I saw a girl yesterday wearing a pair of black Doc Martens, the very shoes I coveted for two years during college. But instead of draping herself in enough plaid to clothe half of Portland (as I would have done), she softened the look with a slouchy beanie, a cashmere hoodie, and a pair of distressed jeans. She looked awesome.
Did I mention she was 18 months old?
Welcome to the new age of dressing your baby, when otherwise fiscally responsible parents are eschewing Garanimals and OshKosh B'gosh for shrunken-down versions of their own wardrobes that cost an arm and a leg and will be too small in six months anyway (though they'll live on forever on Pinterest). I used to think it was local trend: Finding a well-dressed baby or toddler in Manhattan is about as tough as hailing a cab. But it didn't take long before I realized that Moncler coats and Dwell Studio lunchboxes are standard-issue in the 'burbs as well.
For this, I credit famous babies like North West. Yeezy and Kim's style icon of a daughter wears diamonds, fur capes, and leather as effortlessly as most of us rock cotton and polyblends. She sits front row at Fashion Week, has graced the cover of Vogue, and serves as Aunt Kylie's sartorial lodestar. Her fashion risks are tabloid fodder, and designers are lining up to dress her. All this before her second birthday.
But it's not just celebutots who have better closets than you and me. Three-year-old London Scout (pictured) is making waves and racking up followers on Instagram with her mohair sweaters, turbans, and crossbody bags, all of which can be conveniently shopped on her site, Scout the City.
The fashion industry has clearly picked up on its cue. How else to explain the explosion of sophisticated, dry-clean-only clothes for babies and toddlers? Major designers like Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, and Karl Lagerfeld offer their own high-end children's lines, while a smaller company in Spain is now selling streetwise sneaker-booties (handmade, naturally) that are adorable but also cost a cool 60-80 Euros a piece.
Perhaps the easy accessibility of pint-sized fashion is a slippery slope for us parents: We're just a click or two away from making our baby look like a hipper, more pulled together version of ourselves. Which, if we're being honest, helps make us look a little hipper and more pulled together, too. We just have to be willing to pay for it, which I am not. I can appreciate the suppleness of Gucci's baby leather jacket (yours for just $1,450) or the comfort of J Crew's cashmere baby leggings ($98) as much as the next gal, but there's zero chance I'd fork over hard-earned money for either of them. I pepper my son's wardrobe with a few pricier purchases, but by and large, I prefer clothes that he can actually be a kid in—meaning they should be durable, washable or, at the very least, on sale.
But how about you? What kinds of clothes do you buy for your baby? Would you spend big bucks on them?
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget
Image of London Scout courtesy of London Scout via Instagram