Children’s fashion mirrors adult attire
BY KAILEE MATHIAS
OU News Bureau
Children aspire to be adults, which is a yearning that retailers know well.
“Generally, kids always want to be older,” said Georgea Kovanis, shopping columnist at the Detroit Free Press. “For example, if you think of Seventeen magazine, the girls who read that aren’t 17. The girls are 11 or 12. There’s always been this desire to be older accept when you’re older, and then people dress way too young.”
It’s a challenge for parents to find a balance in how to dress their children.
“It’s tight or low-cut,” said Jo Reger, director of Oakland University’s Women and Gender Studies program. “It’s hard to find generic clothing. I think it’s really hard to find clothes for girls that aren’t over-feminized or over-sexualized.”
Reger, whose daughter is 12, said it can be daunting to find clothes appropriate for her daughter.
“I think from my perspective as a woman who shops, and a mother, a lot of girls’ clothes now is modeled after adult women clothes,” Reger said. “There is a trend in the tween ages, a push for more sexualized clothing.
“For example,” she said, “a T-shirt for a little girls that have slogans on them like ‘check this out,’ or things like that, which seem really inappropriate to me.”
Kathy Patterson Hawes, a mother and grandmother, said she believes there is no need for mature fashion in children’s clothing.
“I think there is over-sexualization of little girls today,” said Patterson-Hawes, also a teacher at OU’s Women and Gender Studies. “I have a daughter I did most of my shopping for in the ‘80s. None of the clothing I have for her even resembles what I see today.”
Patterson-Hawes also discussed a TV show called “Toddlers and Tiaras,” a TLC show that focuses on pageant families throughout the country. These little girls and boys compete in several categories to win titles.
“Little girls don’t need to be coloring their hair,” Patterson-Hawes said. “Why put make up on them and implants? That drives me crazy.”
The show now is casting and searching for children age 7 or younger to participate in the Glitz pageant.
Pageants under fire in France
Lawmakers in France are debating a bill to ban beauty pageants for kids under the age of 16 because of a fear of over-sexualizing children. The measure passed the French Senate, but still must be voted on in the Lower Assembly.
One French mother, France Monia Gharbi, and her 6-year-old daughter, Kayliah, love fashion.
“At the age of 2, she always viewed videos on YouTube of Mini American Miss until this day she is still a fan,” said Gharbi via Skype from her home in Marseille.
Gharbi said she had wanted to enter her daughter in a pageant as soon as she discovered her passion, however, France did not offer a competition for children under 6 at the time. Now, pageants might become illegal.
“French broadcasts often report American girls in these competitions are shameful because a child has to remain a child and not a woman,” Gharbi said.
Gharbi said her daughter loves to wear clothes similar to her mom, and they both like to stand out. Shopping in Marseille offers similar styles, so Gharbi and her daughter shop online a lot, or sometimes get clothes specially made.
“In Marseille, everybody dresses similar, contrary to Paris, or there are more choices,” Gharbi said. “We hate being dressed the same as everyone. We buy even clothes in the USA by Internet to be sure to be the only ones to have them in Marseille.”
Dressing the same
Fashion trend websites for children and adults are coming to similar conclusions when it comes to pinpointing current styles.
During spring 2013, a floral outbreak invaded the runway according to Elle Magazine. Models walked the runway in brightly colored dresses, pants and rompers.
Another trend, Elle Magazine declared, was menswear looks inspired the ‘90s. Many looks featured dress pants and blazers. The men style featured mostly chic blacks or grays
Similarly, Fashion Kids, a fashion website that features children, announced the trends of floral print and the college blazer on children. According to the website, floral print no longer is seasonal and is present in shorts, pants, dresses and even sweaters.
Fashion Kids allows style lovers to submit photos of their children in the latest trendy looks for posting. Other websites to view children fashion include Mini Hipster and Base Fashion. Fashion fans also can visit interactive sites such as Pinterest to explore kids’ trends.
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