Recently, I mortified a friend. DD has
Laura mom to Gabrielle
Not a big deal in my mind. Now if she had been devestated that you took the clothes back then maybe something needed to be done to figure out a compromise, but I'd say since she was okay with the no biggie. We all make purchases then go "Uhhh, maybe I didn't need that right now" and return it. And you did offer to let her keep the outfit if she REALLY wanted it and since money doesn't seem to be an issue for her and she wasn't interested. And its not like you made her wear pajamas to the event because she had no clothes. LOL
I think its okay to let our kids know 1) we made an error in judgement 2) we are big enough to admit that and fix it 3) that the family budget is not limitless and sometimes we have to make sacrifices in the family and NOT get the things we want in order to get the things we need.
So I think your friend is over-reacting. Sure in an ideal world we could all afford to buy our kids every single thing they want and never have them disappointed but life's not like that and from what you said your DD didn't even seem to care that much. So don't sweat it.
If your daughter was okay with it, then it's no big deal.
I think what you did sounds completely reasonable. I think I would have handled it the same way. (Probably why I think it sounds reasonable.)
Additionally, sometimes I ask my son to use his own money on something so that I can judge, and so that he can judge how much he REALLY wants it.
I think you did what all parents need to do from time to time: use one of their mistakes to reinforce their values in a child. You realized you'd made an error in spending money you didn't need to spend, but rather than just letting it go, you used it as a teaching moment. I think this is really excellent parenting and I'm surprised your friend didn't get it.
You showed your daughter your human side (the mistake), your willingness to correct an error, and you
I don't think what you did was terrible at all.
But you can't always change people's minds on how they view issues, so it might be a good idea not to mention money issues with this friend in the future.
This is a great way to teach her about money. And to get her to think how much she *really* wants something. I do this with my 6 yo dd often. We have 2 choices of acceptable outfit and she has to choose which one to get. She doesn't have her own money yet but when she does if she wants more than one thing then she will need to pay for it.
I also tell my kids if they pick something up that is too expensive that I don't have the money for x so we won't be getting it. My older 2 boys will now look at something and decide if they really want it. I've overheard them talking about things they want and I chuckled to myself to hear my 11 yo say to the 9 yo "How much??? That's so not worth the money. We could get x y and z for the same amount." And my 9 yo turned to me one day in a sports shop and said "Shouldn't nike be paying me to advertise their clothes for them?" I nearly fell over laughing but the kid has a point. LOL
I would have done the same thing with my 14 year old ds.