each outfit, down to each different colour or printed pair of underwear and model them for our parents.

I do the same with my kids. We clear the bed where we heap all the clothes, and Maya will try on all her pieces one at a time while Ruby and I put on a show of wolf whistling and complimenting her. She’ll say things like “This will go nicely with my other skirt ... “ or “We should have bought this in other colours too ...” And then it’s Maya and my turn to do the same for Ruby.

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For both girls and boys, I love chocolate brown or military green cotton dungarees, a white or cream cotton t-shirt with roll-up sleeves, red single or twin strap slides and a print bucket hat.

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It hasn't been any different for me. I've been shopping online for many years and prefer it to trawling malls and trying on clothing in the various change rooms.

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Ooh no, not on purpose anyway. But I do find that my girls enjoy mirroring my vibe sometimes. So, when we get ready to head out together. They'll ask me if I'm wearing a dress or pants or jeans and will dress accordingly. Or if I wear a hat or a beanie, they want to wear one too. The girls do like to plan their looks together and try to wear the same colour palette.

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We love it! Every now and again, I give the girls a budget, and let them look through the catalogues and add to the cart so I can get a sense of what they like. But ultimately, I make the final decision based on what they immediately need or what's on sale.

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