Label-Conscious Toddlers: Are Kids Becoming More Aware Of Designer Labels?


I was getting my baby dressed one morning while my 3-year-old son, Miles, watched. After choosing a blue terrycloth Polo outfit, he leaned in for a better look. “Mama, let me see that little man on the horse there. Is that Maddie’s?”

Maddie is a girl in his preschool class.She is always impeccably dressed, usually in Lilly Pulitzer or, yes, Ralph Lauren. She’s the only 3-year-old I’ve ever seen wearing head-to-toe white linen. Most of her clothes are monogrammed, and she always wears matching hair bows the size of dessert plates.

What surprised me about Miles’ comment was the fact that, a) He was aware of clothing labels and, b) He associated them with a particular classmate. Already!

Now, when I was in junior high, I coveted Benetton and Esprit clothing. I was so obsessed with these labels that I forced my mom to take me on regular pilgrimages to the Esprit outlet in San Francisco whenever we went there to visit relatives. But I was 12, not three!

Although I dress my boys in T-shirts from Target, sale racks and the occasional pieces from Baby Gap or Gymboree, as a busy mom every now and then – say, when we’re dressing up for a school event or invited to a party at a wealthy friend’s house – I hear the siren song of designer labels.

So, how should I respond when my kids notice and comment on clothing labels? And when they’re older, should I indulge them with shopping trips to Hollister or Abercrombie or whatever they consider high-fashion at the time?

Abigail Green is a mother of two kids, and she blogs for several parenting sites. A writing instructor in Maryland, her work has appeared in numerous publications including American Baby, Bride’s, and Health magazine.

Photo credit: chatina

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