I will never be the mother whose children are perfectly groomed. Inside my house, my kids are often naked (or half naked) or dressed in various costumes from B's dress-up box. I brush B's hair once in the morning, and if it gets messy an hour later, so be it. Before we leave the house, I check three things:
1) Is B wearing panties under her clothes? (It's hard to explain to a 4-year-old why undies are necessary. They just are.)
2) Are the kids going to be warm/cool enough for where we're going?
3) Do they have shoes?
I do require them to wear some sort of clothing when we leave the house, but that's about the extent of my fashion rules. We have so many years ahead of us to argue over clothing. Why start now? As a result, we end up wearing some interesting outfits in public. A few recent examples:
I bought B a new package of socks recently, and she decided to wear all 8 pairs at once.
It's about their growing autonomy.
What are the fashion rules in your house? Do you let your kids comb their own hair? Choose their own clothes? Where do you draw the line?
Also: At what age can you expect kids to help with the laundry? The biggest downside to my letting the kids change clothes frequently is extra laundry...