By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
To be honest, I couldn't care less about what you wear.
No, really. Go on. Wear your offsetting $3.50 rubber flip-flops with that pretty, new dress. You're a grown person.
But, you, grown-person reader, also likely are or some day will be responsible for the life of a younger, not-so-grown blank canvas.
Walking by the display windows of just about every children's clothing store in such high-end shopping centers as Fashion Island reveals mini-versions of uh, you. Baby-sized halter tops. Skimpy denim miniskirts. Sequined party dresses whose slightly larger identical counterparts sit on the mannequins of Bebe three storefronts down. And the worst: creepy two-piece bathing suits with keyholes, frills and side-ties.
Whatever happened to children's clothing that looked like children's clothing?
If I wanted to be annoying, this is when I'd say something about parents with egos so large they forget what it's like being a kid. People who want their children to emulate them down to the very last detail: acting like them, talking like them, dressing like them. But most just think it's really fucking adorable to see mini-adults running around—probably works on the same wavelength as to why you dress up your Pomeranian or schnauzer.
In 2002, Abercrombie Kids made headlines for selling thong underwear in girls' sizes. They were $7.50 and had phrases like "Wink, Wink" and "Eye Candy" printed on them. The "all-American" label claimed they were for girls ages 10 to 16, but many complained that the smallest size could fit someone younger. Abercrombie's no stranger to controversy, known for its sexualized catalogs of college-aged models in semi-nude spreads. There's a reason why stores like Abercrombie Kids are doing so well—most girls want to look just like their older sisters in their faux-vintage polo Ts with the collars popped.
Ralph Lauren, Armani, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, and Dolce & Gabbana all offer children's lines. Premium denim brands such as Rock & Republic carry kids' sizes. While the designer labels aren't the culprits hocking skimpy clothing, it's true they simply produce shrunken versions of their adult lines. But the best part has got to be the price tags. Armani Junior currently offers a navy infant blazer and bermuda shorts set—for $360. Just letting you know: Kids spit up, fall down and outgrow things. Fast.
Cubicle-neighbor and Weekly Associate Editor Patty Marsters complains she can't find any shorts of decent length for her two young daughters, one of whom is pictured here. She says stores like Target and Children's Place are the way to go.
Blame the media, Britney Spears and whoever else you want, but all you've got to do is not indulge your kids with the hotpants and awkward-to-see skin-baring tops, and let them look like what they are—kids.
And then all you've got to do is wait till they're teens and running around with their thongs hanging out of their waistbands.