Practical Versus Fashionistas: Do Your Kids Look Like Mini Models Or Just Regular Kids?

September 24, 2012  |  

Over the past few months I’ve noticed a trend of “fashion pictures” flooding my Facebook news feed. The immaculately coiffed hair, trendy shoes and fierce outfits—all of it combines in one photo to make me say out loud, “I need to step my game up.”

The only problem is that these are pictures of just barely grade-schoolers—and in some cases, toddlers. As a 26-year-old woman, I feel I should not be coveting the wardrobes of those who can barely tie their shoes without assistance.

Search on Instagram for the tag “fashion kids” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Mini Louis Vuitton bags, oversized sunglasses, cowboy boots and more. Sometimes I look at the pictures and (honestly) I wonder if their super cute, coordinated clothing is their parents’ way of trying to prove to the world that they are well taken care of.

My daughter is 5, around the same age as these little kids, but her wardrobe looks so juvenile compared to them. Sure, on special occasions she gets “dressed up” in frilly dresses and jeweled sandals, but on an every day basis – hardly… For a trip to Target or the park she’s more than likely to wear a T-shirt and jeans.

I feel my daughter has her whole life to be concerned about fashion. True, I would like her to look presentable while out in public, but as long as her clothes are clean, hair is combed and skin lotioned up, I feel like I’ve done my job. Anything else is icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

Walking out the house looking Instagram-ready is pressure that young children don’t need, particularly when they’re not even in school yet. Can you imagine being four years old and you have to think about whether your shoes “go with” your outfit? Imagine growing up and there’s a slew of photos of you with strangers commenting about how you looked everyday? I can’t.

When I was younger (am I dating myself?), I wore clothes with characters on them all the time. Minnie Mouse and the Care Bears were my favorites. But now it’s that those characters are too “babyish” by a certain subset of parents. They opt for crisp button-downs, metallic flats and skinny jeans for their little ones.

And of course, that is their right to dress their kids how they want. As long as the clothing choices don’t get in the way of their child’s regular activities, then who am I to judge? I would hate to see a child off on the side of the playground, scared to get her shoes dirty, when all they really want to do is play with their friends. That’s when I think fashion should take a backseat to function. Let the kids be kids.

Where do you stand on the “fashionable versus practical” debate?

Words By: Tara Pringle-Jefferson
Copyright: Inga Marchuk

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