Victoria Beckham, second from left, holds her daughter Harper alongside celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

London - Babies now own an average of 56 outfits as parents try to emulate the likes of Harper Beckham and Suri Cruise, according to a study.

Mothers and fathers typically spend £327 (about R4 000) in the first year on clothes for their stylish offspring, meaning the child wears more than one new item each week.

The Beckhams’ daughter Harper, 15 months, and Tom Cruise’s girl Suri, six, are often pictured in stylish clothing. Two in three parents say such images “pile on the pressure” for them to do the same for their youngsters.

Two-thirds of parents have refused to dress their children in clothes received as gifts because the item was “too unfashionable”.

And two in five have rejected “outdated” hand-me-downs, the study by Marks & Spencer found. This is because they only want to dress their children in brand-new items, which will be worn an average of only 12 times.

Although the children will play happily in whatever they are wearing, moms and dads fear other parents will judge them in the street and at playgroup.

This paranoia begins before the baby is even born, with a third of parents spending £100 on outfits before the birth.

In contrast, just a quarter of mothers spend this amount on maternity wear for themselves, the poll of 1,000 parents with children aged one to five found.

Remarkably, one in eight children aged under one have more than 100 garments. And two percent of parents have spent more than £100 on a single “must-have” baby item, such as a designer coat or cashmere cardigan.

More than half of parents have thrown baby clothes away simply because they decided they did not like them.

A similar number have thrown clothes in the bin once their child has outgrown them, rather than donating them to charity.

Marks & Spencer is working with Oxfam to encourage people to recycle clothes when they buy new ones.

Sarah Farquhar, from Oxfam, said: “Baby clothes can be sold through our stores and find very grateful owners while at the same time raising crucial funds.” - Daily Mail