Bling ‘em back to school

It’s back-to-school time… That time when parents rejoice and kids mourn the passing of yet another summer gone by too quickly. It’s time to go shopping for pencils and binders, for crayons and rulers, and for a wardrobe full of clothing designed to make a fourth grade girl look like a budding hooker.  Apparently, the designers of our children’s fashions believe that all little girls want to grow up to be Lady Gaga, so why not start ‘em off young?  I disagree and instead foolishly believe that little girls should dress like little girls and not Lolitas in training, so imagine my dismay when a visit to my local mall revealed that the latest in clothing for the elementary school set consists of chiffon miniskirts, animal prints, and more sequins than a Miss Redneck Toddler beauty pageant.

Even when my 21-year-old daughter was younger, I lamented the fact that middle school girls were dressing like backup dancers for Madonna. In the decade since, it appears that children’s clothing designers have decided not to make a girl wait until she hits puberty before beginning her collection of streetwalker-inspired apparel. Take for example the “new arrivals” over at the popular Justice website. I’m not sure which I find more appalling, the skin-tight animal print leggings, or the sequined one-shoulder circle top that exposes a bare shoulder with only the tiniest of spaghetti straps to hold the thing up in hopes of preventing a preteen wardrobe malfunction. I actually refuse to buy anything at Justice on principle. How can they sell back-to-school clothes when they can’t even spell, as evidenced by the nearly daily emails they insist on sending me, swearing that they’ve got the looks I’ll “luv”? What I’d “luv” would be clothing choices my girls could make that won’t have them feeling like tiny NFL cheerleaders. Of course, Justice is not the only offender. It seems that every retail buyer out there is perpetuating this unfortunate fad.  Even duller-than-dirt JCPenney can hook your 7-year-old up with a nice form-fitting, tie-dyed, cheetah inspired short skirt. Or is that a wide belt? It’s hard to tell when it’s so skimpy.

The most infuriating part about the lack of appropriate clothing for young girls is that the trend doesn’t seem to extend to the boys departments of America. Styles haven’t changed much in nearly half a century for the miniature male population. Racks of blue jeans, khakis and polo shirts still fill the aisles of nearly every department store and discount outlet. Aside from “graphic T’s” that are sometimes too graphic, boys clothing is rarely as offensive as that of their feminine counterparts. Sure, you could buy your sons those pants that hang down so low that you can see their underwear – all of their underwear — but if you simply add a belt, voila! Problem solved.

As with every kind of retail ridiculousness, the horror (or is that whorer?) that is tween fashion is driven by the almighty dollar. Parents are buying this crap. Worse yet, moms are buying this crap!  Whenever I hear a mother declare with a sigh, “I just can’t get her to wear anything else,” I always wonder how their kid became wealthy enough to buy her own clothing. Oh, that’s right, she didn’t. Some little girl’s mother bought that too-short skirt or those blue jeans that rest a smidge above her pubic bone. (The better to show off your thong, my dear!)  Why is it that some women will dress their little girls in this way? Is it because they tire of arguing over fashion choices and just buy whatever the kid wants or, even more disturbing, out of some misguided desire to relive their own childhood, only in a much “cooler” wardrobe? Either way, it isn’t a movement I’m buying into. My girls are already growing up too fast for my liking; I’m not about to accelerate the process.

In disgust, I flee from the mall, determined to find some Diva-approved school clothes before the summer ends.  As I make my getaway, I hold tight to my fist full of dollars lest I be tempted to shove a few bills into the waistband of the pint-sized mannequin in the display window. She really does deserve a tip for having to model such skankery, don’t you think?

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