Are party dresses conditioning girls into impractical clothes for women?

BONNIE has just got to the age when birthday parties are the most exciting thing to EVER happen to a kid, what with all those ball-pits, pass-the-parcels, party dresses and cakes.

Up until the age of three, parties can be a little baffling, but when they reach the grand-old-age of four – as Bonnie will in a week – the socialite is born.

She’s been to two parties in the past two weeks for her best friends Izzy and Alice, which have both led to a dilemma I don’t remember witnessing with the boys: what to wear.

The boys just accepted whatever shirt and trouser or jumper and jean combination I wrestled them into; for Bonnie it seems far more important than that.

She’s been coming home from nursery and putting her summery party dress on just to have tea – and objecting most loudly when sent back up to change.

She seems genuinely conflicted about whether a pretty party frock or Princess dress-up is de-rigueur for a party at someone’s house, or at Wacky Warehouse, or Berzerk.

While I’m trying to coax her into a t-shirt and jeans so she can be more comfortable, she’s wriggling into some multi-layered Rapunzel floor-length ballgown.

I just don’t know where her love of dresses has come from (as you can tell, it ‘ain’t from me). So we’re already compromising: I let her wear her fancy dresses over a pair of leggings and a t-shirt, and wellies if the weather is bad.

At Berzerk last weekend, I bumped into a former colleague and Dad-of-Girls on similar party-marshaling duty. I voiced my concerns about letting her run about the climbing frames and slides in an ankle-length dress, and he laughed. “You’re not used to dealing with girls yet, are you?”

Then he pointed out that just about every girl in the place was dressed in flouncy frocks, with sequined cardies and pretty clasps in their hair. And they were all climbing as high as possible, running as fast as they could, and not caring a jot about having to hitch up their hems to do so.

I guess this is the start of a learned tolerance for impractical clothing that every girl takes into womanhood . . .


Filed under Parenting

2 responses to “Are party dresses conditioning girls into impractical clothes for women?

  1. imaginatemum

    I think you have put up a picture of my girl’s cupboard! It is kind of scary the many layers of pink and tulle we not possess… She is pretty easy to persaude into something more practical for the more rough and tumble parties (soft play, children’s gym, etc). She likes clothes but she likes climbing more!

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