Easter Dresses Bring Out The Very Worst In Little Girl ‘Kiddie Fashion’

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easter dressesThis past weekend, my mother-in-law and I made our annual trip to the department store with my daughter in tow, ready to pick out the perfect Easter Dress. I knew that it was going to be difficult to balance my conservative MIL’s love of traditional, girly modesty and my daughter’s love of anything a girl in a Disney sitcom might wear. I was prepared to play moderator between the two extremes. But I had no idea just how awful the “kiddie fashion” was for Easter dresses.

As I walked between the racks of my local Von Maur, it was like I visited two separate stores. One side was filled with frilly dresses that I could have worn as a child. They had petticoats and matching hairbows and every bit of childish preciousness that mothers and grandmothers go nuts over. My MIL and I sighed over flowery patterns and small stitched pearls.

The other side was like walking into Justice. Or maybe a store that sells Icecapades costumes. There were lots of sparkly boobs and handkerchief hemlines. It all felt extremely tacky and more than a little cheap. Not inexpensive, cheap.

And what hovered between these two poles? Me. And maybe a handful of dresses that weren’t incredibly formal but still felt appropriate for a young child who would be attending church with her family.

I regretfully shook my head at my MIL’s yellow poufy dress with green flowers and a crisp white collar. I raised my eyebrows at my daughter’s spaghetti strap, hot pick selection that included a matching sequined purse. I brought both parties towards the single rack that tasteful, simple dresses that would hopefully satisfy both parties. (Isobella & Chloe saved me with this beautiful dress.)

I realize that I’m often fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping my daughter in age-appropriate, tasteful clothes. And honestly, I don’t mind that she can veer towards tackier fare. That’s just a part of being a kid. Just like wanting to see your little darling in a fluffy dress with lace and ribbons is part of being a grandmother.

All that being said, the hours I spent in that department store negotiating between the two extremes and trying on dresses were pretty much torture. And some of the selections I saw out there were truly horrendous. Really, sparkly leopard print for Easter? or for any special spring occasion?

Next holiday, I might just sneak off to buy a dress all by myself and refuse to give anyone any input at all. Which kind of stinks, because taking my daughter and mother-in-law to buy special occasion dresses is a pretty wonderful tradition for our family. It’s sad to see such a sweet and innocent activity get so frustrating, all over some truly awful kiddie fashion.

(Photos: BCX at Macy’s, Beautees at Macy’s, Ruby Rox at Nordstrom, Ooh! La La Couture at Nordstrom,  Children’s Place, and Amy Byer at Kohl’s)