My 10-year-old daughter Isabella loves to play dress-up. She always has, and I bet (like me), she always will. She especially loves to clomp around the house in my high heels, something I've always thought to be adorable and understandable -- though it's been a little startling lately to notice how my shoes are ALMOST starting to look like they fit her. But does this mean I'm going to run out an buy Isabella her very own pair of little girl "mini me" high heels, something that is apparently a trend now?
OH. HELL. NO.
The New York Times has a feature up now about something I find totally disturbing: Makers of kids' shoes are working more and more high heels and wedges into their designs for little girls. Not teenagers. Little girls. Elementary school girls. Girls who should be running around on the playground, pretending to be horses -- not teetering around the hallways mimicking their adult lady teachers or moms.
Let's leave aside the safety issue for a moment. High heels are sexy. Plain and simple. Yes, some are sexier than others; there's a continuum between a subtle, chic low wedge or kitten heel and a sky high platform Lucite stripper stiletto. But wherever you are on the spectrum, it's a sexy spectrum. And there is NO place in this world for a sexy little girls' shoe.
These Michael Kors Kids' Bradshaw Ballet Wedges are $70.30 at Shoe.com.
These Stuart Weitzman Kids "Alabaster" wedges are $54.99 at Zappos.
My daughter would LOVE to buy either of the pair of shoes above. I know she would -- and I would have too, at her age. I also wanted to wear makeup, as she does; and just as my mom did, I'm saying no way, Jose. But shoe designers are now joining the ranks of all those outside forces (like TV shows and even the toy store!) that are making it harder for me as a mom to explain why dressing like a miniature adult is not appropriate.
Trust me, I have so problem saying no. But it's one thing for Isabella to try on the smallest shoes in the women's department for fun, and get a kick out of having them fit. It's another thing entirely for her to see these shoes in HER OWN DEPARTMENT!
I understand that there's a gray area with this stuff -- a gray area that I'll soon be heading into with my own daughter. She's only 10 now, but she's starting middle school in the fall, and I know that in a blink of an eye, she'll be 12. I know that by the time she's a senior in high school, it will seem totally fine for her to wear lip gloss and shoes with heels. There's a long road between here and there, and I know there won't be a clear signpost on the day when those things feel OK. There will be battles, I'm sure, and I hope I can be kind and understanding whil still being firm and making the right choices. It's difficult, but it's so important for our daughters that we set those boundaries. Not doing so is downright dangerous, in more ways than one.
Do you think shoes with high heels are OK for little girls?