Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Girls Size 6: Why I want to punch children's clothing designers in the face.

Hearing "its a girl!" was one of the most exciting times of my life. (Well, it was three of the most exciting times.) Having my baby girl dressed in a cotton gown, wrapped in a soft light pink minky blanket and put into my arms filled my soul in a way that I didn't know was possible. I pull the sweet bundle close to my face and breathe her in. I nuzzle her cheeks, I run my fingers through her few strands of hair, and I am overwhelmed. I spend the next year of her life putting her in soft patterns, rose buds and pastels, whites, creams, and pinks. I spend a fortune on bows as big as her head. And even though she kicks them off within a few minutes, I slip ruffled socks onto her feet and work ballet slippers on. She wears smocked dresses with puffy sleeves and holiday scenes embroidered on her collar. Gradually, she becomes "bow trained" as my sister puts it, and sits still while Mommy clips a light pink grosgrain bow into her hair, and leaves it there all day. She learns to walk and before I know it she's old enough to actually play outside- riding bikes, scrawling her name across the driveway in sidewalk chalk, and fluttering around the yard with her sisters, all three pretending to be fairies. I'm not describing one of my daughters in particular- it could be any of my three, because the first years of their lives were all nearly identical. I am raising three daughters, and I am trying my best to raise them to be young ladies.




But I've reached a road block. You see, Maggie is now wearing a size 6, and up until size 5, children's clothing stores cooperate, somewhat, with what most mothers are looking for. I'm willing to work with what is offered. But now, she has reached magic size 6.




And something absolutely mind boggling has happened. I walk into the Girls section to see what I can scrounge up, but as I make my way in I feel more like I'm walking into a rave. There is so much glitter, air brushing, neon colors, mesh, spaghetti straps, cut off jean shorts, and cropped tops that I have to actually look up at the sign above my head to make sure I'm in the right area. Yep, "Girls". I stand there in complete disbelief and denial. Maybe if I stand here long enough with my eyes closed, I'll open them to see racks and racks of cotton play dresses, ruffled shorts long enough to cover her backside, and sweet little rosebud tee shirts. But no. I open my eyes again and attempt to focus. "Okay, there has to be something here. Anything." I turn and immediately feel my throat tighten as I try to keep myself from dry heaving right there in the middle of the store. The bathing suit rack. I won't get too far into this, but y'all, why are there leopard print and hot pink string bikinis in the Girls section? A child in sizes 6-14 has NO BUSINESS WEARING STRING BIKINIS. Okay, yeah, I said it. And I mean it. I turn around to see the most repulsive 80's teenager inspired, neon pink, mesh "shirt" on a hanger next to a table of camisole tops and jeggings. So I'm assuming that the intent is to layer. And why, OH WHY, do size 6x pants come in "Low Rise"?? Y'all, I just can't even. I run out of there like a total Mommy psycho walk away feeling defeated, and so so confused. I feel rage crawling up from my stomach. I want to tell off whatever ass hat that is responsible for this spread of clothes that I'm left to choose from. I mean, do these designers have kids? Better question- Have they ever even seen a child? Do they know that they are not just like super petite grown-ups? If you have shitty questionable taste as an adult, that's fine by me. Do your thing. Wave your freak flag, I don't care. But we have an obligation to our daughters to dress them like little girls while they are still little.





What is it about a size 6 that has led anyone to believe that a child that fits in that size should be wearing the same outfit that a 12 year old would wear? Is there some imaginary milestone that we hit? We're talking about little girls, not tweens. Where are the ruffles? The puffy sleeves? The flowing dresses? My 5 year old still wears princess dresses nearly every day. She's having tea parties with her baby dolls, she's pretending to be a mermaid in the bath tub, she's wearing fairy wings and tutus. So, I ask you, WHY WOULD I DRESS HER THE SAME AS A GIRL MORE THAN TWICE HER AGE?! Why is she banished to a department that has pleather jackets, mini skirts and padded training bras?! I have a 5 year old that still wears pigtails, bows in her hair, and loves nothing more than a dress she can twirl in. My daughter, my sweet, innocent, little girl, is not a run way model. She is not a tiny adult and she is no where near being a "tween".



(Eating a beignet)


My solution? Well, I buy the least expensive and least trashy of the trash that is available. And I let her play in it. Usually its a t-shirt with some awful design on the front, covered in peace signs and glitter. And when she comes in and its covered in grass or she's sweating like crazy from running around, I don't bat an eye. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on clothes from stores hell bent on making my 5 year old look 18, I have become enthralled in the world of online shopping. And I finally understand why people pay more money for clothes for their kids! I also understand why some people invest in a sewing machine! It seems so old fashioned today to actually make your own clothes for your daughters, but guess what? I totally get it. The women that own these online shops? They totally get it. That's why so much of it is so expensive and why auction sites are so popular. If we stop buying the garbage being geared towards our kids, they'll stop making it. I've seen a handful of things at Target that look strangely like outfits that I've fallen in love with on online boutiques. We have to stop buying the lie. They will catch on. Its not okay to dress little girls like teenagers. Its not okay to train our daughters to use their bodies to get attention. We have to change the way we teach- I want my girls to know that they don't have to use the clothes they wear to get anyone to look at them. Clothes for little girls should be a representation of what they are, NOT what designers think they should be. So let's all band together moms! Let's leave the funky, completely age inappropriate "clothes" geared towards our baby girls on the racks! Let's vow to bring back all things feminine! Girly! Ruffles! Pink! Ribbons! Sweet details! Eyelet lace! Ruffle socks! Let's preserve what makes them precious and innocent instead of attempting to objectify them before they even know what it means!






Long live smocking, apron dresses, and all things girly!

{After nearly 40,000 views on this post, I have to acknowledge a group of little girls that I unintentionally left out- the tom boy! My girls are the girly girl type, so when I wrote this I was thinking of my own experiences. But as a little girl, I was a tom boy and I loved to be outside, climbing trees and in the mud. Fishing is still one of my favorite things to do! Those little girls deserve the same as the girly girls! Not every little girl will wear pink or ruffles and lace, but that doesn't mean they have to wear the clothes being targeted to them either! I mean, let's face it, what tom boy is actually interested in wearing low rise skinnies and a crop top anyway? They wouldn't wear the clothes on the racks right now either! We all want the same things for our little girls- Classic, modest, age appropriate and affordable. I can't say anything about little boys because as the mother of three little girls I have no experience in that department, although I am told that the little boys section in stores is just as bad! Maybe there will be a little boy in our future and I can write about it then :). ALL of our children, boys and girls, deserve better than what is being marketed to them! Thank you for your overwhelming support!!}

305 comments:

  1. Right on! I just read this, cited in a law review article: "It can be said that a child is in the stage described in John Paul II’s words as ‘the years of innocence’ from about five years of age until puberty — the beginning of which can be set at the first signs of changes in the boy or girl’s body (the visible effect of an increased production of sexual hormones). This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex." -The Pontifical Council for the Family

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I completely agree- why disrupt their innocence?

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    2. Awesome!...My lil one is 8, nothing..The stores have NOTHING!!!!!!

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    3. I almost want to see pictures of this to get a real idea of what is in the store. Just so I can believe it. I read a book called the Lolita Effect that talked about this very thing. I think we forget that the consumer really does have the power. If we stop buying the product, they will stop making it. Thank you for your article. I did see some cute things at Kmart but other than that I haven't looked. I'm not a mom but I don't like that the standards have been lowered for girls. I could write an article on how a lot of stores don't make good clothes anymore for young women. But that's another story.

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    4. Lauren Howie, this swimsuit starts at size 7, but it's a great example of what I can find when I go looking for something for my daughter. http://www.zappos.com/hurley-kids-leopard-triangle-top-tunnel-pant-big-kids-black?zlfid=191&ref=pd_sims_sdp_1 Seriously?! In what way is this even sort of ok for a 6-7 year old??

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    5. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you for taking the time to articulate something so important. This is precisely why I love Matilda Jane, Persnickety, the custom world, etc. THEY GET IT!!!!! Children's fashion needs an overhaul. <3

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    6. Wonderfully written. Everyone with children should read your article. I agree totally.

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    7. I have raised two girls in a time during the 60's and 70's when it was possible to dress girls appropriately. I have been quite disturbed over the last 20 years as I have seen the changes in dress for girls. Some of the clothes being sold now look cheap and flashy. What are the designers thinking? It was heart warming to read an essay so completely expressing my own view. Thank you. I am glad you have found a solution for your precious little girls.

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    8. My daughters are 23 and up now. I have one granddaughter and another due this October. These little ones will be lucky in that I sew and embroider for them. It is appalling what is in stores! Even if you find something that is tolerable, it is shabbily made for the price. There are many of us who make and sell classic clothing for children online. Make sure it's American handmade as opposed to imported.

