The Big Cost of Little Girls

It is no secret among well mannered modern mothers that once a nicely brought-up girl reaches size 6x it costs approximately 10x as much to dress her as it does to dress a boy the same age.  That is unless the modern mother wants her daughter sauntering around town looking like a hoochie mama.  Which apparently quite a few do.  While the well mannered mother can find her son polo shirts, cargo shorts and khaki pants at many moderately priced retailers (think Target) it is very difficult to find what many mothers consider age-appropriate girls clothing there.   The tops are tight, the skirts short and the pants low on the waist.  These 'sexy' looks at moderate stores are no doubt one reason the classic yet edgy retailers Mini Boden, Olive Juice and Crew Cuts have done so well selling girls clothing in recent years.  These retailers have created lines that are not too young or too old but tasteful and fun.  Sadly, they are not inexpensive. 

 This is a dress!!!!

Now, we do not want to sound prudish or unduly fixated on appearances but one might ask, after perusing the racks of Old Navy or Justice, what makes such young girls (or worse - their mothers) think this is how they should dress at age seven?  You answer, of course, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan (that's working well), and the media.  So, does dressing in a sexier (one could hardly call this apparel more sophisticated) way make a girl more confident or comfortable with her body image?  In her recent NYTimes Magazine piece  "Playing At Sexy" Peggy Orenstein tells us that "Stephen Hinshaw, chairman of the psychology department at the University of California, Berkeley, explains that sexualizing little girls — whether through images, music or play — actually undermines healthy sexuality rather than promoting it."  No kidding.   Yet in these modern times, when parents have such a hard time saying no to their children, we need research at top universities to tell us what mannerly mothers have know all along: if you wish to be respected by others and respect yourself you need to look respectable.

Well, at least the well mannered modern mother now has empirical evidence and an excellent explanation should the well mannered father ask about all those Mini Boden charges on the AmEx bill.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I have two elementary aged boys and have been making quite a few MIni Boden charges recently as well! However, that is by choice, as it is possible to find boys polos and shorts for a reasonable price, while the girls clothing at typical retailers is very distasteful!

capabilitymom.com said...

I agree - as a mom of two girls it is a constant challenge to find appropriate clothes. No hootchie mamas in this house - and I will cite your piece to husband to help explain those Mini-Boden charges - Thanks!

Anonymous said...

History repeats itself! In the days of your youth trips to Strawbridge & Clothier in Philadelphia was where suitable clothing for young girls was available c.'70s.

Elizabeth Baxter Butcher said...

A friend emailed " Regarding your blog post last week: I buy almost all of my kids' clothes at Lands' End. (one boy and two girls) Classic styles and a nice fit:)" Thanks for reading!

Amy said...

Hear hear! I just learned this, as #1 daughter is finally outgrowing (at age 8) her 6x wardrobe. I was appalled. No more extensive lines of appropriate and comfy separates at affordable venues like Target & Belk. No, no - at size 7 each one struts straight on into hoochie mama territory. WHY is this??

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