Why do Italians Dress Their Kids Like Little Adults?

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Kids should be kids ….right?

 

I mean, that’s a logical expectation of them. They should be able to run around, get dirty, climb trees, play in the sandbox and have a little dirt under their nails, right?

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And to do all of that they need to look like little tree hugging, granola eating hippies dressed from head to toe in Gore-Tex. Velcro and nylon with large sun hats and oversized sports jerseys, right?

 

Wrong!!

 

At least that is what Italians have taught me!

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Kids CAN be kids, even if they are dressed like normal people, some would even say even if they are dressed like little adults. I’ve written here about the Italian philosophy about letting kids play in their “good clothes”.

 

This past weekend, we went to a birthday party and I couldn’t help but take a look around at the well dressed couples and even better dressed kids. A mom with a designer bag and crisp white shirt tucked into her perfectly tailored culottes, accompanied by her six year old in runners, ironed Bermuda shorts and a rolled long sleeved dress shirt. They were the perfect pair.

 

There were at least 15 kids at this party that were wearing outfits I would either wear myself, or dress my husband in, so my question is:

 

WHY DO ITALIANS DRESS THEIR KIDS SO WELL?

During the festivities I made my rounds and started to ask some of my friends this same question. “Perchè gli Italiani vestano I loro figli così bene?” and the response was overwhelming……

 

Most Italians didn’t actually think that they dressed their kids that well at all! At least it was not a conscious effort to “dress” them up.   The polo golf shirts, the co-ordinated two piece outfits, the mini-scarves and accessories….non of it was pre-meditated, it all came naturally.

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And then the answer struck me. Italians dress their kids well, because they dress well. Kids, to Italians, are an extension of themselves, a little, independent piece of their own person. So, if an Italian takes great care to dress themselves a certain way, it is only logical that they dress their mini-me with all the care they put into their own looks.

 

This got me thinking about what a huge industry kid’s fashion has become in the last 10 years. Almost every designer label has a children’s line, not to mention the home decorating lines for kid’s bedrooms and spaces.  You may remember when I went to the PITTI Kid’s fashion fair, where designers from all over the world presented their upcoming collections!

I'm feelin' like Bieber mom, can i take the car?  "No".

I’m feelin’ like Bieber mom, can i take the car? “No”.

 

But you don’t need to go designer and spend hundreds of dollars on a t-shirt to have your kid looking like a mini-me, all it takes is a quality brand that you trust with a nice collection of basics.

 

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Who says only moms and daughters can dress alike? I love dressing up my mini-me!

 

You’ve probably heard of Esprit.  They’re really well known in North America for their sportswear and casual collections, but I was unaware of their Italian shopping site Esprit.it filled with fashion forward trendy collections! The last time I visited their site I was really surprised that their boys’ clothes were so great.  I thought it would be fun to recreate some of my son’s favorite fall and winter fashion looks and from a few looks from the Real Italian Street Style families I’ve featured on the blog!  All of the clothing that I’ve featured was taken from the Esprit.it current Fall 2015 Kid’s Collection and everything is reasonably priced.

Fall Look N°1

Transitioning from summer to fall isn’t easy for adults let alone kids.  You don’t want to over dress the poor child but you also don’t want to leave them freezing when that first autumn chill sets in.  I love layering a collared shirt with a vest for a little more warmth while pairing it with shorts because hey… the sun’s still out!

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Fall Look N°2

Perhaps one of the biggest developments in kid’s fashion is that nice looking tailored clothes are also easy to care for.  Once upon a time parents had to be worried that if their children wore their Sunday best and got dirty it would mean a trip to the dry cleaners or even worse….hand washing.  But now these little people can play all they want and the clothes can be tossed in the washer without a care.

Fall 2015 Winter 2016 Collection from Esprit, boy's clothing

 

Winter Look N°1

This look is from one of the real Italian families I’ve featured before on the blog.  This WHOLE family had great taste but most of their clothes were luxury designer brands, so here I’ve recreated their little boy’s stylish threads at a more accessible price point.

 

Affordable luxury by Esprit.it

 

Winter Look N°2

This little man was barely old enough to walk and yet his duds were oh so chic.  I love the beanie paired with a black puffer coat and scarf.  And I had no idea Esprit also made such great little shoes.  Most of the shoes I’ve styled are from their girl’s line but I think they are more unisex because the colors and materials are gender neutral.

 

Esprit Fall winter look 2

 

Although I’m just scratching the surface as to why Italians dress up their children into miniature versions of themselves, I feel pretty confident in saying…..because they want to!  We all like feeling put together, and if your child is an extension of you, then it makes you feel good to have them well represented.

This post was really fun for me to put together and also made me realize that I’m becoming more Italian each year that passes.  The only thing I’m missing for my son are “le maglie della salute”“the shirts of health”, the cotton or wool undershirts that Italians INSIST their kids wear practically year round to protect them from breezes and over-sweating.

 

Maglie della salute

little boy bag, purse for little boy, man purse, little boy bag

 

He’s also missing a little man bag! After all, sophisticated little people need to carry around necessities like Chapstick, trading cards and cars. Both the health shirts and the mini man bag can be found on Esprit.it and you better believe that I’m going to buy them!

Am I the only one out there that loves dressing my little guy into a Mr.Man?  How do you dress your kids?

 

 

 

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Now onto YOUR style…

 

#REASONSTODRESS Street Style Linkup

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RULES OF THE LINKUP:

#reasonstodress is a linkup intended to inspire everyone to get dressed up & OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Join in by:

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  • bonniemelielo

    So very different than in the US. Here you will see kiddos dressed “to the nines” at a performance of the Nutcracker, for example, and the parents look like they are ready to clean out the garage!!! I don’t get it!! Dress your little one up in their “Sunday best” but you wear jeans and sneakers to Mass???!! We have always “dressed” for the occasion but then it was an Italian American upbringing. Now my girls are very careful as they do not want their little ones looking like “shaggamuffins” – their invented wordage.

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    • this totally made me laugh. For years I worked at the National Ballet of Canada and witness every year the “nutcracker outfits”, and you are SO RIGHT. I mean….out of all the occasions to wear sweatpants is the ballet at Christmas time really an appropriate one?

      btw can I borrow the term Shaggamuffins? I love it!

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  • Dressing kids is so much fun! 🙂 I’m lucky my little toddler doesn’t have too many strong opinions about what to wear, so he lets me dress him how I please 🙂

    Thank you for the link up!

    Away From The Blue Blog

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  • This was so interesting to read! I’ve always loved dressing up my daughter and now that she is older she dresses better than me sometimes!

    Jill
    Doused In Pink

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  • I used to love dressing up my son when he was a kid (maybe it was the designer in me) and when I would travel to Paris for work I would always buy a bunch of stuff for him that I couldn’t find in the States. Kids clothes are so much nicer in Europe and its effortless for them when they dress their kids, like you said. Your little guy is so cute and he looks great as a little model 🙂
    Nora
    http://www.jacketsociety.com

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    • It was definitely the designer in you Nora! You have such impeccable taste I can only imagine what you would have brought back from Paris for him.

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  • GoFashiondeals

    Oh my gosh is he the cutest!! I love dressing my son in cute clothes! I love the matching idea!

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    • The matching was pretty easy to do actually. I usually do this with designer looks that I see, I go back to my closet to see how I can recreate them with what I own! This way it feels like I’m shopping! Thank you so much for coming by and i hope to have you at the linkup today!

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