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  2. LOVE this. I still find some cutesy stuff in size 6 from Carter's, Crazy 8, Gymboree, and sometimes Old Navy and The Children's Place....but I have been DREADING moving into size 7's as that is the one I find to be super hard to find cute things for my LITTLE girl. I don't think even at age 12 my daughter should be wearing half of the outfits I see in the clothing stores. I would love nothing more than to start my own clothing company....unfortunately I lack the talent to be able to sew but I am full of ideas on how to make a children's clothing line that reflects those in between sizes (7 to size 9/10) in which little girls should still be dressing like little girls. I have contacted many clothing companies indicating that I would love to work with their design team because as the mother of an almost 8 year old who still wears size 6 I need to be able to buy her classic looking clothing that isn't babyish and isn't too "old" for her. I have yet to hear back from any of them. I just don't get it....I know I am not the only parent that feels this way....why wouldn't they want to consult REAL LIFE mom's to see what we want to spend our money on. I want cute, comfy, age appropriate, AFFORDABLE clothing.....maybe I need to take some sewing classes ;-)

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    1. I completely agree with you! I have also had luck with the stores you mentioned- Here's hoping they all catch on and these awful clothes will be a thing of the past! Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Check out zulilly.com. Lots of age appropriate clothing and at great prices.

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    3. I think I can pinpoint when the clothes became so trampish. When Britney Spears exploded on the scene with her school girl uniform, only a teen herself at the time, the sexualization of young girls was off and running. A couple years ago, I saw a family with two pre-teen girls. The youngest, who looked to be about nine, had on a pair of low cut "dance pants" that read "BOOTYLICIOUS" across her butt. It made my skin crawl, and I thought "Why, oh WHY, would you allow your young daughter to wear that?? I don't even think it's good fashion sense for grown women, much less a young girl!! It's parents like those, though, that keep the inappropriate clothes in stores.

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  3. Or forget frilly and girly. CROP TOPS?!?!?! I'll dress my little girl out of the boys' section before I buy her a crop top.

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    1. I may actually do a Part 2 to this post, because I actually missed an entire group of girls that I was actually in as a child- the fabulous tom boys that couldn't care less about ruffles and pink! Those awesome girls deserve to have tasteful and classic clothes to choose from as well! I totally agree with you- why on earth would anyone ever dress their child, girly or not, in a cropped top?!?!

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    2. Totally agree. My 4 year old doesn't need lace every day, but how about just some normal jeans (that actually fit preschoolers) and cute tees, rather than screen printed junk with glitter everywhere? I shop online a lot now that I have a daughter, too.

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    3. At least the boys section doesn't have words written across the backside of the pants. That has always bothered me, why draw attention to my 6, 7, 8, 9 or 14 year old's behind? Seems kind of pervy to me.

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  4. And even as a tween, I will pay big bucks and stick ruffles on her if she will let me. No tween of mine, will have sweet plastered across their butt. I'm just fine coloring my own hair and wearing my target button ups to do it! Love this!

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  5. I absolutely LOVE this!!! Thank you for putting out there what so many of us moms, and dads I can imagine, are thinking!!

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    1. Thank you! It is so nice to hear that I'm not alone in this battle!

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  6. I have an 11 year old and a 3 year old. When my 11 year old started Kindergarten I was AMAZED at the clothes these kids would wear to school. The girls had tight pants and shirts that barely covered them. I have instilled in my daughter she can wear in style clothes tastefully. I do allow her to wear shirts that would show her belly but she MUST wear a cami underneath. Thankfully layering is in...LOL.. I also make her come out of the dressing room and raise her hands in the air and bend over like sitting to make sure she is covered at all times. Otherwise she can only wear it around the house. Her pants also cannot be skin tight. Her skirts have to come to her knees or no more than an inch above. She complained at first but she learned that as long as she did that, I did not tell her no to too much. Although the shorts MUST cover her butt and cannot have holes in strategic places (anywear the underwear would show). My daughter is a tween and until she is 16 she is not able to choose just anything to wear. I am teaching her respect for herself and her body. When I was a teenager I would wear clothes that showed off my assets (I have always had a big chest) but it was tasteful too. Yes old men ogled, but come on...what old man does not...LOL..they still do! Anyway, I teach my girls respect for themselves and others and when I see someone wearing something they really should not, I point it out so my daughter can see what is acceptable and what is not. She has learned to agree with me. I will do the same with the 3 year old. I agree that when I see 3 year olds wearing leopard prints...Um NO WAY!!! My 3 year old does wear glittery clothes but its tasteful and 3 year old designs. Like minnie mouse with gold glitter. Neither of my daughters have been into dresses. My 3 year old does love to twirl in her princess dresses but after about 1/2 hour of twirling she strips and puts on pants...LOL...but she acts more like a boy so the dresses would not last anyway. They would get in the way of climbing for her..LOL..But yes, I agree that they need to STOP making clothes for the under 12 that look like they should be on a 20 year old going to a night club! But alas, my 11 year old is about the size of a 14 year old so unfortunately, we have very difficult time shopping since she cannot fit in the sizes for her age and the juniors section or women's section which she has to shop in is too old.

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    1. I agree! We can bring tasteful back and make it trendy again!

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  7. I agree. My daughter is 6 and wears the 7/8. I will buy gymboree, anne loren and a few pieces here and there by other random store names. She is tall & skinny so many things that fit her waist are to short. Then if they fit her length they don't stay up. I have order many adorable items from online shops & love them but then they are pricier. I wish the big department stores would leave the hooch clothes for places like sirens & forever 21. I am okay with glitter , but short shorts and mini skirts and 2 piece bathing suits are WAY to much skin for my little one to be wearing. Princess dresses and play clothes are only made to a size 5/6 which she out grew before she was 5. She was so disappointing that she couldn't fit them and still is. Disney of all places should make there clothes, dress up costumes and fun wear bigger. Thank you for writing this piece. Something that makes me frustrated every time I need to buy kids clothes :(

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    1. My mother in law found a Cinderella princess dress at JCPennys in a size 10 for my daughter who is also a size 8.
      I'm taking notes on where you are still finding clothes this size. Problem is she'll move to a size 10 soon (school shirts already are - she'll grow into them, i guess) and then I'm really screwed!!!
      HELP!!

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    2. Thank you so much! I agree- why should we be forced to dress our girls so much older than they are?! And I agree- it discourages pretend play when you have to say "Sorry honey, this princess dress doesn't come in your size!" I'm interested to hear about places that offer princess dresses in bigger sizes as well!

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    3. The Disney Store has princess dresses up to size 10. They're pricey, though! My daughter is 12, and we're out of the children's department now. It's actually easier now to find decent clothes for her, and that is quite a shame!

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    4. I just got my daugher's birthday present from Little Dress Up Shop .com -- it's an Elsa replica dress and it comes in sizes up through XL which is size 10. She loves it :) and it's very washable, etc. It wasn't cheap, but not awful either (in my opinion) -- It was $40 and free shipping. My mom has the cinderella and aurora dresses from there, and they're similar quality -- have held up well for 3 years so far and still going strong. Just a thought! Beyond size 10, I don't know what to tell you!

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  8. Ok not a Mom but I am a very involved aunt and teacher. And, yes the trashy has moved all the way down to toddler sizes. Clothing issues are not just for girls. If you have a boy your options are sports, dinosaurs, transportation, skulls, or cartoons. If you have a girl your options are princesses, fashion, garden, or cartoons. The quality of the clothes is also getting worse. Thin fabric, delicate wash, no drying, inside out in a fabric bag... Do you realize this kid eats stuff off the floor and will gladly play in mud? I don’t even buy shirts that I have to iron let alone might fall apart in the water if I wash it wrong. If you are willing to hunt and or pay the big bucks there are quality clothes that fit and are fitting for a 6 year old going on 7 not 17.

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    1. I completely agree! I didn't realize how bad the clothes for boys are until several people pointed it out to me! With three daughters I've never had to walk through the boys section :) Thanks for the support!

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  9. Loved reading your article! We love our Matilda Jane too! Thanks.

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  10. I am a mother of 4 little girls and I am the same way..... Thank God I have a man that was raised "old school". I just bought a sewing machine and am very excited to make things for little girls that will make them pretty and respectable. i read this and thought, I am not the only one. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. How wonderful! I only wish I had that kind of talent! Thank you for your support!

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  11. Matilda Jane has been my savior! I have an almost 8yr old that wears size 14 in MJ. I started buying it for her before she was having as many clothing issues as she does now. Shes just "giant". She is a thick build and very tall. Wears womens size 7 shoes. So I am at a total loss on how to find her appropriate clothing. Sometimes I look in womens sections. But often the collar is too big or the cut too low for her. I heard MJ may be putting out a tween line soon. I cant wait. Because she will grow out of the 14s soon and then I will be truly hooped!

