Monday, December 10, 2012

La Très Petite Robe Noire

By Lili Gaufrette for ages two to 12.
          Maybe it's just me. But, I find the mere idea of children of single digit ages wearing Little Black Dresses rather silly, particularly when sized up they could be worn by their much older sisters, their mothers and in some cases their grandmothers. In other words, we're talking LBDs scaled down for children beginning at age two and three.
From Finger in the Nose for ages 4 to 16.
Note leopard print, from LaHalle for ages two to 12.
By Du Pareil Au Même for ages three to 14.
          I could imagine a sweet little girl-like dress in black velvet with short sleeves and a white Peter Pan collar although the same dress could be navy blue or red. I could also imagine that at five or six or seven to nine a little girl might find the idea of a LBD a great deal of fun, particularly if it has a hem that finishes in a flurry of plumes.
Alber Elbaz in his children's collection for Lanvin has opted for navy blue. More age appropriate, n'est-ce pas? Let's not quibble over the design, let's think of it as a taffeta sun dress. Also, considering the price, let's hope this little girl has several younger sisters to amortize the investment.
           However, I think an adult could easily explain that she has her entire life in front of her to wear all sorts of LBDs -- and red lipstick!

         Maybe it's just me; you'll have to tell me.


Kathy said...

I don't love the look, and find it a bit strange. When my daughter was little, she did have a dress that was a mixture of black velvet and cream satin. But, it was very little girlish. Too much around that is sort of mini me versions of adult things.

Murphy said...

I don't think I wore black until I was maybe 18? I did have beautiful party dresses, though, in periwinkle, red, hot pink, etc. LBDs for toddlers seems silly to me - like Suri Cruise wearing high-heeled designer shoes. maybe it's because I think of LBDs and heels as having some sexiness to them they seem inappropriate for little girls.

hopflower said...

Black is not appropriate for children. Navy blue, yes; but the look is too harsh for kids. I did not wear black utnil age 21.

Déjà Pseu said...

Shades of Wednesday Addams!

mette said...

Agreed. However the very first one is cute with the feathers.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I also find it a bit strange...let's let children be children. I do not recall dressing my daughter in any kind of black before age 5. I just don't understand what we try to do children's innocence at times.

ParisGrrl said...

Those seem a bit creepy, reminds me of Sara Crewe in her poverty-stricken wardrobe. Now, if a child really wanted a black dress I don't think I'd have a problem with that--especially with some bright accessories, but it's not a color I'd go out of my way to choose. I got my first black dress at 18, against my father's opinion.

webb said...

I'm with Pam and hopflower. I think one of the problems of young (current?) parents is that they don't make children wait for benchmarks. A friend started taking her grandchildren to The Nutcracker at 18 months - give me a break! I think things are so much nicer when one has to wait for them.

I think 15 or 18 is plenty soon for black dresses.

Tree said...

Oh, it's not just you....

Special black velvet party dresses are a classic tradition, but the general LBD direction is a troubling offshoot of the fashion industry's encroachment of girlhood.

cheeky rose said...

A little black dress for children, why the hurry to see them as mini adult, they are soon grown. I am not keen on black so you can imagine my daughter was never put in black. she did have a beautiful wine coloured velvet dress.

Karen Albert said...

Tish there are so many adorable and festive children's attire...lets let them stay little for a bit longer!

2012 Artists Series,
Art by Karena

Vicki said...

I bought a three-piece outfit for a three-year-old girl once. It was black & white checks, so the black was relieved somewhat. It was a pretty "suit" dress, almost couture, with coat and hat, accented with black velveteen. A fine cloth and exceptionally well-made. I could just envision white tights and black Mary Janes.

But I would never put a child in all-black. I, too, don't think it is suitable. Back in the (long-ago) day, I didn't even wear black as a teen. I seriously do not think I had any clothes which were black until I was well into my 20s and, even then, it wasn't for daytime but for evening wear.

(It's like endless mourning. If the child was an adult, the black would be dressed up with accessories but, on a little tot or kid, you're not gonna drape her in jewelry, you know?!) It's a time in their lives when they can wear all the ice cream colors...the Easter egg colors...or the very bold primary colors...and it's my experience that kids respond positively to color. After all, we do not live in a black & white world. Let her be a flower! Learn the colors of nature.

