I saw an article today in the tabloid magazine In Touch Weekly. I was flipping though, getting my daily dose of mind numbing monotony when I stumbled across a “Who Wore it Best” page. Usually the page is of celebrities wearing the same outfit and then rated on who wore it better. However, this article was not adults, but these celebrities kids! There were several pics of celebrity children, pitted against one another based solely on what over-priced article of clothing they were wearing. I was stunned. It’s one thing to compare adults over their clothing choices, but these kids do not have that choice. They themselves did not purchase these items, earn the money to pay for them or make the decisions themselves as what to put on their bodies.
I remember what it was like to be a kid. I was more concerned about getting outside to play with my friends and cousins than the clothes that I wore. Clothes to me at that age were nothing more than something to keep me from walking outside naked. Now that I’m a mom, I am deeply concerned with the clothes that are being advertised to children. I keep seeing children younger and younger being put in outfits that should be on older kids. I see parents spending small fortunes on childrens clothing that will only fit for a maximum of 4 months. Its not that the price of clothes dictate how long the clothes will last, or that they will stand the constant washing from getting dirty so often, but it instead makes people whisper;
“Oh did you see that? Her 3 month is wearing the lastest Baby Nikes!”
“That Lululemon cap looks so good on her little boy.”
“That is so from Ralph Lauren’s baby collection last year.”
When did we start to put stock on what went on our kids backs versus who they are on the inside. Somehow I highly doubt that my three old cares that I buy her clothes from Old Navy and not from H & M. I doubt that she cares that I buy her running shoes from Payless and not from Nike or Adidas. I dress my daughter exactly how she should be dressed, like a three year old little girl. She wears cutesy pj’s and denim jeans with colourful tops. She wears corduroy overalls. She wears velco shoes and bucket hats to keep the sun off her face. I want my daughter to be more concerned about her own happiness and her own self worth based on her personality and accomplishments than she is wearing the latest clothing trend. For example, a clothing trend when I was young was wearing overalls with only one strap done up. Belly tops were pretty big too and platform running shoes. Doc Martins were big as were grungy clothes. None of these styles stood the test of time. But I remained intact, self esteem and all.
I want the same for my little girl. There are already enough pressures on little girls as it is that there is no need for added stresses. They are clothes for Pete’s sake! The jeans will tear, fade, rip and wear out. The shirt will shrink, get stains and won’t fit anymore. The shoes will get holes and wear out. These items will not last forever. But somehow we have to ensure that our children persevere. How are they to do that if all their self worth is tangled up in clothing? When my daughter is older, my greatest wish is that she will be able to look in the mirror, blemishes and all and know that despite what she wears, that she is beautiful. She could be beautiful in rags or gowns, beautiful in slippers or high heels, that she is beautiful because of the person she is.
There are clothing lines that are targeting younger and younger children. A French lingerie line called Line Jours Apres Lunes targets girls from age 4 to 10. When I first read this article I almost vomitted. Lingerie for 4 year olds?! What does a four year old, or a ten year old for that matter need lingerie for? The definition of lingerie is intimate underwear or sleepwear worn by women. Not intimate apparel for toddlers and children, intimate apparel for WOMEN. Women that have built a secure image of themselves. That have to maturity and self confidence to wear something that is intimate and sometimes revealing. Children and their childhood’s should be protected, kept innocent for as long as possible. The world is tough enough without people leering at them in derogatory ways.
So until my daughter has her own job, lives under her own roof, pays her own bills, she will wear what I deem age appropriate and I will continously put more emphasis on who she is as a person.