Recession Brings Back Modest Kid Fashion

Filed under: Opinions

With the end of the school year looming, moms are shopping for summer clothes for the kids. But here's something I'll bet you didn't think about when you were picking out sundresses and t-shirts: According to a report in Time magazine, $1.6 million was spent on thong underwear for 7 to 12 year old girls in 2002. Imagine what that figure is today!

If the fact that thong underwear is marketed and sold to girls as young as second grade (or that parents are dumb enough to buy it) makes your blood boil, you may also be seeing the silver lining in the current economic slump. According to a recent article in USA Today, as consumers become more frugal, they are also becoming more discriminating, eschewing trendy clothes for more classic pieces with longer fashion shelf life. And since trendy clothes for girls, tweens, and teens have been increasingly sexy, the recession reaction of designers and retailers is to offer less skin and more value – giving moms something to cheer about in these lean times.

Teens are very susceptible to societal pressures and as trendsetters and magazines promote more tasteful options, they want them too. Inevitably, teen trends trickle down to the younger set. And let's not forget about the Obama factor: The cute and classic styles of our First Daughters are bringing back kid fashions that many parents once feared would be lost forever.

But another factor not discussed in the article is the role of parents. As family budgets tighten, kids have less disposable income to make clothing decisions independent of their parents. Have you noticed that there are fewer unaccompanied kids trolling the malls on the weekends? I believe that more moms are joining their tweens and teens at the mall, checking for quality and along the way, directing their girls away from trampier styles.

Unfortunately, experts predict that when the economy bounces back, more revealing fashion will come back too. For our girls' sake, let's hope that's not the case.

What are you buying for your kids this summer? And are you shopping with them, or sending them to the mall to pick out their own clothes?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.