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Christmas outfit challenge: Can we dress two children using only Ilford Exchange?

PUBLISHED: 17:36 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:36 06 December 2017

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

Ellie Hoskins +44(0)7743306087 www.elliehoskins.com

December brings a whirlwind of social events in the lead up to Christmas.

If I thought I had a jam-packed line up it is nothing compared to the event calendar of my five-year-old.

With school parties, family get-togethers and even a wedding on the horizon, it can be hard to know exactly what to dress him in.

This festive season we gave the Exchange Ilford the task of coming up with two very different seasonal looks for little ones.

From glamorous dos to Christmas day smart casual, the shopping centre in High Road, Ilford, rose to the challenge.

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

Along with Ezra from Clayhall and four-year-old Brooke from Brentwood we arrived at Kids Zone on the third floor.

We were greeted by owner Janette Murray, who had worked in the independent family run business for the last 20 years.

The shop has an outfit choice for every occasion and specialises in Christmas, Holy Communion, weddings and party outfits for children aged 16 and under.

“There is a lot of silver, coral and plum colours this season and gold sells well all year,” Janette explained. “We also have a plus size range with elasticated waistlines in the same height for children who need a little extra room.”

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

Eyeing up the beautiful array of garments decorating the shop, I zoomed in on a royal blue suit.

From the Joey collection, it could be worn down for a party or with a waistcoat and bow tie for a more formal setting.

As soon as Ezra stepped into it, he stood taller with a big smile on his face. He really felt the part.

His smile grew even bigger when he saw what Brooke had chosen to wear.

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

Walking out in a gold dress from the Sevva range, complete with white fury bolero, the little girl look liked she had stepped out of a winter wonderland postcard.

I was impressed with the quality of the clothing and the fact it could be used for different events, but the real test was if the children liked to wear them.

Holding hands the pair posed for photos and loved the garments so much they didn’t want to take them off.

As any parent knows, while it’s all well and good that an outfit looks nice, if it is not comfortable and practical for them to move around in, the whole family will be suffering all day.

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

After reluctantly stepping out of their attire, the children headed to Peacocks to choose some casual wear.

Brooke toyed with brown gillet and skirt combination before plumping for a red festive dress complete with reindeers, snowmen, presents and unicorns.

She finished he look with a white cardigan with fluffy trim.

Lots of shops often only have a small boys section and go crazy with the girls range yet Ezra loved the extensive choice of options.

Ezra Cruse, five modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

He zoned in on a blue snowman shirt and trousers with braces, asking if I could put the items on his Christmas list to Father Christmas.

He added a green hat which was from the adult range, but it fit him well thanks to large head genetics.

After playing with some of the stocking filler toys in the shop, the reception pupils took a trip around the mall and visited Father Christmas.

After scribbling down what Ezra wanted for Christmas, I spoke to Peacocks Ilford manager Victor De Almeida about the store’s yuletide outfits. He said: “The novelty Christmas clothing starts from just £8 for boys and girls,In the Ilford store, we have lots of different options for every Christmas occasion.”

Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins Ezra Cruse, five and Brooke Rolls, four modelling clothes at the Exchange Shopping Centre in Ilford. Photo by Ellie Hoskins

As a resident, I pop into Ilford to nab the odd item but would normally head to Lakeside in Thurrock or Westfield Stratford for a Christmas themed spree.

After taking part in the challenge, which the Exchange more than delivered on, I feel reassured and happy that I could deck Ezra out in Christmas clothing in Redbridge.

Visit: exchangeilford.com

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