My Seven-Year Old Does Not Need a Bra, Thank You Very Much

My daughters hate labels.  I don’t mean they hate the “name” brands, I mean they actually hate the fabric labels inside of clothes.  They tend to itch and rub.  They also hate seams, appliqués and embroidery that can be felt on the inside.  In other words, I have to touch everything I buy for them from the inside out.  They inherited this from me no doubt since I have an aversion to all stiff and rough material and have the kind of skin that is easily irritated.  So now that my daughters have gone through yet another growth spurt I found myself heading out to replenish all the basics in their wardrobe with the simple requirement in my mind – no secret agitators allowed.

At first this directive seems simple enough: avoid the graphic laden clothing, stay away from shirring and smocking and hard sewn on images.  But while shopping in Old Navy I encountered something even more insidious, something I never expected in the little girls section – a shelf bra.  I picked up a cute little tank top and there it was, a slab of extra material with a strip of elastic across the ribcage.  All I could think was why?  Why on earth would a seven year old (or 5 or 6 year old since those had them too) need a shelf bra?

This new inclusion of a shelf bra wasn’t just confined to Old Navy.  I found the same thing at Justice clothing store.  Who are these people deciding that our little girls need something like this?  I could understand a lining on something white or pale pink that’s not made of the best fabric, but a shelf bra?  Just this week a British retailer pulled padded bikinis aimed at 7-year-old girls.  They were accused of promoting sexualization of children, but they defended the padding as saying it provided more modesty.  This of course is just ridiculous.

I don’t know if a shelf bra in a little girl’s tank top deserves the same kind of outrage as a blatantly padded bikini, but it seems to stem from the same inclination of a fashion industry that pushes tush-baring low riders and shelf bras for kindergarteners.  I thought all I had to do was look out for clothing that would rub my daughters’ skin the wrong way – instead I found clothes that rubbed me the wrong way for a whole different reason.  So, no I won’t buy the teenage clothes shrunk down to little kid size and buy into the aging up of little girls.  What’s next?  Thongs for six year-olds?  Oh yeah, they already tried that too

This post originally appeared at nycmomsblog

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