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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Girls' Clothing

I was walking through the mall a couple of weeks ago in an effort to log in some walking time in the midst of the winter cold. It's been a while, really, since I spent any time at the mall. It isn't a place I tend to hang out at now that I'm older. (Go figure... The mall used to be the greatest place on the planet.)

While I was walking around, I enjoyed a bit of browsing. Kira loves pretty dresses so I spent a bit of time looking at all the dresses and making choices based on what I know she likes. It was fun to "buy" her all those dresses even though new dresses are not needed at this time.

Well, I also became aware of the other clothing that was available. I have to say, I was stunned to see some of the outfits that are currently on the market for young girls. The clothes that are being offered right now are - ahem - trashy. (I'm not even sure that word covers what I saw, but it's the best I've got.)

If the outfits in question were targeted to the tween/teen set, I would at least be able to comprehend the reasoning behind the styles. Teens often have their own money to spend and get the privilege of shopping without their parents nearby to offer approval. That was not the case, though. These outfits that so amazed me were for the younger set. These were clothes that are targeted at girls that are 4 yrs to 9 yrs of age. It was horrifying what these stylist want me to buy for my young girls to wear.

I was reminded of a trip to Pottery Barn Kids as I scanned the racks of age inappropriate outfits. When Kira was a mere baby, Randall and I wandered into a Pottery Barn Kids store to see the furniture and look at the baby items. There was a clothing rack near the back of the store. Prominently displayed was an outfit that looked like it was designed off the streets of Atlanta. There was a black "leather" bustier with metal buttons and a pair of black "leather" leggings. Nearby on a shelf was a pair of thigh high "leather" boots to match this ensemble. The outfit itself might be okay for a night out at the club (if you plan to be going to a swingers club...). That wasn't the intent, though.

This outfit was in size 2T (and 3T and 4T). 

Yep - you read that right. There on the rack was a complete street wear ensemble for TODDLERS. It was horrifying. (Not to mention that the entire outfit was nearly $100.00, which is just a bit much for any outfit purchased for a young child.) I couldn't believe that there were parents who would actually put their young girls in an outfit of this nature. Obviously, somebody out there would buy this sort of thing for their children or it wouldn't be such a popular line in the fashion industry. I just don't get it...

Five years later and few things have changed. The market is still saturated with clothing that looks like it would be better suited to the night streets of Atlanta than to the body of my five year old child. What message does this type of clothing send to our children?

Better yet, what message does this type of clothing send to those who might be looking at our children?

Why would any parent want their 5 year old daughter to be dressed "sexy" for the world to see? Do they not understand the inherent dangers of portraying their young children as sex objects? Would you want your young daughter to learn that she should dress in this way?

I can guarantee that these are not the types of outfits that I will buy for my girls. Not now. Not ten years from now.