North West black outfits

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.

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Denene Millner

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.


  1. Denene, I hadn’t see that photo of baby North or is she a toddler now? But either way, you are as always so spot on. And, I love me some black but seriously. As a mother of three boys and one girl, I did go pink crazy and then came to my senses balancing things out. I love me some Target, Baby Gap, Children’s Place and Old Navy. The stuff I can afford. I can go in any Target with a blindfold on and shop for my entire family. Don’t trip. I know the West family can afford whatever they want but maybe what they need is a child stylist for real and a clue. Thank you for always bringing it to us. Loving My Brown Baby! Always!

  2. Yeah the all-black they got her in all the time is too much. I’m basically good and tah’d of Kim and Ye projecting their whole “we’re fashion geniuses who refuse color” thing on their daughter.

    I am also a firm believer in the psychology of color. Babies are stimulated by color and it’s actually wack that they won’t put her in nothing else. Put her in some pink, yellow, green, blue and let her be in a onesie. Sheesh!

    • OH EM GEE! Luvvie reads MBB! I swoon more now…I am also good and tired of their “we aren’t raising a child, we are raising a fashion prodigy who doesn’t needs onesies!”

      My Naija sisteren, you are absolutely right when it comes to the psychology of color and a child’s need to be stimulated.

  3. Oh God, I hear ya! This is one of my number one recurrent subjects – the way that little girls (and boys, too, but surprise, surprise, to a much lesser extent!) get somehow… sexualised (eeew) so prematurely, in today’s society. It’s true, though: even here in Italy, where I live, so across the pond from you, the aisles of clothes for girls are often too similar to what you’d find in the grown women’s department. It’s as if adults were being encouraged to turn their female (especially) children into miniature projections of themselves, mini-mes, or at any rate something they own. Don’t know why, but something smacks of excessive possessiveness in this desire to make children look like little creatures aping adults. I’m probably over-intellectualising, here, but it’s honestly something I keep coming back to, wondering why (under a social and cultural point of view) this is happening.

    Have a bright day,
    (among other things, mother of Guglielmo, 7, & Margherita, 5)

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