So, what: nobody’s going to say anything about all those morose North West black outfits showing up on the front rows of New York Fashion Week? We’re just going to pretend that it’s now perfectly acceptable to dress a 16-month-old girl head-to-toe in black leather, black feathers, black see-through tops, black, spaghetti-strapped, bodycon dresses and, well all-black-everything?
Color me old school, but I don’t understand this phenomenon of dressing little girls like grown women. You know what I’m talking about: Instagram is full of toddlers and pre-schoolers rocking mini versions of their mama’s thigh boots, skirts, fur coats and turbans, as if Oscar de la Renta, Giuseppe Zanotti and Alexander Wang for tots make for just the perrrrfect attire for finger painting, rolling in the sandbox and slinging play-doh at day care. No style, color or price tag seems to be taboo, and any kid who isn’t looking like a page out of Vogue tots is, well, losing.
But what happened to letting kids be kids? Is it against some fashion rule, now, for children to dress like… well… children? I look at those North West black outfits and alternately start shaking my head and scratching. She looks uncomfortable. And itchy. And hot—not “fly” hot but hot hot. And whenever that poor baby falls out—as she did sitting front row between Beyonce and Vogue’s Anna Wintour, riding shotgun on her mother’s lap—I swizzle my neck toward Nori’s mama and daddy and toss a church lady side-eye. I need Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to stop trying to make fetch happen.
Understand, I’m neither a hater nor a prude; I think little Nori is absolutely adorable, even if her parents choose to dress her like she’s a professional funeral crasher and insist on bringing her to grown-up functions rather than letting one of her aunties or grandmamas look after her for a couple hours while her parents are off frowning at cameras. But I am the mother of two daughters, a serious lover of children’s clothing and the president of the “Committee To Let the Kids Be Kids,” and I don’t see nan thing wrong with age-appropriate gear for the babies.
Oh, believe me, when it came to buying clothes for my girlpies, I had my fun. The very day I found out I was having my first daughter, I’d barely wiped the sonogram goop off my pregnant belly before I was off to the store to buy a delicious assortment of dresses and onesies and frilly socks and Mary Janes for my Mari. A full three months before she arrived, Mari had her own closet stuffed with Jacadi and Burberry dresses, skirts and baby tights from Oilily, the entire Gap Baby collection and pretty much every adorable outfit I could find in my two favorite New York City children’s boutiques, both of which were filled with lovely clothes from France and Sweden and Japan.
Though I never minded my daughters dressing in pink, I didn’t subscribe to swaddling them in head-to-toe stereotypical “girl colors.” I was just as apt to dress them up in adorable blue jean overalls, baseball caps and Tims as I was hot pink tutus paired with orange half jackets and ballet slippers. They were adorable from the moment they woke up in the morning, and equally so when they laid their pretty little heads down to sleep at night.
What I didn’t play, though, was dressing up my daughters in black and red. Old school, I know, but where I come from, those colors were reserved for grown ups, harlots and little fast-tail guhls. You simply did not allow it; like make-up, heels and pressed hair left untied and swinging, those colors were reserved for mature girls. Teens. Well on their way to grown.
North West ain’t grown.
I wish somebody would tell her mama and daddy that Kanye’s “vision” and flair for fashion notwithstanding, it’s quite okay to lay down the North West black outfits and let his little girl be just that: a little girl.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.