Avon Beautiful's Blog

October 31, 2012

Age Appropriate

Do children understand age-appropriate dress?

I know it’s all the rage. I know it’s “cute” and  it’s “cool,” but riddle me this…is it right? “What?” you ask.  Letting children dress upwards of their age. Not to be a fuddy-duddy, but just because everybody is doing it, does not make it a good enough reason for your child, godchild, neice or little cousin to do it.

I was walking in the shoe department at Burlington and I tell you it almost broke my heart to see a pair of heels for a child that couldn’t be more than four years old. They just learned to walk and be balanced and now we are expecting them to manage a heel. I can hardly manage a heel and I’m in my forties. Their bones are still forming and shaping and we allow them to wear a heel because they want to, or it’s “cute” or because Suri Cruise’s parent’s don’t know how to say “no” to their child.

Stop the madness! (Picture from style.chariweb.com)

I blame the consumer for this continuing trend because the supply is only there because there is a demand. The fact that this is the second time I saw this trend in a Burlington Coat Factory and there have been a good amount of months in between the first time I saw the trend to my recent visit —this tells me that the demand has not weaned.

Okay, maybe you agree with me on the baby heels, but this might go down a little harder. Why are little girls walking around in costume jewelry that looks like they should be going to a night at the Met. Forever 21 is one of the stores that teens and preteens get their trough of spectacular bling. The store is called Forever 21, but you will note that ages 12, 13, 14, and 15 through 45 are in this store.

I’m sure that Forever 21 knows the ages of the people who come in and buy their jewelry.  It’s their business to know that sort of thing, but it is not their business to tell teens and pre-teens that the jewelry they are buying is not age appropriate. You might be able to gather that from the name of the store. After all, everyone knows that 21 is that age kids want to get to because they are legal for pretty much everything and yet they are still not old. Heck, some adults would go back and stay at 21 if they could. Not me . . .been there, done that and have plenty of pictures, so I don’t need the tee-shirt.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong for them to shop there, but I’m saying that some of the pieces are just too grown, and who are they modeling themselves to look like anyway? Behind every trend there is usually a celebrity or video girl who little girls are trying to emulate. How do I know? I was a teen and the Bible tells me “there is nothing new under the sun.” I wore Madonna’s virgin bracelets, a key earring to be like Janet Jackson,  had my hair styled in a bob to look like Whitney Houston in the video “How will I know.” These were my top three influences and if you think your child hasn’t admired Rihanna, Beyonce or even Miey Cyrus or Taylor Swift you are probably wrong.

Sasha and Malia have a great example of dress in First Lady Michelle Obama.

The first daughters, Sasha and Malia are pictured with their parents. Both are lovely and very age appropriate…like mother like daughters. (Picture from the Boston Globe)

As a woman, be a good example. for the girls in your life. Give them an example of style and class at an early age. Show them how to dress appropriately for their age and express to them that there are times that they can graduate to receiving cetain privileges. Heels may be 16 or maybe 17, depending on their maturity. Then, when they are able to wear the heel, let them know what type of heel they can wear. A low heel should come first. Then explain the different types of heels. Certain heels are classy, some are funky, and some look like the person wearing it  just got off from the evening shift working the corner. Let them know that they don’t want to look like that.

People do treat you according how you are dressed, and no you may not feel that it is right, but it’s reality. Why should you want to dress like something you are not anyway? If you walk like a duck, expect  to be treated like one. And no, I don’t believe that people have the right to touch you or yell rude and nasty language at you because of your clothes, but the fact is if you don’t dress that way you don’t have to worry about it.

I still remember wearing a very revealing blouse (as I usually did before Jesus became my Savior) and I was quite annoyed as one of my coworkers talked directly to my breast. Yes, that was a jerky thing to do and I addressed him about it, but in retrospect, I realize that the girls shouldn’t have been out there. People have freedom to look, even though men disrespect themselves  as a gentleman when gawking. I mentioned that I stopped wearing blouses like that when I got saved. That was not a decision anybody told me to make, it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit who guided me to see that it wasn’t how I wanted to represent myself or the Lord. He even showed me how it looked when I had to serve someone who came up to me with everything out there. As much as I didn’t want to look, I couldn’t help looking because it was in my face.

Clothes come with attitudes. You walk a little different in certain shoes or when your bust is exposed. You feel a little sexier when your jeans are tighter. But my question is what is a  teen/pre-teen doing feeling sexy anyway? It’s not their time for all of that.  They should feel cute or pretty, but sexy is not for kids.

Again, women—be their example. Let them desire to emulate you. Let their friends say “Your mother/aunt/ cousin/godmother sure does dress well.” They’ll see a respect that can’t be gained with “cheap” and “half-naked.” Besides those things are a dime a dozen these days. Style and grace, however, will always turn heads. Add humility and the beauty that only God can give and you are untouchable at any age.

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