A recent study by researchers at Kenyon College in Ohio has found that nearly one-third of all girls’ clothing being sold at major retail shops can be considered “sexy”. The study states that most of the offending clothing either emphasizes a girl’s (lack of a) chest or her (lack of a) booty. Kid’s stores are abound with low-cut dresses, short skirts, halter tops, and jeans with embellished back pockets (this draws the attention to the butt).
Personally I choose not to buy my toddlers bikinis, opting instead for those hideously old-fashioned suits with the attached ruffled skirts. However, I slightly question the validity of the study. Abiding by the rules of the study this dress would be deemed “sexy” , since its empire waist and ruched top creates an illusion of breasts. Similarly, this spaghetti-strapped Gap dress would make the list for baring too much skin.
I am not sure how chaste of an upbringing the researchers had, but I do not believe that this trend is something new and that three or four decades ago we weren’t wearing tube tops, and super skinny jeans (the ones with the ankle zippers), bodysuits, and ripped t-shirts that bared one pre-teen shoulder. In fact I distinctly remember my eleven-year-old self sporting a super-short pair of neon Bodyglove shorts with two hand prints on each butt cheek to 6th grade (and I was a rather innocent tween).
I might even go as far to say that the current trend in children’s clothing is more modest than that of my childhood. Most little girls want to emulate the grown women in their lives and hence kid’s clothing styles often imitate those of the adults. While the late 70s and early 80s fashion bared a lot of skin, much of today’s women’s fashion is focused on flattering the body style and minimizing (covering) problem areas. I can honestly assert that the female role models in my children’s lives reveal less skin than the grown-ups I encountered being raised by my hippie parents.
When it comes to my own children’s clothing, I mostly allow them to exert control. While my 4-year-old does own one halter style ballet dress (which she insists on wearing over a t-shirt, to combat its itch factor), one of her favorite dresses is an ankle length, stiff cotton, pink and white striped prairie style dress with puffed sleeves that stop just below the elbow.
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