Playing Dress-Up

16 Aug


Been shopping lately? Have you noticed how the children’s apparel market has grown? Sizes that included 2T and 6X were once relegated to an upper floor of a department store, suggesting that only after adults clothe themselves would they consider fashion for babies. We now have entire chains dedicated to children’s fashion as well as adult clothiers that have created children’s fashion lines. It’s not as if children of the 1970s and 1980s ran around barefoot and naked. So why the market glut of teeny tiny clothes?

Most children do not do their own shopping and most do not have their own income stream, so presumably big people are buying wee clothes. Now if you are to believe the media and your own bank statements, these are not exactly flush times. Of course these chain stores for the toddling set are not pricey, but the only way they are staying in business is if lots of inventory is being liquidated often. A child’s entire wardrobe does not need to be replaced every season (unless the child has a rapid growth syndrome.) A winter jacket can usually make it through two New Years. Even children without siblings could be wearing second hand clothes. And maybe they do. But if so, why all these shops? It’s hard to believe that stores filled with teeny fashion trends are actually going after the “necessity market.” Fake fur shrugs and sequined mini-skirts speak more to child styling versus child dressing.

In this great country of ours it is usually the female parent who is doing the shopping and dressing of the smalls. Could it be that for some of us, dress up is fun? Could it also be that dressing a little person is easier because of it being baggage free? Anything “mini” is by definition cute. No toddler ever thinks; “Wow those pull-up pants make my ass look huge.” Whether mommy’s behind is bigger than it once was or than desired, it takes a lot more effort to dress oneself than one’s child. There really are no Garanimals for adults, and sticking a color-coordinated bow in our hair doesn’t make an outfit as much as it begs the question; What DID ever happen to Baby Jane? Having an adult sense of style means knowing what suits you and that of course means having some self-awareness.

There is nothing wrong with dressing your little person in short pants and a jaunty derby. But if you are walking by his side in sweats or shapeless dreary apparel, there is a problem. Children are not Chihuahuas and shouldn’t be used as accessories or a way to deflect attention. They learn from example and one of the best lessons they can experience is that their parents are first and foremost people worthy of attention and care.

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Childhood, Style


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