A few months ago, my eldest sister-in-law shot me an e-mail asking me to blog about the current fashion of high-heeled shoes for small children. I put the idea on the backburner until today, when I had to take my daughter shopping for her summer sandals and found myself confronted with wedge heels. In toddler sizes.
My daughter can trip walking across a flat surface. It has taken her months to walk in her plastic princess heels (elevation one-half inch) without tripping every third step and the whole time, she sounds like an elephant on parade. I’m sure as with anything, practice would make perfect, but considering the fact that the first (and last) time she saw me wearing heels she asked why there were poles attached to my feet, she certainly won’t learn through imitation. Which brings up the question: why should she learn at all? High heels aren’t healthy. They won’t make her smarter, faster, or anything other than taller. And last time I checked, there wasn’t a height requirement for kindergarten.
Obviously, I skipped the wedges in favor of a practical brown sandal, sturdy and well-soled. Magically, that sandal was “way too small” but the same exact shoe, in hot pink, was pronounced perfect. In very short order, she had found five pairs of shoes she deemed suitable for summer. I winnowed the grand total down to three, ixnaying both the thong toe and the platform flip-flops. I’m sure if she had looked hard enough, she would have found a pair of kitten heels for me to veto as well.
Now, I expect celebrities to be stupid. I get US Weekly. I know that they spend more on a toddler dress than I spent on my wedding dress. I know that they have lost all sense of reason when it comes to price point. But even I was surprised to see Dorothy heels on a two-year old. Many big box stores sell a similar version – slip-on flats, covered in ruby-red sparkles, average cost under $12. My daughter had a pair and loved them until she had worn all the sparkle off the toes. But I have never, in my life, seen a pair with two-inch heels (listed for $250) until I saw them on a celebrity toddler. I have since seen this toddler photographed in a wide assortment of heels, befitting different seasons, styles, and colors. Why? Why make this little girl into a little woman? What is the goal of dressing a three-year old like a 30-year old? Won’t she have the rest of her life to get bunions, bad posture, and shapely calves? Do little girls even have calves? Aren’t they just legs at that age? I recently stopped into the Disney Store and found a beautiful Cinderella dress, but the size I wanted wasn’t in stock. Imagine my surprise when I got online and realized it was called “Cinderella’s Wedding Night.” A boudoir dress! For a child whose knowledge of boys and girls is limited to “girls have boobs, boys have muscles.” (That gem was courtesy of my husband.) What next, a Victoria’s Secret collection for the pre-k set?
If your child cannot read the designer name on the tag without sounding out every syllable, then she is too young to wear it. I only learned how to say Mizrahi when he did a line for Target and I’ll never correctly pronounce Hermes. I make an annual pilgrimage to Burberry, but the only item I have is a stuffed bear my SIL received free with purchase. (She could afford the purchase; I could only afford the free bear.) My daughter has no concept of brand except for the ubiquitous Disney one. And that’s the way I like it.
Children are not adults; they should not dress like them. Nothing a small child wears should ever be sexy. Cute, adorable, beautiful, pretty, are all well and good, but when your child thinks “hot” refers to something other than temperature, you are in for a world of hurt once she hits middle school. And as for high school, well, as my husband says, time for the convent.
[Note to Aunt C – start prepping because in a few short years, I’ll be handing over a wad of cash and my daughter and letting you have at it. Five pair of summer shoes! I don’t even have one!]