Childrenswear has changed drastically over the years. If you think back to when you were a small child, it’s remarkable how much more fashion-conscious kid’s clothes seem to be now. Until the 1950′s, it seems that children’s clothes hadn’t moved on much for decades. The conservatism of the previous decades wasn’t completely washed away – these are clothes for children after all – however there seemed to be additional elements that reflected grown up styles of the times.
Post-war to the rise of the Teenager: The 50′s and 60′s
Children’s clothes of the 1950′s and 60′s, particularly the early 60′s, were still very much a holdover from pre-war eras. This is certainly true in the UK, and up until the age of around 13, boys would wear standard grey shorts, simple shirts and sweaters. School uniforms provided a more formalised version of this attire, while long trousers and suits were worn for church.
Girls also shared a formalised look, with dresses that had wide straps over the shoulders, or pleated skirts and simple blouses. For special occasions or for church, girls could wear dressier clothes such as summer dresses or partywear, often with ruffles and bows. As the 60′s progressed, and the influence of the American teenager began to filter across to Britain, older children would adopt these looks. This was, however, frowned upon and seen as a gateway to antisocial behaviour!
From Flower Power to designer labels: The 70′s and 80′s
The 1970′s ushered in something of a free-spirited look, which is undeniably a holdover from the late 60′s influence of Flower Power. Denim became a mainstay for children’s fashion. Jeans (often bell-bottomed), jean jackets and shirts with patches and checked details were worn by boys and girls. The free and easy hippy style began to make way for something a little more spangly, with styles that were closely reflecting grown up fashions. The Disco era was perhaps a little kinder to children than it was to adults, but children of all ages had to survive some particularly savage lapels!
While there were designer labels creating childrenswear before the 80′s, it was this era that really launched the phenomena. Again, the US was highly influential in this push, with sportswear – particularly trainers – leading children to want the ‘must have’ fashions of the time. T-shirts featuring bands and popstars were nothing new, but this really exploded in the 80′s featuring not just musicians but movies and TV show characters.
Grunge, shell suits and the retro look: The 90′s to now
The designer influence was still very much a key part of children’s fashion throughout the 90′s, and another stateside influence was beginning to appear. Along with sportswear and the horrendous shell suit came Grunge. This was an indicator that your child was becoming a teen, as baggy jumpers and acid wash jeans.
There’s still something of that influence which has manifested itself into today’s fashions for children, but the trends are more varied. Children’s fashions have loosely mimicked adult fashions since the 1960′s, but now the differences are closing. It’s easy to buy children’s clothes to create your mini-me, which is great fun for kids and parents. There’s also a leaning to vintage styles too, which is popular for parents that might have a more traditional preference to their kid’s clothes.
Much like adult fashion, the options for children are now broader than ever before, as we have decades of styles to plunder for clothing ideas. You can be sure there’s children’s designer clothes to suit a whole range of styles out there today. Except perhaps the big lapels.
Little World provides an outstanding collection of clothes for babies, toddlers and juniors, with brands such as Petit Bateau, Baby Joules, Mayoral clothing and many more.