Not only will it drain your bank account, but it's probably bad for your kid.
"How much should I spend on baby clothes?" This question was emailed to Hadley Freeman, columnist at the Guardian. In her usual sharp-witted style, Freeman replied with a lengthy post on the idiocy of spending a fortune on baby clothes. She used the recent example of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's toddler daughter, North, showing up at Paris Fashion Week in a $3,500 fur -- "precisely what every 20-month-old has been missing from their wardrobe."
I had no idea this problem of extravagant kid clothing was so bad until I read Freeman's column. Living in the middle of nowhere (a.k.a. rural Ontario, Canada) makes it difficult, I suppose, to keep one's finger on the pulse of children's fashion, but the world she described was shocking to me.
"In the past five years, dressing your children as Little Lord Fauntleroy or miniature supermodels has become yet another signifier of aspirational elitism, like carrying a £1,500 handbag and going on £8,000 holidays.
"The usual celebrities, such as Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian West, are now regularly photographed with their daughters in designer mini-me clothes that cost more than the monthly salary of most adults."
While anyone with a head on their shoulders would identify this as a grotesque waste of money, Freeman raises the question of the psychological effect on the kids. First, they can't possibly care about this. They'll get it dirty or grow out of it within what feels like minutes. Price means nothing to them. This is all about the parents using their children as dress-up dolls and seeking likes on Instagram.
This leads to my hot-button issue of how can a parent possibly let their kid play freely if they're wearing such a costly outfit. Suddenly helicopter parents have yet another precious, fragile thing to protect in addition to their child -- and that's hardly what the world needs these days.
Finally, where's a kid supposed to go from there? If you grow up wearing $3,800 Gucci leather jackets when you're eight, unless you're guaranteed to inherit a fortune (and little North probably is), it's hard to imagine being able to maintain such tastes.
So, back to that original question about how much to spend on kids' clothes? The sky may be the limit, but hopefully common sense will kick in before that. I have three little kids and I spend less than $1,000 a year on clothing for all of them. Most of that goes toward shoes, winter boots, rain and snow gear, not so much actual clothing. They are far from being the best dressed kids at school, but they're clean (only until 8 a.m.), tidy, and able to roll in as much mud and climb as many trees as they jolly well please. Their pants cost me $1 at the thrift store, get worn through within months, repaired at low cost by a local seamstress, and then handed down to the next kid. It works, and I'm able to save a bundle for their education funds.
It's known that parents like to live vicariously through their kids -- that a compliment given to a child is a thousand times more meaningful for the parent (as my mother used to say) -- but if you're that serious about your fashion, then save the big ticket items for yourself to enjoy. Your kid couldn't care less.