Mini-me mode: Is dressing your kids in clothes that match yours cute or just creepy?
The royal seal of approval has been given to one of fashion’s fastest growing trends: the art of dressing as a mini-me. Forget looking at what Kate and Meghan wore at recent Jubilee celebrations, it was Prince William and his eldest son Prince George, eight, who provided the most stylish moments.
first the matching navy suits, blue shirts and brown loafers for an event at Cardiff Castle, then the dark blazer and identikit tie combos worn on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The British royal family have always been fans of passing down outfits from childhood – Prince Louis’ sailor suit is said to have been the same as that worn by his father, William – and keen to pay homage to ensembles previously worn (Kate is a big fan to echo her mother-in-law’s taste for prints), but the mini-me dress-up takes it to the next level, with parent and child both wearing versions of the same outfit , at the same time.
Whether you think it’s cute or cringe, parent/child pairing is undeniably having a moment. First we bought into the idea of matching festive family pajamas and now savvy retailers have realized that the lucrative market for matching outfits doesn’t just have to be for Christmas.
Fashion giants and celebrity endorsements led the way. Dolce & Gabbana launched its first miniature line in 2012 with Beyonce and daughter Blue Ivy quickly spotted in matching print dresses from the brand’s line in 2014. The appearance of mother and daughter in matching print dresses The €5,000 D&G Ortensia on a visit to the museum for Ice Cream’s Mother’s Day in 2017 blew up the internet.
Gucci, Burberry and a host of other big names followed suit. The fact that major fashion houses were on board, combined with the number of famous and stylish families embracing the trend, gave it credibility. Kim Kardashian and Serena Williams are leading the way in matching mothers and daughters, while John Legend and David Beckham have both showcased dashing dad and me looks with their kids.
And now mainstream retailers have jumped on board with GAP, Penneys, Joules and a host of other big names offering mini-me looks. When M&S launched its collaboration with the Ghost label last year, 70 pieces of children‘s dresses were purchased along with the matching women’s version.
Irish designer Heidi Higgins added a line of mini-me dresses to her clothing range last September, at the request of her eldest daughter, Matilda.
“She would see me wearing my own designs and say she wanted one, and of course she always tries to steal my shoes and my lipstick,” Higgins laughs.
Now the five-and-a-half-year-old is delighted to be able to wear the same prints as mum, as are many other mum and daughter customers who have purchased the popular range.
At around $235 for an adult version and $125 for a kids’ dress, it’s not a cheap fashion option, but Higgins feels it’s an important part of the mini-me look. “It’s not for every day,” she explains. “Most people buy them as investment pieces for special occasions like birthdays or first communions, where it will look nice if mom and daughter are in matching fabrics.”
And, with her matching kids’ dresses only available from ages 3 to 10, the designer mom thinks there’s an age limit on matching outfits. “I think maybe I’ll get to about eight years with Matilda and then she might want to do her own thing, but it’s good that the interest is there now, I’m so glad I did it “, she smiles.
Fashionista mum-of-one Cathy Martin loved dressing up as a mini-me with her daughter Valentina, but the Belfast-based stylist and PR director believes there’s definitely a lifespan for the look.
“I think it’s beautiful with mom and the little ones,” she says. “But Valentina stopped wanting to look like me and all the older girls she looked up to at her Irish dancing school, when she was around seven.”
It is by accepting this inevitability that parent-coach Aoife Lee of parentingsupport.ie said is crucial for navigating the mini-me trend. “It really depends on the age and stage of development of the child,” she explains. “The older a child gets, the more they will want to fit in with their peers and not stand out as different and it’s important to listen to that.”
When children are young, their style will often be heavily influenced by the tastes of the parents, although this does not extend to wearing identical outfits. “And that’s great,” Lee said. “It’s a matter of individual preference for the parent. Where this could become a problem is if the child gets older and starts to resist and get upset.
Dr. Malie Coyne, clinical psychologist and author of Love inside, love outside, accepted. “I think it really depends on the age of the child and if he’s happy, and it’s a bonding experience for him, then that’s fine.”
Older children, she says, should be listened to in their choices, but she is also worried about very young children being put into matching clothes when they are too young to understand or consent.
She also worries that sometimes clothing choices are less about a shared moment between parent and child, and more about sharing ensembles with followers online.
When model Chrissy Teigen posted a photo of her and daughter Luna wearing matching avocado jumpsuits (to celebrate the last day of filming her cookbook Cravings 2) Internet searches for “avocado footprint” increased 35% over the next 72 hours, with subscribers desperate to recreate the look.
It’s this aspect of one eye on Insta that Dr. Coyne finds troubling.
“It’s superficially cute, maybe for an occasion, but if it’s done for the purpose of sharing online to draw attention to yourself, it’s not something what I would be comfortable with,” she said.
“I’d fear it could be part of a bigger narcissism, ‘Look at us! We dress the same! But your child is not a prop to be used in an attention-seeking exercise on social media. social.
It’s just one of the things that deters Dublin-based fashion designer and poet Jan Brierton from matching her outfits with her two children. “It seems like dressing your baby or toddler is much more of an ‘instagramable’ exercise,” she explains.
“And I guess I like to dress my age, so at no time would I have liked to dress in an outfit that my five or seven year old could imitate.”
Plus, seeing her kids, now 10 and 13, develop their own style preferences is something she’s been looking forward to for a long time.
“Fairy wings and rubber boots, sweaters and frilly shorts…from the age of three or four, my daughter had a very specific idea of what she wanted to wear and I always liked to see her mix her favorites,” she laughs.
“But I have no desire to wear the same combinations myself, or at least not at the same time as her, I would not want to bridle her style!”