Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Fever

It's not officially spring yet, but already most of the Spring Collection is out the door and Pretty Jane is getting ready for a round of Summer Shop-and-Playdate shows. Amazing! It's exciting to think that this whole venture started as a vision of how I wanted my daughters to dress, and has been so warmly received by mothers from all over!

Here's the short version: I was with my older daughter one day, shopping for back-to-school clothes, and she needed new underwear. I found myself in front of the 7-foot-high black wire rack in one of the big box stores, horrified, a little nauseated, and checking to make sure I'd seen correctly: Low Rise Beauty and the Beast underwear, girls size 6. WHAT?? The only reason a little girl needs low-rise panties is to go with her low-rise jeans (Aisle 7, naturally). What I couldn't fathom was WHY any mother in her right mind would put her child in LOW-RISE jeans!! So she could be more alluring on the playground? So she could show a little more belly to her reading group as they tackled Amelia Bedelia Goes To The Store?

I taught high school for almost a decade. I saw a lot of change in the way girls dressed over that time. Now, from Day 1, I had students who looked and dressed older than I did, but it wasn't until the last few, post-Britney years that I began to see eighth graders in thongs, hanging out the back of their low-rise jeans. Without beating a dead horse (or picking on a stranger who must be so lonely and lost), these girls were modeling themselves on Britney and others like her, based on what they saw in the tabloids (and New york Times, since now an idividual's most painful moments are considered news-worthy)--and honestly, I don't want my girls making life choices based on Britney's, or facing the struggles that she faces. And like it or not, resist or not, how our girls dress is one way they try on different identities. I don't want them test-driving "Britney" as an identity. They are worth so much more than what she is experiencing--and has yet to face.

I began this business as a means of offering other moms--and myself, truthfully--a resource for our growing girls. No one WANTS their children to be sexualized at a young age. No one WANTS their girls to see overtly sexual behaviour as normal and natural, certainly not when still in elementary school. This is not about judging behavior--it's about providing a means for our children to model their identities on something other than what prime time TV and music videos have to say about who a tween girl is and should be.

Wow. I'm surprised at how much of that spilled out so early in the day! Maybe it's spring fever, the result of our 70-degree days. It's all true, though, and it's where this business gets its vision. Pretty Jane won't put out cropped tops with spaghetti straps or hip-hugger capris for toddlers. You'll never see a Pretty Jane outfit with the word "juicy" across the bum. Our vision is for classic clothes that moms love, that remind us of when you could send your children out to play and only worry that they'd forget to come home when the street lights came on, when your child's playmate didn't have a favorite song listed in iTunes as the "clean" version. Our vision is for clothes that girls want to wear, for years, styles that have moms coming back and saying, "Can I get this in the next size up this season?" so their little ones can keep wearing their favorite dress. Our vision is for tween girls, right in that tough place of half-girl/half young woman, wearing clothes that flatter and make them feel pretty and powerful without exposing them to base ideas of sensuality-as-currency.

I hope our vision speaks to you, and I hope to see you this summer at one of our Shop-and-Playdates. Check out the details at Pretty Jane Trunk Shows.

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