Fashion choices not to inflict on your child

When kids are small, there’s not much you can do to make them not-cute. That said, there are some outfits you just shouldn’t put on a child too young to tell you, “I’m not wearing that.” Here are a few things to avoid.

  • Baby bikinis. Tankinis on a child still in diapers are good, because they provide enough skin coverage to help avoid burning a baby’s delicate skin while still having the bottom in a separate piece to allow for easy diaper changes, but a string bikini like this one just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t provide enough coverage to avoid sunburn; the only purposes of the top are to mimic adult bra-top styles and to enforce senseless rules about how even as tiny babies, girls are required to cover themselves up in ways boys aren’t required to.
  • High heels. A child’s foot is small, and as I’ve mentioned before, it isn’t the height of a heel that’s damaging but the angle of the wearer’s foot in the shoe. A 2-inch heel may be nothing to an adult, but to a child whose foot is half the size, it’s like wearing a heel twice as tall. Your little one will have plenty of time to choose high heels later in life. Meanwhile, have some regard for the fact that her feet are still growing and that any damage to them now will stick with her the rest of her life, and put her in shoes that won’t wreck her growing feet.
  • Shirts with crude sayings on them. You might think it’s funny now to put your kid in a onesie that says “All Daddy wanted was a blow job,” but chances are, there’s going to be a picture of your kid in that shirt, and once your kid is old enough to know about sex, he’s not going to want to think of it as something his parents do. Picture for a moment your parents having sex. Grossed out? Your kid will be too.
  • Anything dry-clean-only. Children play, make messes, spill things, and generally wreck their clothes. All you’re going to do by putting a small child in clothes that you have to worry about getting ruined is to put undue stress on both you and your child. Go for washable.
  • Anything with words printed across the butt. This should go without saying, because what’s tacky for you to wear is tacky to put on your child, but I see it all the time. It’s never a good fashion choice, and even less when you’re inflicting it on someone too young to know better.
  • Plastic shoes. I know they’re easy to care for, but they also don’t breathe. They can cause blistering, and they don’t allow air flow around the feet, which means the child’s feet will sweat and stink. Don’t think the other kids won’t notice and get mean about it.
  • Anything that completely clashes with your child’s personality. If your child is a tree-climbing tomboy who wants to spend her time playing in the dirt and riding her bicycle, she may not be a big fan of pink ruffly dresses that get in the way as she’s trying to play. Likewise, if she prefers to play tea-party with her teddy bears and braid her dolls’ hair, don’t assume camouflage cargo pants will be a good look for her.

Children are people, and while parents are responsible for making decisions on their children’s behalf, a child is not just an extension of the parents. Regardless of what you may think is cute or funny, it’s important to choose clothes that won’t cause injury to the child, stress to the child and yourself, or embarrassment for the child, either now or later. Think about the person you’re dressing, not just about yourself. Your kids will thank you later.

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