It freaks me out when kids dress like tiny, hip adults
The summers of my childhood were spent in a fairly standard uniform of Northern Getaway T-shirts, Teva sandals, one piece bathing suits and wrap-effect skorts. That was me, age 6 to 12. I would occasionally get fancy with a tank top or spaghetti straps in the later years, but the overall message of the look remained “I’m ready to capture the flag, let me just put on some sunscreen.”
Fast-forward to today, and normcore has adults rehashing my childhood wardrobe in slouchy whitewash denim while Birkenstocks dominate the runways. Meanwhile, kids are dressing in the reverse with designer labels, peacoats and a rehashing of the lensless hipster glasses trend of 2010. It looks weird, guys. It looks really weird.
The other day I saw a mother and her four year old walking down the street in matching outfits. Like her mother, this little tyke was sporting skinny jeans, Ugg boots and a peasant-inspired blouse. She looked like a shrunken adult minus a few years of botox and plus a binky. The tailoring of the clothes made her look like a ludicrously teeny woman. I didn’t know how to feel.
I still don’t. And it feels like they’re everywhere, these hyper-fashionable babies: little girls in “I woke up like this” T-shirts and fancy sunglasses. Boys in beanies and distressed jeans. This kid with his sweater and his boots and his selfie. Or this one, with her topknot and LBD. What is going on? You can’t get clothes like that dirty. You can’t run around in the backyard mud playing tag with a dog when you’re dressed like a Topshop mannequin.
But why, though? Who is to blame? Is it retailers, for selling these adult costumes as kids’ clothing? Is it Pinterest? Is it well-dressed celebrity kids, whose every outfit, wave, and playdate is documented as ruthlessly by paparazzi as their famous parents? Like the time Suri wore high heels? Or that time Shiloh Jolie-Pitt cross-dressed? You remember both instances, don’t you? How weird is that.
I’m all for letting kids dress themselves, and it’s not uncommon for kids to want to ape their parents, but even parents are dressing more laidback than kids seem to be these days. And when I see a baby in a Gucci belt I have to wonder whether or not they picked that out for themselves. Babies don’t care about labels—intense parents do. I suppose my main worry here is that these miniature trendsetters are an extension of our image obsessed culture—desperate to document and perfect every aspect of our lives, we’re led to see even our children as aspects of our personal brand, to be styled and displayed. Are perfectly dressed, impeccably coiffed kids in traditional street style poses the new kale smoothie in a mason jar?
Is there room for Tevas in a world where baby aviator sunglasses reign supreme?