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    1. We love Matilda Jane! Beautiful and classic! Best of luck to you and your sweet girl!

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  12. Aside from the ruffles and pink (not my style) very well said!! Good luck when you do get to those tween years. There's an awful lot of compromise that goes on.

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    1. Thank you! I've heard those tween years are rough! With three girls, its safe to say I'm scared! ;)

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  13. Amen sister! A to the MEN! I don't have daughters, just sons, but I too worry about modesty and what my friends with daughters have to deal with as far as clothing shopping goes. I also don't ever want my boys to objectify the girls they know, not ever. I want them to treat all girls and women with respect. I think we all can agree it doesn't get much better as the sizes go up either. I have a time trying to find modest clothing for me! I'm 40, not 14. Not ready to dress like the Golden Girls quite yet, but also I don't want to look like I'm trying to be 20. I also think it is important that we reach out thru social media and letter writing to these stores and to let them know there is a market for modest girls and women's clothing. When one of my younger cousins was in high school, she and her friends convinced the local Dillards to carry prom dresses with sleeves. It was a HUGE undertaking, but it was so awesome to watch these girls stand up for their values. All the best to you Mama!

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    1. Thank you so much, and kudos to your cousin for standing up! Best of luck to you as well!

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  14. You think its hard to dress a 6 year-old appropriately? Try finding anything close to modest for a 12 year-old!!

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    1. I can't imagine! I just wish there was more to choose from out there- for tweens as well! Good luck to you!

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  15. I remember those days. My youngest turn 13 next month. I remember looking at the little girl dresses and thinking, "Why are they all cocktail dresses? I don't know many little girls who attend cocktail parties." Get you sewing machines now because when they are forced to shop the junior department, it's worse. Two of my three girls cannot fill out a misses and have to shop in juniors. The struggle is real!

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    1. I'm not looking forward to my girls being in juniors at all. I'm sure by that point I will have a well used sewing machine! Thanks for the support! Good luck to you!

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  16. I've had good luck at Lands End for playdresses.....

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    1. We actually have a few pieces from Lands End- we love them! I'm more shocked by what the department stores and places like Target and Wal-Mart are carrying! Thanks for letting me know about Lands End!

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  17. FINALLY! I am so glad you wrote this, I only wish I had written it myself! As a children's clothing store owner for over 25 years, I have witnessed first hand the "hoochiefying" of our young girls. I sold traditional and classic clothing, that made children look like children, not mini adults, or even worse. I recently had to close my store, because not enough young moms were interested in dressing their children this way.

    Over the years, I saw the change happening, but bit my tongue, time after time, as the children became in charge at a younger and younger age. Years ago, a mom would tell me "My 6-year old doesn't want to wear dresses with sashes anymore", but as time went by, the age got younger & younger, until I was hearing "My 1-year old refuses to wear dresses"! I had to wonder who was in charge there, but it really became the norm more than the exception. It became a vicious cycle of grandma buying the pretty smocked dress, and the mom returning it a week later. I refused to change my buying habits, because I believe in preserving a child's innocence as long as possible, so rather than compromising my beliefs, I closed my doors. This is not to say there aren't parents out there who "get it", and realize they have a very small window to dress their children like children, but there just weren't enough to sustain my store.

    I love the fact that you took the bull by the horns & want to create a movement to let the children get their innocence back. Many of my customers were so upset when I closed my doors, that they made it possible for me to keep my online business going. It was actually one of my customers who sent me your article. There ARE still moms who want sailor dresses, smocked dresses, ruffles and lace. In my own granddaughters, ages 4 & 2, I can see a big difference in the way they act when they are in play clothes, and when they are in their pretty dresses. They know they look nice, and they actually ACT nice! I think it makes them feel special to be fussed over & dressed up. I am not saying every girl has to be dressed in ribbons & lace. There are lots of sporty girls out there, and there is also a conservative way to dress them in classic styles as well, in pretty capri sets, and knit wear. Yes, children should be encouraged to make choices early on, but the choices should be from the items that mommy has purchased. I think we are going the way of the tail wagging the dog, and it is discouraging to watch.

    I love your term "bow trained", and it is so true. So many moms give up too early, just because an infant pulls her bow out. Bows are like frosting on a cake, and add that finishing touch.

    I will get down off my soap box now, but just had to applaud your efforts to bring moms attention to this situation. It comes down to this: Whatever the moms support is what will thrive. They have more power than they think.
    Thank you & BRAVO! Connie Todd, Connie's Kids Children's Clothing

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    1. Thank you so much!! We actually follow what you mentioned- I pick out two outfits and she can decide which of the two she would like to wear. Their taste is molded by our guidance. I can't just let my 5 year old make completely unassisted outfit choices! Thank you so very much for your comment and your support! It has been so encouraging to hear that I'm not alone in my battle! Best of luck to you! I'll be looking up your business!

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    2. I own a children's clothing store and this is exactly what we consider when choosing clothing lines to carry! We look for comfortable AGE APPROPRIATE clothing for girls and boys. Needless to say, it's a difficult task! The companies we do find charge a bit more for their pieces than brands found in Wal-Mart, Target and other big box stores. However, although it does cost a bit more to purchase, the clothing is a great quality! You can feel the difference between the fabric used by these smaller companies and the fabric used to create the clothing I'm wearing from a big department store!

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  18. AMEN. AMEN AMEN. I Am Raising 5 Boys But Have Been Appalled At The Clothing Options For Girls. Cato Is A Great Store For Girls And Ladies Clothes. Conservative And Feminine.

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    1. Thank you! With three girls, I had no idea how bad the choices for boys are!!

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  19. Amen!! I have an almost 8 year old girl and spend 3 times as much for her clothes as I do my two boys just to keep her dressed modestly and appropriately. My husband and I call this look pushed by the mainstream big box stores, "Prosti-tots". It's ridiculous. These are CHILDREN!!! My daughter will be dressed modestly and my sons will know that's how girls should dress.

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    1. I love this! It is absolutely ridiculous!! Thank you for the support!

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  20. LOVE your post! Long live Matilda Jane and companies who are like-minded, who make it their goal to dress little girls and young ladies appropriately!!! It definitely costs more, but is so worth it!

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    1. I completely agree! We do cheaper play clothes, but I'm willing to pay more for nice dress clothes!

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  21. I rarely shop in department stores for my granddaughters! They make me cringe! Gymboree is the only store I care for at a mall, but even their clothes are not the "church" clothes I like. I shop at the few boutiques that are left in the US, or I shop on line. I wish so much I had kept all the clothes from my daughter's! You think things would get better with time, but they are so much worse! Such cheap looking clothing, and I'm so sick of every piece of clothing having a saying on it! What happened to just pretty solid colors with no crazy writing on it? Geez!! I love "Smocked Auctions" on line or their website. There is also Lolly Wolly Doodle that is OK.
    I certainly agree on what Connie Todd wrote above, who went out of business for this very reason! Mother's need to stop letting their children choose what they want to wear! Dress your little girls like little girls!

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    1. I agree- thank you so much! I have ordered from all of the websites you've mentioned for this reason exactly! The department stores are awful! You really have to dig to find anything worth buying!

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  22. I have 2 girls: 9 (size 10) and almost 6 (size5), both are incredibly thin and long legged (tragic I know!). Dressing them is beyond difficult. We don't do black, any animal prints or "butt decor", but finding pants long enough that aren't low-rise is impossible. I LOVE Lands End. I have also had a lot of luck with Shrimp and Grits Kids for dress clothes. I thank the dear Lord above for uniforms!

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    1. We also love Lands End and Shrimp and Grits (oh my word SO CUTE!)! And I'm right there with you- uniforms are a wonderful thing! Thank you so much!

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  23. YES! I totally agree! My daughter is 5 and when I buy clothes I usually get a size up, just to get longer wear. I was horrified checking out the 'Girls' section.

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    1. Its a nightmare- we do the same thing! Buy up and that way when I pass them to the next one they'll all get lots of use out of it! Thank you so much!

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  24. As a mom of 4 girls, I agree! I sell Honey and Lace maxi skirts which are totally adorable and lady like in sizes 2-14 kids. https://www.facebook.com/honeyandlaceparties

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    1. I'll be sure to check it out! Thank you!

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  25. Loved your article but WHY did you have to use some ugly language? I want my children to dress modestly but I also want them to use language that is pleasing to God.

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    1. I was a bit fired up after an awful shopping trip! Didn't mean to be offensive- and I never expected this many people to read the post! Thanks for reading it! :)

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    2. Im pretty sure katy isnt your child. She's an adult who can use any language she wants to.

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    3. Purity and modesty are beautiful. A clean mouth shows a pure heart. Respect is given to those who can speak respectfully. Yes, she can talk freely, but many will discredit her due to her vulgar content.

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    4. And many will discredit your words based on your snobby piety. Get over yourself.

