LittleCheer uncovers the curious history of mommy & mini-me fashion... Go on to know about it all:
For more than a century, the matching-outfit fad has risen and fallen in favor, reflecting shifting attitudes toward motherhood and femininity.
Every woman resembles her mother, and this is their tragedy, Oscar Wilde once said.
Mommy-and-me outfits, those frequently creepy-cute clothing clones that tend to leave at least one party looking age-inappropriate, strike early for some women. Celebrity kids have taken "twinning" with their famous mothers to new heights in terms of Instagram likes and media attention in recent years. Mother-daughter attire, on the other hand, has been in and out of fashion for over a century, reflecting shifting perceptions of motherhood and femininity.
According to a fashion historian who studies children's apparel, the matchy-matchy look thrives at "time periods when there is more cultural focus on the family and the mother-daughter relationship." In actuality, the matching style can also indicate wealth: a woman with enough free time to sew—or enough money to shop for.
Mirror-image ensembles are more likely to be for stay-at-home parents. Part of the notion is that being one half of a matching set is pointless if you don't spend large amounts of time together in public.
Sisters (of all ages) have been dressing alike for years, but it wasn't until the early 1900s that mother-daughter clothing became popular. After giving birth to her only child, Marguerite, in 1897, at the then-advanced age of 30, the couturière Jeanne Lanvin started the trend. In 1908, she introduced a high-end kids clothing line, employing the same luxury textiles and avant-garde patterns as her womenswear, but streamlined for younger preferences and bodies. Marguerite acted as her model with her mini-me, and the two were frequently seen walking around Paris in matching couture outfits.
The house's stylized, Paul Iribe–designed logo, which is still used on its labels, was inspired by a 1907 photo of the two of them dressed up for a masquerade ball—complete with matching pointy hats. Years later, Marguerite would admit that the attention was awkward to her, stating, "As soon as I got dressed up all I wanted to do was hide."
Lanvin's designs & creations were too expensive to have a widespread impact, and the Great Depression soon made such outlandish shows of wealth unpopular, even among the wealthy. However, in the late 1930s, mother-daughter trends exploded, thanks in part to the Hollywood publicity machine. Joan Bennett and two of her daughters, for example, posed for press shots in matching clothes in 1935. However, because fashion production and sales were rigorously split by age group, it took some time for the trend to catch on. "Not until last summer did the mother-and-daughter ritual truly become fashionable," Life magazine said in July 1938.
'Look Alike' implying 'Look Young'
The mommy-and-me looks of the 1940s and 1950s were clearly girlish, emphasizing the mother's youthfulness rather than the daughter's maturity.
Ruffled pinafores or skirts with suspenders were frequently worn over frilly blouses with puffed sleeves, with matching ribbons in their hair & clothes more fitting for a child than for an adult. According to fashion historians, if a mother had more than one daughter, she was recommended to twin with the youngest.
Mothers and daughters were identically dressed from head to toe, including their hairstyles, coloring, and accessories like aprons, gardening gloves, and roller skates. While some had thoughtfully adapted adult styles for pre-teens, avoiding exact copies. Mother-daughter sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns were available from pattern firms and fashion publications; identical clothes may also be purchased ready-made from stores & tailor shops.
Rather than dying out during WWII, the twinning trend grew even stronger. "There was a focus on the home front throughout the war, with everyone doing their part for the war effort, including daughters assisting their moms at home. Mother-daughter costumes acted as a kind of civilian uniform, projecting unity as well as efficiency, and home sewing was encouraged as a patriotic gesture.
In the 1970s, the advent of the working woman effectively put an end to the mommy-and-me fad. Even women who didn't work dressed up in sophisticated wrap dresses, trouser suits, and midi skirts, and by the 1980s, "power dressing" had made its way from the boardroom to the street.
Celebrities flaunt their adorable kids in front of tens of thousands of fans on Instagram and on the red carpet, while ordinary parents rely on Facebook and holiday cards.
The mommy-and-me looks, on the other hand, are mainly store-bought these days. Indeed, with brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and, appropriately, the resurrected Lanvin entering the premium children's wear market, the prices are frequently extremely grown-up. However, there are lots of more affordable options, such as LittleCheer Pre-teen kids' clothing.
Though a few half-hearted attempts to introduce father-son styles in the 1950s failed to catch on, family fashions have exploded in recent years as many fathers have become more involved in their children's lives. These collections—which are diverse enough to cover a broad range of ages and genders—offer a less literal vision of twinning, one intended for special occasions, and are often focused on holiday attire, vacation clothes, or sleepwear (or perhaps professional family portraits). That is to say, the new mommy-and-me may be "daddy, mommy, all my siblings, and me."
Check out the best kids' dresses at www.littlecheer.com & get dive into the ongoing fashion trend for your mini-me.