I have an adult cousin who dresses exclusively in black and white, all year'round in Southern California which, of course, is a very hospitable climate for a variety of fabrics and textures. She is very slim and blonde, not yet age 40; stylish and gorgeous. It's a limited but elegant wardrobe for her as a busy mom on a budget...and she pulls off a lot of good looks with her blacks and whites. What I don't like, is that she dresses her daughters the same way. I hardly ever saw her older daughter, from the time she was in kindergarten, in much of anything but austere gray and black and, in winter, black tights. The daughter, as a child, was "Brooke Shields beautiful," and the face and hair was what drew the eye, certainly not the plain clothing, although I don't think that was my cousin's intent. Awfully drab colors and, I have to say, now that the girl is at university, not much has changed, although the face is even more lovely. Sometimes I want to shout out, particularly at Christmas, "How about some red heels and a killer red dress??!!!" Gosh, when you're a young woman who's got it all, choices are infinite; why not make some new ones? I don't think "drab" is good for any age!

That said, other than around the house, I mostly never leave the house except in black. Sigh.

Duchesse said...

Yes to a dark velvet-even black- party dress with a big white lace collar, no to mini-cocktail under 18.

French children wear lots of navy,but black is another thing.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Not a fan as it looks too Victorian as in mourning attire.
Very sombre and sad.

I'd prefer a crimson or royal blue or even a majestic purple.

Anonymous said...

As a mother of two daughters, both teenagers, what I really don't understand is people who buy designer stuff for their little kids. I know many of these people have so much money, it means nothing to them; but when I see a $300 child's dress, in a catalog, I always picture my little girls running around the yard, rolling in the grass, dripping pudding or grape juice on their clothes....I bought fabulously adorable stuff for them at Target or, for a splurge, Baby Gap or Gymboree. If they drooled on their Dior dress I would be much less chill about it.

I buy them somewhat more expensive stuff now that they have stopped growing (and drooling). But still not designer! Gap, Sperry shoes, maybe some pieces from Anthropologie or Banana Republic. When they graduate from college and get good jobs, they can decide whether to spend their money on designer stuff!

---Jill Ann

Anonymous said...

Oh the uniformity (conformity) of black – how sad to impose this modern standard on our children. My blond hair, blue eyed daughter is 11 years old and never wears black. She has a lovely fair complexion and navy blue is her best neutral colour. She also wears a lot of colour (purple, cerulean blue, yellow). These colours reflect her fresh and vibrant personality in a positive way. A little black dress would just be sad. The only little girl I know who favours black is a dour little soul.

I’m a creative person and hate the conventional wisdom that an all black wardrobe is chic. For some, yes, but for many women (particularly over 40) it is severe and lacks individuality. Isn’t this why servants always wore black uniforms to remove their individuality? I think it is far better to find your best neutral(s) (navy, grey, brown, beige, off-white) and build your wardrobe around these colours. Even non-neutrals (burgundy, plum, olive green, purple, red) can be a great platform to build an interesting and versatile wardrobe. Why not be memorable?

The Gold Digger said...

Oh ick! That is too grim for a little girl. No, no, no.

Trudy said...

My beautiful almost-6-year-old daughter has just gone-almost overnight-from wearing gorgeous girly outfits with leggings (she looks totally quirky and cute) to wanting black suede knee-high flat boots to wear with skinny jeans tucked in "because that's what the big girls wear".


It could be worse I guess, as long as she doesn't go the Kardashian/Real Housewives route I'm good.

rubiatonta said...

At 11, I wore a black velvet jumper and white satin, Peter Pan collared blouse to be confirmed -- because I wanted to. Being a blue-eyed blond WASP-lette, by 11, I was good and tired of navy blue.

I'd wear the same outfit today, sans the Peter Pan collar!

I'm more concerned about the current trend toward Junior Prostitute Wear (TM) than I am about girls who want to wear black -- and it needs to be their decision, of course.

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