May 16, 2014 11:00 AM

Courtesy FabKids

Christina Applegate has always been one to watch on the red carpet.

But, these days, the actress’s style has taken a backseat to another fashionista: 3-year-old daughter Sadie Grace.

“I’m total yoga-pant mom at this point. Sweatpants or whatever I’ve exercised in that day is what I’ll end up wearing for the rest of the day,” Applegate tells PEOPLE.

“People at her school are lucky if I show up in my pajamas, so [Sadie] doesn’t get any fashion sense from me.”

Applegate may prefer to keep it comfortable and casual during school runs, but Sadie uses the everyday affair as an opportunity to get glamorous in her favorite satin frock. And we mean favorite.

“For awhile there she had three dresses [and] those were the only dresses she wore, every day for weeks — weeks upon weeks,” she explains.

“Finally, don’t tell her, but I had to hide one of them because it was just like, ‘I can’t take it anymore!’ Don’t tell her I did that — it was only one dress.”

Fortunately, Sadie — who has been picking out her own outfits for over a year — has plenty of cute clothes to choose from in her closet.

In 2012, Applegate helped launch FabKids, an online monthly subscription children’s boutique that personalizes orders based off customers’ profiles. And the actress’s daughter is a big fan.

“Today, she picks out this pink, twirly dress, tulle, that has these gold polka dots on it … with a pair of FabKids navy jean leggings with pockets.”

Applegate adds, “None of it made any sense, but that’s what she was feeling. I’m like, ‘Okay, Babe. You go there.”

And while Sadie’s outfit creations may be eclectic, they all have one signature element: under every dress must go a pair of leggings.

“I was like, ‘You know, you can wear the dress without them,'” Applegate recalls. “Then one day she did, she went to school and she tripped and skinned her knee. It was the first time she had really skinned her knee. She was like, ‘I should’ve worn leggings!’ ‘Okay, you can go back to wearing leggings, whatever you need.’ I felt so bad!”

Courtesy FabKids

But just because Applegate lets Sadie experiment sartorially, doesn’t mean she lets her little girl explore life without any limits.

“They say terrible twos, but it’s completely a misnomer — it really is terrible threes. I’m always trying to figure out what is she developmentally going through and, at this point, it’s pushing boundaries,” she says.

“So you have to find a way to allow them to be themselves and to learn from the world, but give them a great road to go on — a great disciplinary road.”

— Anya Leon with reporting by Emma Tyler

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