Today is the first Sunday after Labor Day. If you are a woman (or well-bred man for that matter) from the South, you know what this means. The white shoes have been polished, winterized and put away until Easter and the dark shoes come out of the closet for a season. No matter that it is still 90 degrees outside and you are still wearing summer dresses. No matter that the current fashion mavens say it's okay to wear white after Labor Day. We know better.
So, in the time honored tradition of my southern belle fore bearers, I went in search of black patent dress shoes for Grace yesterday. And I searched. And searched. And searched some more. I hit the usual places...Target, Walmart, Kohl's and Belks. I went to Shoe Carnival, Famous Footwear and Rack Room Shoes. I found a pair of ballet style shoes at Payless, but they weren't the dressy shoes I was looking for.
I think what disturbed me the most was the type of shoe that I was finding on the shelves for little girls. Now don't forget that Gracie is five years old. The shoes I was finding in her size were covered in sequins, sporting cheap flowers and/or being supported by a heel tall enough to make me uncomfortable. Then there were the strappy heels for preschoolers that were a pedophile's dream come true. I seem to have this problem every time I search for dress shoes.
I don't want my little girl to look like she's wearing footwear more suitable for a teenager or adult woman. I want her to look like she is five years old, because she is. I realize that I am not exactly the most fashion conscious person, and I'm okay with that. I don't usually like the new styles that come out for women. I'm more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, with the occasional pair of dress Capri's and nice blouse thrown in for good measure. I typically wear dresses on Sunday morning to church, and never wear white after Labor Day or before Easter.
I'm a little old fashioned, but I think that is a good thing when it comes to children's clothing. When I finally found a pair of shoes at Dillard's, I was talking to the salesperson about my difficulty finding shoes. Our conversation turned to the types of dresses and clothing available for little girls these days, and we were in agreement that much of what is out there is entirely inappropriate for them. The skirts are too short and the shirts are too tight. As a matter of fact, I usually have to buy Gracie's t-shirts a size too big because they are intended to be skin tight.
Who wants to see a five year old child's body in skin tight clothes? For that matter, who wants to see a little girl in hoochie mama wedge flip flops (on which she is precariously balancing, trying not to break an ankle), short shorts and a halter top? Children are not little adults. They are children and we are taking away a bit of their childhood by dressing them that way.
So as I made my way home with my black patent leather shoes, I looked forward to seeing Gracie in her new shoes and sweet (age appropriate) linen dress. She's already growing up too fast...I'm not going to speed her along!