Do you suffer from fashion transference?

Are you dressing your child how you would like to dress?
Are you dressing your child how you would like to dress?

During my daughter’s Music Together class, I looked around the room and noticed that not one mother (or grandmother, nanny or father) was better dressed than their child. One little girl had a funky wrap-style dress, matching socks, ballet flats and adorable matching barrettes in her hair. Her mother had on jeans and a wrinkly tee-shirt, like most of the parents present.

Erin Blakely, who’s experienced similar dress comparisons in her child’s music class, asks in her essay "The Grit and the Glamour": “Why are we dressing our girls — who will spend the day running and jumping and splashing through puddles — for a night on the town, and ourselves for, well, a day at the playground?”


One reason Blakely gives is that the children’s clothing, especially girls clothing, has became way mature. You can find UGG boots and SEVEN jeans for your toddler, not to mention suede pants and string bikinis. “So dressing like mom has never been more possible,” writes Blakely. “Or rather, like mom would dress — if she wasn't wearing sweatpants.”

I could not agree with her more. The clothing for little girls is IRRESISTABLE these days. And if you’re shopping at Target, inexpensive as well (not so much at Oilily, my mom’s favorite store). How could I say no to a $4 halter top and a $6 jean mini-skirt? I almost feel bad for my friends who have boys.

And the truth is -- I never thought I’d be this into dressing my daughter. I tried to steer clear of all the pink out there, but realized it’s almost impossible. I will never, I had thought, dress my daughter to look older than her age. But, when my sister sent me a box of her daughter’s clothing and there was a black faux leather mini-skirt - I could not resist! For Christmas last year she wore a pink cashmere sweater, the skirt, black tights and black shoes (all hand-me downs) - and several people who saw photos of this outfit commented that it looked like something I’d wear, but with boots. Or rather, an outfit I would wear before  her.

So maybe a leather skirt was a little advanced for a two-year old, but truth is… that’s how toddlers dress these days.

Ok, so we moms are dressing our daughters like we’d like to dress - or how we used to dress before we had them. But will we ever return to our dressing glory days? Blakely offers one explanation of why we’ve comfortably settled into dressing like we did in college: “While kids' fashion has matured, adult styles have regressed, as schlubby adult clothing has moved out of our closets and into the realm of socially acceptable streetwear. Blue jeans and T-shirts have become allowable in all but the most conservative of workplaces.”

Granted there are practical reasons fordressing down when you’re hanging with your kids. My daughter’s maple syrup handprint on my jeans this morning is one. But does that justify my scraggly hair and scuffed clogs?

Blakely puts it so well: “I shudder at the thought of giving up my beat-up running sneakers and track pants. But perhaps a swipe of the mascara brush and a pair of dress flats might not be the worst thing in the world. Because if we continue to abdicate the part of ourselves that we lose in parenting — the free time to groom ourselves, to dress ourselves, to care as much about our own appearance as we do about that of our children — will we be able to get it back? Is there any guarantee, when our kids are older and dressing themselves, that we will return to the women we used to be?”

I used to be more fashionable…when I lived in New York and worked in an office. Maybe I should try to add a little New York to my wardrobe and less Colorado?

Do you dress your child better than yourself?

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