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  26. I do shop online clearance to save sometimes. They have adorable children's dressy dresses, sundresses. hats, bows & Sandals, shoes. I totally agree with this article. Luckily my last toddler girl out of 11 Grandbuddies is totally into dresses bows & jewelry~

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    1. I have enjoyed this whole article and the replies. the entire female clothing issue has needed to be brought out in the open for years. Its like we are raising a generation of street walkers. As a child of the 50s I wore dresses with sashes, had play clothes and church clothes. I know. I know...it was a different era and the clothes we have today were not even available to buy in our day. Times have changed but sadly in the wrong direction. but it's not just babies, toddlers, and teens. we are so youth oriented that everyday I see women in their 50s and 60s trying to pull off teenage clothing. they no doubt think they look like they looked when they were 18, but mostly they look sad and pathetic. Surely there's a designer out there that can design something for this age group that's sophisticated, youthful and age appropriate. and then there's the elderly women, such as my mother who will be 89 this year. This is a HUGE untouched demographic, just waiting for someone to dive into. It is extremely difficult for her to find affordable everyday clothing, that is still stylish and age- appropriate. Remember, we are living longer, not shorter lives.

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    2. I love to shop clearance and Deal of the Day websites! I find ruffles pants and dresses on sale all the time online, thank goodness! Thank you both for your support!

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  27. I have three girls ages 6, 4 and 1. Have you looked at Naartjie? Their clothes are precious and comfy and reasonably priced (especially when they have sales). 90% of our play clothes as well as dressy clothes come from there. You can shop online too if there's not one near where you live.

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    1. I have never heard of it, but I will definitely look them up- I know there are none anywhere near me, but they sound fabulous! Thank you so so much for the suggestion and thanks for the support! :)

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  28. Hi! I love your post! I was looking for a place to email you privately but didn't see anything. I am a fellow blogger over at www.theeversocraftymom.com I do custom sewing and wanted to give you my info...not just trying to advertise here...I know many moms struggle in the same areas with their daughters clothing and if I can be of some help I would LOVE to offer my services! my email is theeversocraftymom@gmail.com I would love to chat with you!

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    1. Hi Susannah! My email is katyhaggerty@yahoo.com I'd love to hear from you!! Thank you for the support!

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  29. Excellent post and I totally agree. I don't have children, but I hate walking through the "children's" department in some stores. Why do some moms want to dress their daughters like child prostitutes? Ugh!!! No!!!

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    1. Its really awful- I can't understand it either! I refuse to buy any of it! Thanks for your support!

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  30. Thank you for saying what so many people think. I was blessed to have a mother who taught me to sew, so I didn't face this struggle when clothing my daughter while she was growing up. We went to the fabric store instead. I know you may think that the clothes some of us make to sell are expensive, but please remember that we are paying $8 to $12 a yard for fabric, thread costs $3 to $5 a spool and we put hours into production, especially garments that have smocking or lots of pretty details. We love making pretty things for your children and our children and grandchildren, but need to be paid more than people working in third world sweatshops.

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    1. Thank you so much! I couldn't agree more! I would never expect hand made clothes to cost any less than they do, and I completely understand why they are as expensive as they are! I don't sew but I can only imagine just how much work goes into each dress. They are works of art! That's why we buy those beautiful dresses for my girls to wear on special occasions :) We love our hand made dresses! Thanks again!

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    2. I agree with Capi. Sewing is my love and passion and I spend my days creating beautiful and classic clothes for children. It is expensive to make a dress or outfit. Many times I have $25-$30 in materials even before beginning to sew. Then it is the hours of smocking/sewing to complete the garment. My reward is seeing how precious the child looks when the garment is completed.

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  31. Yes! That's why I give my sewing machine a workout. It's particularly hard when you have a developmentally very young girl who wears a size 14. Though when I do find something appropriate I don't mind paying the money because I hope it will send a message that this is what people want.

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    1. Thank you for your support! I can't imagine how frustrating that must be! Best of luck to you- maybe we are starting a movement and the classic and modest clothes will become more readily available!

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  32. Hallelujah! Amen! And it gets worse the older they get! My daughter is 10, but she is unfortunately a very curvy ten.....seriously she has the hips and burgeoning bosoms of a 16 year old. Makes me cringe for when she IS 16! We have had to move up to the juniors/young women sections, and it's so much worse there. See through everything, strapless, spaghetti straps, super short shorts, everything made with holes already in them. It's impossible for me to find a one piece swimsuit or a dress with sleeves. I hate it, but I am determined that my daughter will dress modestly and age appropriately.

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    1. Thank you for your support! Hopefully the stores will get the message that the consumers want more classy and modest as opposed to revealing!

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  33. Check out Lands End...they offer quality, modest play-wear. We've been very happy!

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    1. We have a few pieces from Lands End and we love them! Thanks so much for the suggestion! We actually have to order offline from them as well because they don't have any stores near us, unfortunately. Thanks for the support!

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  34. i second the lands end comment. i love their classic clothing for kids

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    1. We love Lands End too, just wish they had a store near us! Thanks so much!

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  35. Ugg - agree with this article. Try having kids that are taller than their age and finding age appropriate clothing normally never mind with all the junk in the stores. Have most success with Landsend, Hanna Anderson and Mini Boden (try to buy on sale otherwise not affordable). But these days my 3 girls have moved over to leggings and t-shirts (from the various sports teams). Cant stand the swim wear options and think Landsend do a decent'ish job of providing options although don't think their swim wear quality is good for kids to last more than a season.

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    1. I have heard Hanna Anderson and Mini Boden are great, I'll have to check them out! And we have a few Lands End pieces and we love them. Thanks!

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  36. YES! When my 5 year old started kindergarten this year I went to Walmart (where I had always found cute Garanimals stuff before) and realized my rather tall child was now wearing size 7/8. My reaction to that section was just what you described. Disbelief. Disgust. Horror. Where were the flowers? The cute animals? The hearts and bows and smiley faces that reflect my child's sunny personality? Why was I flailing around in section that looked like a Vegas dressing room threw up in it?

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    1. Walmart and Target were two of them main stores I had in mind when I wrote this! It is so upsetting to walk in and think you'll be able to grab a few inexpensive pieces only to walk out empty handed and nauseated! Lately they have next to nothing! Thanks for your support!

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  37. I own an online clothing business. We started carrying 3m-6 but as our customers have grown, so are we. We are expecting our first shipment of size 7-8 next week! In the past we have carried "name brand" clothing but have not been too impressed lately so we have decided to design all of our own styles. I am always looking for new ideas and designs. Would love to talk to you and share ideas. P.S. I have a white dress with a seer sucker sash for sizes 5-8 and little brother and sister outfits to match coming in the beginning of April ;) I am a sucker for seer sucker! Would love to set up a time to talk.
    Amy @ small fry boutique (we are on Facebook)

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    1. Thank you so much Amy- I love to hear that your business is growing with your clients! My email address is katyhaggerty@yahoo.com. I'll be contacting you on facebook!

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  38. I am a Grandmother of two boys but I occasionaly take a peek at the little girls section and I feel like I'm at a Grateful Dead concert!! How horrible, black upon black and studs, screen printed tops that are ugly. Little girls are not ugly they are sweet and light. I am grateful that you all will not dress your girls this way. I agree, sooner or later manufactures will get the idea but you have to BOYCOTT this awful stuff that is in stores for children. Thanks.

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    1. Its so discouraging! Thank you so much for the support!!

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  39. I feel your pain. I remember having the same experience when my daughter hit size 6. I took to shopping on eBay for Heartstrings, Gymboree and other brands that let my little girl stay little. The Disney store sizes run very large, so that worked too. When she was 9, we adopted another 9 year old girl, one who had grown up wearing whatever. It took only about a year before she realized that she could look fantastic without wearing short shorts and spaghetti straps. Now they are both 16. The battle continues. Shrugs are an essential part of their wardrobes. Maxi dresses are nice. Jeans are a nightmare. I shop Goodwill and pray something will turn up because finding jeans that aren't skin tight or have a zipper only an inch long because they are super low rise is a lesson in futility. I love Belk because I could always find modest girly dresses up to a size 16, but their Juniors department is appauling. We pretty much end up in the womens section hoping for something that doesn't look like old lady clothes.

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    1. Thank you- I'm hoping that, like you, if I fight this fight now and never bring it into the house, it'll be a less of a problem when they're older, and hopefully they won't want to wear those awful clothes! Keep fighting the fight! Our girls deserve better!

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  40. I found this blog entry linked in the comments on the Matilda Jane Facebook page. You're right on point! I'm trying to keep my daughters young and innocent as long as possible. My oldest is on the cusp of moving out of a size 6 and I cringe knowing I can't get her play/comfy clothes at Carters much longer. She's asked to shop at Justice, but I'm just not ready for that much glitter and sequins! I'll keep them in Matilda Jane, Persnickety, KPea an other Etsy shop clothing as long as possible!

