Ready to Wear: 'My son dresses with practicality in mind; his penguin pal's style is a different story'

The magnificence of fashion reveals itself in myriad and often quite mysterious ways and this applies particularly where the tastes of children are concerned.

Almost three years ago now, my nine-year-old son persuaded me to sign him up to, an online virtual world inhabited by tiny waddling birds who play with other tiny waddling birds engaged in everything from making pizza – chocolate ones with jelly beans, marshmallows, liquorice sticks and rainbow coloured sprinkles – to bobsleighing, fishing and more. My son's penguin and his penguin friends all have their own igloos complete with bookshelves, sound systems, paintings, sofas, TVs and even light-up dance floors – and they have a wardrobe. Everything is bought with penguin money earned by playing the aforementioned penguin games.

Having yet to take more than a passing interest in his own appearance – I still choose most of his clothes for him and aside from a dislike of woolly jumpers, button-front jeans and the colour grey, pretty much anything goes – where his penguin's style is concerned it is a very different story.

My son is dressed principally with practicality in mind: jeans, T-shirts, sweat tops, trainers and so forth. His penguin on the other hand, is every bit the, well, every bit the peacock penguin. He started off life naturalistically – that is, coloured black and white – but for a small fee he can transform into any colour of the rainbow. On a down day spent roving the icecaps he might be red and wear an orange "spikester" wig, an orange hoodie and orange sneakers, the sunny effect of which is only added to by a "star" necklace. When he goes clubbing he ups the ante in twinkly, midnight blue top hat and tails combo, a pair of "business" glasses, smart shoes, a chunky chrome watch and an emerald green tie. More impressive still is his "fire ninja suit", emblazoned with flames and with a fire amulet set with a ruby the size of boiled sweet. Then there's his ermine trimmed crown and, in line with the film of the festive season, his "humbug" coat and hat. Marvellous and truly a sight for sore eyes.

The clubpenguin world has its detractors. In much the same way as people with 14 nannies and/or more time on their hands than most don't allow their children to watch television (thank you, Madonna, for that) there are those who argue that hours spent staring at a computer screen filled with penguin pals is not quite so culturally enriching as settling down with a nice copy of A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. To my mind, though, clubpenguin is genius, a brilliant way in which a child may express his character and, of course, dress sense – or at least his penguin's character and dress sense – to the full.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Year 1/2 Teacher

    £130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

    Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

    Corporate Commercial Solicitor

    £45000 - £65000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Corporate Commercial Soli...

    Year 3 Primary Teacher - Dewsbury

    £110 - £155 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: An excellent, last minute opp...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam