With Stella McCartney's new kids clothing range for Gap recently launched in the UK, there have been lots of articles about fashionably-dressed children and celebrities dressing their children as 'mini-me' versions of themselves. Looking at pictures of the McCartney range, it certainly looks very pretty but I was struck at how 'grown-up' it all seems and can't imagine wanting to dress a little girl in an up-to-the-minute fashionable sweater dress or a cashmere and silk hoodie. Even the less grown-up looking tutu looks more frou-frou than fun.
Yesterday I read of an American study conducted by child health researcher Dr Kristen Copeland, looking at 34 playgroups where children between the ages of three and six were attending. She discovered that those children dressed in pricey designer wear were hesitant to engage in running or rough play for fear of ruining their clothes. Likewise, staff were cautious about encouraging them to join in such activities.
It seems sad to me that children would feel such concern over their clothing that it impinges on their enjoyment and playtime. Of course, if we dress our child in a cute outfit, we all like it to stay looking as good as possible, for as long as possible but we also know that whether it's food, play or a messy nappy - accidents happen.
A few friends and my sister-in-law have very kindly passed on clothes from their children for my son to wear. Hand-me-downs are such a great gift. With babies growing so fast, you could spend a fortune on clothes that last just a couple of months. When my son was christened, another friend (with a selection of more formal outfits to dress her son in when they are in her native Spain) lent me an outfit for him to wear. It was nice not to have to buy something just for the sake of the occasion, that I knew he would never wear again.
I take my son to the park almost every day and there's often a good bit of crawling around in the grass that takes place and his trousers tend to get pretty filthy! On the suggestion of a friend, I now dress him in his 'park' trousers when I know he'll be doing that. A couple of pairs of his trousers have been assigned for the purpose of getting muddy so they don't all get really dirty and in the case of any stains, it won't matter. There will always be the special occasions when we want to dress up our little ones so saving the nicer clothes for those days minimises hassle all round.
There are some adorable clothes out there and I do buy the odd thing that I think is super-cute and can't resist but we should try to have realistic expctations of our children and remember that nice new immaculate clothes probably won't stay that way for long!