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    1. Thank you so much! We love Carters for play clothes too! We love our MJC! I haven't ordered from the others (yet!) but I drool over Persnickety all the time ;) Swoon!

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  41. Amen! Now, how do we get your blog onto the desktops of top children's designers?!?

    During the Christmas holidays while shopping for my four little granddaughters (ages 1st grade down to 12 months), I went into a large retail store that is very popular in the Southeast and was appalled at the clothing in the little girls' department. I am a high school teacher...and what I saw in that department was the same thing I see everyday in my classroom. I was looking for the dolly & me clothes for my 1st grader and her American Girl doll. She is rather tall for her age and is wearing 7s and 8s. Most of the matching clothes in that size looked like they were designed for mini hookers. I'd rather not pay Gymboree prices for play clothes, but I will do that before I buy sequined peace signs for my baby girls.

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    1. I had the same experience with the Dolly and Me clothes! I can't wrap my head around it! It sounds like most everyone feels the same- we'll pay more for clothes because we'd rather do that than dress them in anything immodest or trashy! Thank you for the support!

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  42. Seriously, preach it sister!!!! This is so true. I just tried to buy my daughter an Easter dress- in the 2-6 section at two department stores- the selection was appalling. Thank goodness for smocked dresses and sewing machines!

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    1. Thank you!! We feel the same way!!

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  43. I can appreciate wanting to keep our girls young as long as possible. But at some point it is time to put away the smocked dresses...except for maybe special occasions, holidays, family pictures things like that. My daughter is now a size 10-12 and is 8 years old. I make sure she is dressed appropriately and is well covered. However she is dressed like an 8 year old little lady who is learning to choose her wardrobe to go with her personality and be covered. Do we have glitter and sequins in the lint trap of the dryer...oh yeah ALL the time. She is dressing fashionably, somewhat trendy and still covered. I will not keep my daughter in baby clothes or spend a small fortune on these big name brand boutique clothes. At 8 years old, yes she is still young but she is a little lady not a baby and she must learn to choose clothing that fitting with HER personality (not the personality that I think she should have) and that is also appropriate. My girl is still into big bows, she has worn a bow everyday of her life, but she would never and I mean never go around in a smocked dress nor would I make her wear something she so vehemently thinks that belongs on girls 4 and under. She doesn't get to wear everything she wants...but for the mist part we are on the same page. I can only attribute that to our open conversations about what is appropriate and what is not.

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    1. It sounds like you and I are on the same page! My oldest is only 5, so I can still get her to wear the pretty smocked dresses or apron/knot dresses. I'm trying to dress them appropriately and modestly, which is fairly difficult to find in places like Target and Walmart and even some of the smaller stores and big name department stores. As far a boutique dresses and all, we usually just do those for holidays but I'm having a hard time finding casual or even Church dresses in actual walk-in stores, which is why I find myself ordering off the internet so much! My goal for when they are older is just what you said- to guide them while allowing them to make their own choices. And hopefully I will have laid out a firm enough foundation that they will make good choices! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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  44. it will be a cold day in hell before my daughter has justice clothes in her closet. there. i said it.

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    1. My daughter has many, many items from Justice, but she is covered and looks decent at all times. I like the sports items that they have-she plays softball, cheers and is in dance- SHE insists on wearing a cami or tank top under EVERYTHING, because I have raised her to dress nicely. She is almost 9, and I have had many people compliment her (and me) on her clothing. She does not look like a mini prostitute by any stretch of the imagination. And, she still wears a bow (that I make her to match) everything she wears.

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  45. Yeah, there is a lot of trashy stuff out there....fad clothing...but I am able to find many things age appropriate...I get the point, but it's not as bad as the article makes it sound.

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    1. Yes it is every bit as bad as she said.

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    2. ^Thanks!

      Take a walk through Walmart or Target or even some of the bid department stores! Its atrocious!

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    3. I agree it really is not that bad....for those of us not trying to make our 8 year olds dress like 4 year olds. My daughter loves Justice. Do we buy a lot from there...no. But you can get mid thigh and Bermuda shorts from there and the skirts with leggings are cute and age appropriate. Some of it is just downright ugly and oh my 80's. But BECAUSE I have allowed my daughter to have input into the clothes that SHE wears and we have talked about inappropriate vs. appropriate she will be the first to call out the inappropriate items. I honestly feel bad for these older 6,7 & 8 year olds you truly do not want to be put in a smocked dress but because mommy can't let go they are walking around in them. It is so apparent that the child is miserable and hates being put in these frocks. A little glitter never hurt anyone 😊

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    4. I agree about it not being as bad as she said also! I was thinking that the whole time that I was reading the article! of course,some things that are made are nooooo good for the kids and are far from age appropriate,but at the same time,there are many things that I find for my 9 year old girl that ARE very age appropriate! We go shopping at Justice,PS,the Gap,Old Navy,Rainbow clothing stores,Sears,Cookies kids,I buy online from Just Fab for kids,Marshall's,and the list goes on and on!!!! I always find sooo many things that are age appropriate there.Some have glitter,some don't! Glitter isn't "trashy".What IS trashy are the belly shirts,short short skirts,and things that make them look like little tramps,but where there is trashy,you can usually always find things that are far from trashy as well! I don't think that they should sell things like that,but there are dumb parents out there who will put makeup on their 3 year old along with a trampy outfit! it is disgusting! but this article isn't completely correct,since there are so many stores that have nice un-trampy things for little girls!

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    5. forgot to mention,The Children's Place is also a great store for little girls!

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  46. I live overseas and sew most of my kids' clothes, so I'm probably more sheltered than most, but I have to say that on the rare occasions that I do walk into a kids' clothing store in the States I generally feel the same way you do. Right now my girls love to give input into what I make them, and then to wear it - but I wonder whether that will change once we are back home next year and they are surrounded by kids wearing the crap that is sold in the stores.

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    1. Thanks for the support! I'm with you- hopefully we are able to give them a firm enough foundation that they won't want to wear those clothes? Who knows though, being a tween and wanting to be trendy is an ugly combination! With three girls- I'm scared! Best of luck to you!

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  47. Yes! Yes! Yes! I wore smocked clothes (that my mom made) until I was in 3rd grade. (& that was in the early 90s!) I distinctly remember asking Santa for my first pair of jeans. There's something so precious about childhood, and though clothes don't define who we are, I 100% agree in keeping our girls little while we can!

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  48. Amen sister!! You know I read somewhere that perhaps this exposure to more adult looking (or at least teenager looking) clothes is leading to our girls having earlier periods and sexual desires that go with that hormone surge. I for one do not want to be a grandma yet! And so I will also continue to buy online and to sew my own girls clothes for my girls and anyone else who wishes to cover their daughter's body appropriately!

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    1. How awful! Although at this point nothing would surprise me!

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    2. Really? Exposure to certain clothes are causing girls to have earlier periods? You are joking right? That is just a special kind of special right there!

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    3. that just doesn't sound right (earlier periods),that actually sounds quite dumb! I'm sorry,but girls tend to get their period whenever their body is ready,my mom got hers at 9,and she is now in her 60's.So young girls got their periods early starting many years ago! now as for sexual desires,yes I can agree with that part,but it also goes with the crazy sexual music,and the sexual content all over the television,and all over the world!

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  49. After you write part 2 about girls who don't like ruffles and pink, write part 3 about boy's clothes. I have two grown boys and a 5 yo grandson and I have spent years combing stores for boys clothes without tacky super hero, truck, tractor, basket ball or other designs. what ever happened to classic clothing without puffy plastic pasted all over the front. Where are the solids and plaids, the Khakis, polos and button downs?

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    1. I had no idea the boys section was so bad- several commenters have mentioned that shopping for their boys is a nightmare! Thanks for the support!

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  50. I just pulled up 2 of my favorite girls clothing sites, GAP and Boden and both seem to have basics in non-neon, non-glitter options.

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    1. I've never shopped at Boden, but I will check it out! I've found Gap to be hit and miss. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    2. Mini Boden is great! The price point is a little higher than Carter's but a lot of the shirts are similar in style. My girls love the colored jersey jeans they had in the fall.

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  51. You are so right. My daughter and I went shopping for dresses for my granddaughter in a department store one day and I was appalled at the stuff they want to sell for little girls. It is ridiculous! I am a retired school teacher and I saw little girls come to school in these hideous clothes and shoes with heels! It is really hard to find decent little-girl clothing. Boutiques and online are the only places to find good clothing. You get what you pay for though. Most good clothing that looks like something a little girl should wear - smocked dresses and cute outfits - are not cheap. The only thing my daughter buys in stores is play clothes.

