The Thinking 

The Proletarianization of Children’s Clothes

June 7, 2012


KAREN writes:

I’m visiting my in-laws in North Alabama, and stopped by the local outdoor, upscale mall. They have a lot of stores that you can only find in large cities, and I enjoy window shopping there and occasionally picking up some stuff on sale. Anyway, I wanted to stop at the Strasburg Children store. The store sells beautiful smocked dresses for girls and jon jons for little boys. It’s the kind of place where you would buy a baptismal dress, or a Christmas dress, or just a set of pretty clothes for your children to wear at church or for a family portrait. At least, that’s what the store used to sell!

I walked by yesterday and was shocked to see the dummies in the display window were wearing fadded blue jeans, skirts with glitter all over them, and shirts with skulls on them. In short, the most vulgar kind of clothing a child can wear.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have some casual play clothes, but if I’m going to get them a junky T-shirt they wear while playing in the mud, I’m going to buy it at a thrift store or anywhere I can pick up shirts for less than $5 each.

The problem with Strasburg Children was the price tag. Most people, and I count myself among them, can’t afford $60 to $100 price tags for kids’ clothes. I can understand that the store may have to retool itself in this economy, but why couldn’t they find a way to sell nice clothes with a more reasonable price tag? Instead, they decide to out-tacky even the tackiest stores, and apparently keep the high-scale prices. I went to the website to find out what was going on, but it just said the site is under construction. I poked around a bit online and found out that the company went under and was bought by a Saudi Arabian company in 2009. They are slowly trying to “modernize” their stores. Good luck with that, I won’t be shopping there again.

                              — Comments —

Sarah writes:

After reading Karen’s comment I felt deeply saddened. It’s true what she says, but it is not limited to this one example. You cannot purchase beautiful clothes ANYWHERE anymore! You have to go online…to etsy for example. I love seeing my daughter dressed up in beautiful, girly dresses of good quality. Of course my little girl has a ton of play clothes for exploring the park, doing arts and crafts, or making mud pies. And yet…dressing her in her “petty” clothes, as she calls them, is one of our shared mother/daughter delights. Last Sunday for church my daughter wore a long, green and white dress with smocking around the neck line, and slightly puffy sleeves. There were beautifully detailed strawberries in the smocking. It wasn’t a terribly formal gown by any means, but it was handmade, lovely, good quality, and very feminine. Everyone who saw her at church had a comment about her dress, and most of the people said something like, “I haven’t seen a dress like that in years, but my grandma used to sew things like this!” It makes me sad because something really special is being lost.

Mary K. writes:

Hartstrings and Wooden Soldier are two companies that make some good quality, more traditionally styled children’s clothing. Wooden Soldier is quite expensive, but Hartstrings has good sales sometimes.

Steve writes:

One place we have been able to get nice, classic clothes for kids is . . . . . the Goodwill Store! Perhaps because the one closest to us is located adjacent to a very affluent neighborhood it seems to have a great selection: Ralph Lauren Polos, Izod shirts etc. We have six children and make it a point to be well-dressed when we’re out in public. Anyway, just a suggestion.

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