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On The Edge

For today’s girls, fashion rules were made to be broken.
A few weeks ago a reporter called asking about a blog post that made the rounds …

For today’s girls, fashion rules were made to be broken.

A few weeks ago a reporter called asking about a blog post that made the rounds online, featuring menswear-inspired looks for flower girls. Forget froufrou dresses—the post was packed with velvet blazers, bling-adorned button-downs and sparkly high-tops. She wanted our take: Is it a trend? Are little girls’ copping their big brothers’ style?

My answer was probably less than helpful: Some yes, and some no. Some little girls love the freedom of slacks and sneakers, while others won’t leave the house without sporting at least one ruffle. If there’s any rule in girls’ fashion these days, it’s this: Throw the rulebook out the window.
Just look at our snow-filled fashion feature on p. 38: Who would have predicted that the winter white trend in womenswear would filter down to girls’, too? After all, white isn’t the most kid-friendly of colors. Not to mention the fact that just a few years ago wearing white after Labor Day was considered verboten by the fashion gods—adults included. To our surprise, designers flocked to frosty hues and sumptuous fabrics for Fall ’14 outerwear, creating a veritable wonderland of winter looks.

The frothy tulle skirts and soft sweaters on our fashion pages make quite a contrast to the more gender-neutral style on the popular blog post, which simply proves the point that one little girl’s fad is another girl’s faux pas. The diversity in today’s kids’ apparel can certainly be exciting when shopping trade shows, but it also makes buying a bit more intimidating: Will your little customers love tutus and tiaras or ripped denim and Dr. Martens this year? The answer, according to the retailers we chatted with for our Shop Class feature on p. 16, is one of the top secrets to successful customer retention: Know thy customer. In other words, what works best at a boutique in Brooklyn may not fly at a store in San Antonio.
Stocking your store with what local shoppers love is certainly a recipe for success, but can I add a caveat? Don’t be afraid to take a risk or two. An issue of Earnshaw’s from 1917 provides retailers with the following layette suggestion: Blue for girls, pink for boys. It’s hard to imagine now, but back in the day, blue was considered a more soothing option for baby girls. By the time WWII rolled around, that rule had been turned on its head and pink has reigned supreme for girls ever since. That is, until the recent craze for gender-neutral hues like green and yellow.

So feel free to stick to a few tried-and-true categories, but don’t be afraid to live on the edge. After all, blue can become pink and pink can become yellow. And white was made to be worn year-round, if you dare.

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