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    1. Thank you so much for the support! I usually do get play clothes from the stores and will even get sporty clothes for her to play in from Academy. But I agree, anything outside of play clothes has to be ordered offline!

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  52. I do love this article. You are right a lot of stores do not offer nice clothing that is age appropriate for children these days. However I have found that Gymboree outlet store and Childrens place outlets stores and the local thrift shops are a great place to find age appropriate clothing. These are just a few ideas for mothers out there is you are having trouble finding clothing for your children after the magic girl 6 size. I do belive Gymboree does go up to a size 12 in a girls. just a thought.

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate the suggestions! I've found The Children's Place to be hit and miss lately! A lot of screen printed tee shirts! I do like Gymboree! Thanks so much!

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  53. I have two boys and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for that. I have so much respect for parents that feel the way you do, to keep their girls respectable as long as possible, because when the time comes many, many years down the line, this is the type if girl/family that I want for my boys to become a part of..Thank you!!

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  54. I don't understand why they need to make girls clothes the way they do. Fortunately, more and more clothing stores are coming out with much better choices. If you haven't ever seen it check out Naartjie. www.Naartjiekids.com Hands down the best for little girls even if they are tom boys. Cute enough for mama but can be dressed up or down to satisfy their taste. Plus they wash and wear so well and can be used for every day clothing not saved for dress up. But cute enough you can put them on for Christmas dinner too. And honestly if you watch the sales they don't break the bank either. I usually average about $20 for an outfit from them. No short skimpy shorts and jeans you have to pour them into for my girls. And don't even get me started with the skinny cut shirts especially for toddlers. Toddlers are suppose to be round. ;-)

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    1. I love this! Thank you! I will definitely check them out!!

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  55. Thank you! My daughter was 4 when she moved into a 6. She's tall, that doesn't mean she needs to dress like a teenager! She's 7 now, wears a size 8 (and is close to a 10) and I'm mortified with our selection. It makes me want to cry. Plus she's got a little baby fat on her belly still, she can't wear tight fitting clothing!!! Ugh! She's my baby girl! Why do others want her to grow up so fast?
    Looking through comments for suggestions here is great too! Thanks! :)

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  56. THANK YOU! My kids are tall like me (1 girl & 1 boy). They moved into the "big kid" section early and I was so upset. The girl clothes were exactly what you described and for my little boy it was all black and violent. They were and still are little kids (5&7) and I want them dressed like that as well. I've resorted to spending more money on clothes just to find stuff that is age appropriate :(

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  57. I almost cried reading this because I'm in the same boat. My 5 year old wears larger than a 6 and I can't find anything age appropriate. I hate the glitter and peace signs and screen printed designs. Let's add shoes in there. Oh the shoes. Who is going to put their 5 year old in high heels? Yes she wears a size 2 but that doesn't mean she is ready for the club. Where are those cute little Mary Jane's for kids this size? I so wish places would consider those children that wear above a size 5 that still want to be little girls. I pretty much have to make everything so that she doesn't look like she's going to work the local corner.

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  58. Thank-you so much we are in the same boat. My daughter is in size 7/8 but she only just turned 7 and loves bunnies, bows, ruffles and pussy cats. I struggle to find things that are still cute and girly. I avoid the trendy stuff like the plague. I do have some brand that are amazing for this size - Naartjie and Mini Boden I love. Naartjie is always a good price. Boden is a bit dearer but I buy second hand and it's perfect. And Gymboree always works.

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  59. You have very aptly penned the thoughts I'd had for years. Why would sane Moms want to train their girls to look like sex objects by caving to the so-called fashions being offered. Moms everywhere need to rise up and fire back with a volley of letter to not only the companies making these lines of trash, but the all the stores that carry them as well. Give them lists of ideas like you've mentioned in your post because, obviously, they're clueless as to what cute-and-age-appropriate looks like.

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  60. Thank you! I HATE screen-print and glitter crap. My 2 year old is starting to hit the "little girls" section and I was appalled to find a dress made out of skull fabric. What business does a 2 year old have in a skull printed dress?! I'm so thankful my Mom and other relatives put back classic pieces that she can now wear (some stuff is way too 'vintage' - ie. OLD). It's depressing to walk into a mall and hit store after store and only come out with a t-shirt to go under the pillowcase dress you already own and some clearance rack knit shorts to get dirty in. I love Hartstrings and most Ralph Lauren for everyday stuff but every now and then even they have a lapse in judgement and I just feel like they don't "get it" anymore. Thank you for making me feel less alone in my disgust for this junk!

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    1. My husband and I are tattoo shop owners. my now 3 year old daughter wears skulls due to that being what she grew up around

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  61. I commented yesterday about my love for MJC and wanting my girls to wear it as long as possible. It seems like some people commenting feel we're forcing our kids to stay babies past their time. I would not purchase items at the MJC price point if my girls didn't like them and WANT to wear them. My oldest is just starting to fit into a size 7 and we've had the most like finding items for everyday wear that she loves (and I think are great too) from Mini Boden, Tea, and Tucker + Tate.

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    1. Exactly!! Yes and yes! My girls want to wear girly clothes! I'm going to look up tucker+Tate! I've never heard of them! Thank you so much- I feel like you really understand what I mean!

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  62. It is out of this exact frustration, my new business venture began. I am the co-owner of "Apt Girl" a clothing line designed specifically for the girls 6-12 market. We design and create tasteful, well made, classic clothing that girls love to wear and moms love to buy. We are getting ready to launch our line mid-March. Feel free to reach out to me at unusuallysmart (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in collaborating or in just seeing more about our design philosophy. Thanks for bringing attention to this gaping hope in the kids clothing market that we are passionate about as well.
    Thanks,
    Adrienne Garcia

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  63. I agree and disagree. It really depends where you look and what you are looking for. Some of the clothes (like the crop tops) are meant to be worn as layers. And leopard print? Animal print has been very much in this year for children and adults. It's loud, but harmless.

    I find myself a bit disappointed when most of Kohls is filled with Princesses, Barbie and Monster High, but will just take my money elsewhere when that happens (Old Navy and Target has lots of cute female superhero shirts—as well as cute generic ones). Or better yet, I just go thrift shopping. So much commercialization with very few role models who break stereotypes or are healthy for children to follow.

    But then I think as parents it's okay to pay attention to new fashion changes and even let some of them become part of our kids' wardrobes. If something is cute and fun (and harmless) and our kids love it? Why not let them pick something out we don't like. As long as it's covering their bodies, what is wrong with 80s colors or animal print or (gawd foribid) airbrushing and glitter. This is something that's horrible? Give me a break. :)

    Some of the statements in the blog come off as judgemental and over-obsessed with a child not being an individual—but a doll that must be dressed up only in attire her mother likes (versus what is really safe for the child or comfortable). My parents were very much that. What it did was cut me off from my peers and took away from my ability to make choices for myself—and this impacted my self esteem terribly as a little girl.

    And for the record I'm not saying that people should go out and buy string bikinis for young children or dress them like teenagers, but this over-fixation I see about a little girl's style is as gross as some of the outlandish styles that exist (like string bikinis). Don't like what's out there? No big deal. Buy your daughter a few cute simple t-shirts and some jeans (which you can find anywhere. Don't like leggings? Buy a nice long tunic with them (tunics are *everywhere*—my daughter likes the leggings more than pants). Boing. You're done. If you are going to spend your daughter's childhood being obsessed that she's dressed all the time like a doll, maybe it's time to revisit priorities. Because if you are not treating her like a person (versus a prized toy), how do you expect her to see herself?

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    1. I feel like you misinterpreted me completely. I'm not playing dress up with my little doll nor do I consider her to be a possession. My daughters like to wear girly clothes. I do only buy the clothes that we both like. I pay more for boutique clothes but only for holidays or special events. Which is why this post came to be in the first place- I wish there were more girly clothes that my daughter and I both like, that are affordable and classic available in stores. This comment section has been fantastic because I have learned about several stores that offer just what I'm looking for that I didn't even know existed. I hate that a few people misunderstood my intentions. I was (and still am) a frustrated mom looking for clothes that are classic, age appropriate and affordable. It's as simple as that.

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    2. Haha your kids "like" those clothes because that's what you've insisted on putting on them since day one. "Bow trained"??? Gross.

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  64. I went to the site and gave my bad review. I had two girls and it was even hard then to dress them. I now have 3 granddaughters and I want to buy clothes for them but haven't seen anything worth buying for them.

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  65. Whats wrong with leopard print? Animal prints can be adorable. Especially with Pink or teal trim or monograms.

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    1. I agree! I have no problem with animal print- it was the combination of that with the hot pink on a bikini for a little girl that threw me off! I just personally wasn't a fan of it for such a young girl.

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  66. This article was sent to me by one of my sweet customers. I am a designer and manufacturer of little girls clothing located in Covington, LA. I spied some of my dresses in one of your pictures (pink trellis print peasants) so I am thinking you are not talking about me! Can I post a link to this article on my Facebook page? My company is Robyn & Wren (used to be Blue Juniper). Thanks! Monica

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    1. Absolutely! I actually was one of the photographers that contacted you a few weeks ago- we love your dresses!!

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  67. Love this! I hate some of the clothes that available for my four year old niece. I've actually made her a few sun dresses simply because it was cheaper and they fit her properly!

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  68. I am now a Nana and do have a harder time finding the cute girlie stuff....what I do find I keep here as my daughter in law likes her daughter wearing the trashy stuff....butt crack always showing...gross....It is easy to find boys clothes and it is decent.....Old Navy, kids place are pretty good, just be picky....HATE the fabrics they use on girls clothes, what happened to the good cottons and breathable clothing....I can sew, so can make anything, but would rather buy, as my health hasn't been good....But I totally get what you are saying trashy clothes way to old for them....Boys really no problem....Girls look like little street girls, sad but true....But on the other hand some of us cant afford the big prices that going on line to find the cute stuff costs....it would be very hard for some young families to afford also....so they get what they can....But thanks for your post....Really appreciate it.....

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  69. Just because you insist on sticking your kids in puffy sleeved ruffle smocks doesn't mean normal clothes don't exist. There are plenty of normal shirts and jeans and hoodies for kids to wear. Clothes that are comfortable to play in. No one will ever look at a little kid and think she's sexy because she's wearing short shorts (because kids aren't sexy. Even if they're wearing a *gasp* bikini). This whole post is completely ridiculous and so dramatic over nothing I could barely get through it.

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    1. I agree completely. What's wrong with leopard print on a little girl? I'd rather see it on a little girl than a grown woman! It's a playful print and while some may think that it is sexy, that says more about you than the clothing. I am not a frilly girly girl and have dressed my daughter in star wars and my little pony since she was a toddler. There isn't anything wrong with fad clothing. If it isn't for you that's fine and you have to do what is right for your family. but by putting this article out there, and making judgement like you are it is teaching that you should judge people by the clothing they wear and that isn't what we should teach our children. Yes there are some designers that go over the top but you don't have to buy it. When we don't buy it that sends the message to the designers. Clothes won't keep our children young and innocent but it can teach them to judge and be judged and that makes me sad.

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  70. This message is written by a 29 year-old mother of one, who was parented by a mother of your same views. I attended a public elementary school and was a member of one of the highest income families among my classmates. As a result, I never "fit in" and had a hard time relating to my classmates. Dressing completely different (a.k.a. "dorky") resulted in me being ostracized and ridiculed as a child. Life and successful parenting is dependent on listening, understanding, and balance. Children deserve respect as individuals, and their direct concerns deserve to be given sincere thought. I am not in disagreement with your viewpoint of the state of children's popular fashion. I am only stating that we need to be careful in how our opinions affect our children.

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  71. Have you tried stores like Children's Place, Carter's, and Gymboree? They seem to carry the more classic looks and definitely cute play clothes even into the larger sizes. I am feeling lucky my girl is now in women's sizes and I can find a lot of cute conservative styles for everyday wear at Kmart and sometimes Walmart. I tried out Plato's Closet, the secondhand shop I loved for her kid - sized clothes, Once Upon a Child, but we couldn't find a good selection that fit her comfortably as she has had a real waist her entire life.

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  72. Pink suits mostly all... very pretty... Good Collection

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  73. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more information Glamour Amour | Affordable Fashion Clothes | Online Clothing Store | Trendy Clothes For Womem

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  74. Absolutely agree with you and find we have the same problem here in Australia. I too grab simple pieces from the chain stores and mix and match from what I can find in the smaller online boutiques and businesses. Etsy and Madeit are good too. Kate :)

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  75. Thank you for this article! I felt like you wrote exactly how I feel. Gymboree is not bad, as is Heartstrings and Matilda Jane (though these are all pricier). Carters too, and they recently expanded to size up to 12 (no longer just for babies and toddlers). LL Bean and Lands end have some decent stuff, also appropriate for tomboys. Apparently a mom of a tomboy/science lover wrote LandsEnd for only having overly girly/sparkly clothes and they responded by creating a new line of science oriented shirts with planets, etc on them for girls, too (not just for boys). While my daughter isnt into science tee's, it is encouraging to know that some companies listen to their customers!

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  76. Check out Mulberribush clothes (for boys and girls), and Hartstrings for girls (Kitestrings is their boy counterpart).....they do have more play clothes (not dressy dressy stuff) but full of ruffles, bows, stripes, polka dots, flower/butterfly/cupcake motifs on shirts, not all plastered with glitter. Can be pricey, but look for sales going into Labor Day weekend.

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  77. You could easily write this article from the perspective of a boy mom, only it starts even younger. They have skull & crossbone appliques on infant clothing for boys. Once you get out of baby clothes and into the "T" clothes, everything looks like it belongs on a teenager. Virtually all you can find in a typical store is screen-printed t-shirts with skateboards and skulls. I don't get it but it is sad and frustrating to not be able to find little boy clothes that are more suitable for little boys.

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  78. Thank you. My Lil will b two in October but I see this walking thru the stores. It's sickening. Hopefully this will help make a difference when my lil one is 6. Thanx momma. Keep doing what you're doing. Love it. Jamie & Sophia in West Virginia

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  79. Amen to all of this!! I'm an absolute fanatic about what my daughters wear and they will never in life wear anything from Justice. We're still in the toddler section at Target, but she doesn't wear anything licensed and everything I buy her covers all the important parts and it will stay that way forever!

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  80. As a Mother to 2 daughters and Grandmother to another 2 I totally agree! Now, how about an ongoing list in your blog of great websites to shop - wouldn't it be nice to have a list of little girl's shopping choices? Just an idea... :)

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  81. While I agree that little girls should dress like little girls, as mine does, I have to say that the one thing I disagreed with was the low rise jeans/pants. My daughter flat out refuses to wear anything across her belly button. She just hates it. So, the low rise jeans (and not skinnies...she hates those, too) are the only ones I can get her to wear, strictly from a comfort standpoint. Now, she does wear a long enough shirt with it and an appropriate one. So, while at first glance the low rise might seem too risqué, there are reasons for it. We have to buy her the same for undies, or I'd have a little one without underwear on! lol

    As for Justice...I see some comments above that are true for some of their clothes, but I have found some very sweet shirts there that have been adorable and just a precious as shirts I've found at Gymboree. It's not an all or nothing...it's a pick and choose.

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  82. Zulily.com, southerntots.com and Hanna Anderson :). My favorites!!

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  83. My daughter is grown now, but was very much the tom boy. T-shirts, jeans and long shorts were her go to clothes. The boys dept was often where shorts and pants were bought. She couldn't stand the sequins/ruffles/low cut/skimpy stuff in the girls dept. She is a fine young lady now with a wonderful career on the horizon and still is a tom boy. Why can't they provide for all girls and not just the ones who want to look like hussies?

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  84. I like Hanna Andersson clothing for this age group! The closest store to us is 2.5 hours away in Atlanta, but I shop on-line. Our Belk department store usually carries a few brands of cothing that we like that retain the sweet, girlish look that you can find in size 5 and under. J. Khaki & Rare Editions.

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    1. I really love belk. We don't have them where I am but my mom buys lots of clothes for my 5 year old there. Lots of cute age appropriate stuff without being totally frou frou bowheads!

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  85. I have 2 girls and 3 boys. I just want to say boys clothes are much more modest. Lol! When they get older, there is nothing wrong with the girls wearing they guy sporty shorts.... very modest! And we use guy muscle shirts turned backward under tops ... also very modest. You haven't gotten to that age yet, but you will. My youngest girl is 9 now and does not want to dress like a little girl. Fortunately both our daughters have liked anything I pick out for them. Yay for Bermuda shorts!

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  86. I've happily ventured into the boys section more than once while shopping for my niece. At prepuberty ages the difference between boys and girls jeans are basically only style based. Online shopping is also super awesome.

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  87. This is a great post! I so totally agree. My little granddaughter was 7 in April, and all she wanted was to shop at Justice. Her other grandmother took her, not me. The funny thing is that Shelby hardly wore most of the stuff she bought.
    I've been sewing for her since before she was born, but she is outgrowing many of those styles in that she doesn't want the smocked dresses and ruffled pants. I did get by with making her some ruffled shorts for summer with some matching tops. She does love dresses and skirts so I will keep sewing as long as she will wear them.
    It is not cheap to sew even though I love it. I don't sew for money - only for her - and it gets expensive to buy the trendier fabrics. People that sew for the public never really get paid for their time.
    The problem around my area is so many people think newborns look cute in those black and white zebra prints and camo. I just love a baby to look and dress like a baby! I'm so glad my daughter chose to think like me! LOL

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  88. And, the good stuff (like from LL Bean, Hanna Andersson, etc) is so expensive. Like the unwashed peasants can put box store trash on their kids but not Other Girls. Man alive. BTW, glad I found you and great post!

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  89. I understand and can agree with what you are saying regarding the too-mature fashions available for young girls. I personally think, though, that insisting your toddler become "bow-trained" is just as icky. It's still teaching her that she is decorative. It's teaching her to trade her comfort for the enjoyment of others. Sundresses are comfortable and practical, and I have modesty standards for my kids too. But let's take the focus off of "girls should dress how *I* like to see girls" and on to "let's treat girls like people rather than ornamental objects." If my daughters want a princess dress, fine. If they want leggings and a tunic, fine. If they want sweatpants and a superhero t-shirt, that's fine too. They don't have to dress in a way that I think is charming or adorable, because they are people and not baby dolls.

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  90. What a bunch of utter and complete clothes snobs I see here. Buy what you want, don't buy what you don't want and don't preach to me about what my child should/should not wear. It is simply NOT your business.

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    1. Say this to a strange man who had perverted eyes over little girls who has daisy duke shorts on with writing on the back because her mommy said it is no one's business how she dresses her child. Or does this image change your mind totally. I agree with the writer here. Clothes are being made with less and less fabric. We know have our young daughter's dolled up like our fashion models because some designer said this is now the style. Our young girls are no longer young anymore. I think Mothers need to step up on this issue and stop dressing kids in just anything they can buy but speak out by refusing to just purchase whatever a fashion designer says is now the norm. Like I said I am limited on what I can buy because of financial reasons plus where I live we do not have a lot of options. Sometimes Walmart is where I have to go for my daughter. When I look around the girl section of Walmart I too am appauld by what I see. Shorts that are so short pockets liners are hanging from the bottom. Pants so tight that clings to their skin, shirts so low that it bares to much chest, and dresses (well you can only imagine). Then you have t-shirts that have rock bands on it that my mother grew up listening to or if you look carefully on some they have satanic symbols on them. Yes, my friend, Satanic symbols. When you do come across an outfit that is made just for a little girl like my daughter they are out of her size. I take it it is because mother's still want their young daughter who has now moved to the "girl" section to still be young and look young.
      So if you want to dress your daughter up the way you see fit, then so be it, but for me and my household I will not allow it and as a mom who is a voice for my daughter I will speak out on this issue. And do not be surprised when other's do too.

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  91. I agree with your article. We have 4 beautiful granddaughters and the last thing I want them to wear is something immodest.

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  92. I agree 100%. I have found that even finding non trashy clothes for my 4 year old daughter has been difficult.

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  93. AMEN!!!! I have a 7 year old Second Grader that wears size 10-12! When she was in Kindergarten, she wore size 7 and First Grade was size 8-10. I live in Gymboree and Crazy 8s because they do better catering to young girls who need larger sizes. Yes, I could save money in Kohl's but the clothing is entirely inappropriate. My daughter WILL NOT wear shorts/pants that say 'CUTIE!' on the butt!!!!! I pay more for boutique clothing but at least they offer things I approve of my daughter wearing. And I work their decent sales and clearance. If I had any talent with sewing, I'd go down that route. We mothers as a group need to stick together on this issue.

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  94. I agree! And furthermore, I don't think the tweens who are twice your daughter's age should be dressing like models, either. If you think finding decent clothes for size 6 is hard, just wait a couple years. My daughter is 10, and it is very difficult to find non-sexy clothes for the young girl that she still is. I agree with those who've suggested Gymboree, and I often have luck at The Children's Place, too. The mail-order companies like Lands' End are also good sources. More and more, I'm finding inspiration from boutique clothing and sewing things for my girls myself. Like smocked bishops and apron dresses. ;)

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  95. I totally agree!! A store like Justice is fun, but it makes my head spin. And we have to be ultra choosy. I have been able to get a few cute things in there, but of course we pair things completely differently from what the store does, too.

    I am so blessed that my mom can sew, and I love Zulily, eBay and few other places. I get so much online myself. I am not raising a "prostitot" and I refuse to dress my 9 year old like she is headed out to the clubs!

    It's nice to see that, at least for now, as we move closer to double digits in age, she is developing her own sense of modesty and sensible choice in clothing. We layer, and we wear leggings or shorts under absolutely almost everything. We monitor straps, shirt and short length, and the "wedgie effect". She still looks trendy and cute. My daughter doesn't need to show off her body to be "in style" or fit in.

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  96. As a mother to a grown daughter and nana to two girls, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be when trying to buy suitable, as well as age appropriate, clothing for children. But let me play devil's advocate here for a moment and say designers aren't necessarily making the call, but rather answering the call on children's fashion. If there wasn't a market for cheaply designed (as well as poorly made) clothing, it wouldn't exist. I personally refuse to advertise any one designer, be he/she RL or Juicy, by wearing their name emblazoned across mine or my girls' butts. That's prime advertising space that they should be paying for rather than vicey versey! I also happen to believe overtly sexy clothes are not cute on anyone...be they 5 or 50. For the record, teens have no business being in revealing clothes either. Boys have a hard enough time behaving themselves without receiving mixed signals from girls. Heck...we might as well take them to Frederick's of Hollywood.
    I also think it's a mixed message we are sending to our girls. We want them to become confident, strong young women. They need to know that clothes shouldn't define them, yet we have to see their prepared when they are judged for just that reason. Our society is built around the wrong values...the role models poor excuses. Girls want to dress like the celebrites they see on TV. And sadly, what they see being worn is what they want. And yes, children do want to dress like their peers and there is nothing wrong with that...done within reason. As long as the necessary parts are covered up and not so tight, oxygen is failing, we have to let them make some choices...no matter how dog butt ugly some clothing is. We are the ones holding the checkbooks and should use good sense when using our veto authority.
    Children, including little boys, aren't accessories to make us look good. They are impressionable minds that we have been charged to do the best we can to raise them in a way that glorifies God. Somehow...I don't think the clothes being sold today glorify anyone except the retailer and marketing geniuses that do the store purchasing.

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    1. *they're...I really can spell...honest! I forgot to add...a really thought provoking post. Kudos to you. And a hear hear to all the little bowheads in the world...inlcuding mine!

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  97. Amen and amen to all your remarks! I own a children's boutique and it is difficult to find beautiful and beautifully made clothing that the little girls will wear. We have always had a high standard - which the mommy's "say" they love. Then they come in and reply that they simply can't get their three, four and five year old to wear these clothes any more. Seriously - smocked with bows is what they should be wearing, not having a choice of glitter and tummy's showing. We heard so many, many times - there is no use fighting with her, she simply won't wear it! If they allow (and encourage) her to dress like a teenager at three, what in world is she going to wear (or not wear) when she is 12??? I applaude your sense of style and wanting your little girls to enjoy being little girls as long as they can.

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  98. Thank you!! I must also add this...if tweens/teens would also dress modestly then the 5-11 yr old girls clothes would follow suit.

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  99. Sadly in today's economy Walmart and target are what people can afford not Matilda Jane Or Lands End.

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  100. Agreed!! And there are similar problems for the boys...I can't find anything for my 5 year old boy that doesn't have skulls and bones on it!!! He's not a thug or an undertaker!

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  101. Second-hand, people! Sheesh, it really isn't that hard. Between church rummage sales, thrift stores, garage sales, and consignment sales, I've got both of my kids (one girl, one boy) covered for all the classic-style clothing (khakis, polos, regular-fitting jeans, even nice play clothes - no character screens or labels across the shirt or pants butt, etc) from birth through size 10. Everything is well-made, modest, looks brand-new, and is the kind of clothing that doesn't go out of style (a lot of bright solids, stripes, plaids, nice patterns), so it can be passed down to future kids as well. Stuff from Lands End, Hanna Anderson, Janie & Jack, Children's Place, boutique stores, Columbia outerwear, etc. And so inexpensive! Living on a budget doesn't mean you have to look poor, it just means you need to be smart about where and how you shop. I live near a metro area, so that does help as far as consignment sale options go, but even rural-living families can look to Craigslist or second-hand groups on Facebook. Personally I think shopping consignment is much more pleasant than having to wade through florescent-lit stores filled with cheap, toxic, made-in-China junk. And the money saved makes it painless for us to go all out buying new, high quality shoes, which are much harder to come by secondhand.

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  102. I am in complete agreement. bathing suits especially. My husband bought me a sewing machine just after my daughter who is now almost 4, was born and I have invested in learning how to sew. I really have become quite good and I love to make dresses for my daughter. Another great site that I often find the stuff I would dress my daughter in, is Zulilly.com. Great site with discount prices on everything. But they specialize in children's wear.

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  103. Yes! YES! A thousand times YES! Thank you for putting words to this mom of four girls' thoughts!

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