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January 13, 2005

Because You Can Never Be Too Rich, Or Your Kids Too Well-Dressed

departures_dec04.jpgI'm sure you've all read this already, but I've been kinda busy lately and just came across AnneMarie Iverson's article on classic, well-made kids clothes in the December issue of Departures, the American Express magazine for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers:

The image of my two young sons dressed identically in Barbour jackets, gray flannel button-fly trousers, leather Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes, finely woven wool socks, orange Patagonia baseball caps, and navy blazers bearing their school insignia is probably more important to me and my husband than it should be. Our five- and six-year-old sons don't wear characters, not even the rather elegant elephant king Babar. They don't wear black. They don't wear logos (aside from Polo horses, Fred Perry garlands, and Lacoste crocodiles)[umm, earth to Annemarie, that's a lot of logos]. They don't wear polyester. Their sneakers don't feature lights, bells, or superheroes. (Velcro, however, we happily embrace.) And since the boys spend some 12 hours daily in their nightclothes, their Egyptian-cotton pajamas with hand-embroidered monograms, Austrian boiled-wool slippers with velvet trim, and Italian-cashmere robes seem perfectly justified. At least to us.

How do we enforce our slightly dogmatic vision of the well-dressed child? Through careful, almost military-style editing of our sons' closets and by purchasing the perfect pieces in multiple sizes to fit them for the next four (sometimes more) years, preparing far in advance for almost any event and situation. There are also, admittedly, our own personal fixations: My northern Italian husband is inspired by memories of his own custom-made childhood wardrobe to re-create the same elegance for his sons.

While her US recommendations are a joke--Brooks Brothers today is not the Brooks Brothers of our childhoods, Annemarie, even if they DO buy five pages of ads; and are you seriously suggesting Platinum Card holders cross the tracks to JCPenney for baby Levi's when you can get them at babystyle?-- but she's got Europe covered like a cashmere blanket.

Long, interesting, and guiltily appealing story short, in order to dress your kid properly preppily, you have to go to tiny shops in London and Milan, and take a special trip to Veneto--and go to one shop in Paris that sells dresses so wonderful they make Iverson "consider the idea of daughter-producing centrifugal sperm spinning." OK, then...

Surprisingly, even GoldCard holders can read the whole piece--and map out your European shopping spree--on the Departures website.

Clothes Encounters of the Appropriate Kind

posted January 13, 2005 10:05 AM | add to del.icio.us | digg this


American Express should hire me to write for them because that article freakin sucks! Lets forget the stupid American ones for a second, how could she forget Tartine et Chocolat, Daisy and Tom, Dragons of Walton Street, Galeries Lafayette, Simonetta, and so many more! Her choices she does mention are great places, but she forgets so many!

posted by: Patty at January 13, 2005 11:40 AM

Hey, send'em your pitch. You gotta admit, the article DOES make a good case for ditching the off-the-shelf cashmere...

posted by: greg from daddytypes.com at January 13, 2005 12:42 PM

Wow.. AnneMarie must really enjoy being a self-centered spoiled human being. Yay for her!

Let's not spend our rediculous amounts of money on improving life for those around us, or helping the gazillion people effected by the tsunami, or the people who lost their homes in CA's mudslides - we must by Lacoste!

posted by: Amy at January 13, 2005 1:16 PM

There is nothing wrong with buying nice brands for your children. It doesn't make you a bad or self-centered person, unless thats all you spend your money on.

posted by: Patty at January 13, 2005 7:29 PM

Two words. Frasier and Niles.

posted by: Gav at January 14, 2005 8:09 AM

Frasier and Niles? That's too kind. More like the two sons from "Igby Goes Down".

posted by: Anna at January 14, 2005 10:08 AM

come on, we ARE talking about the Amex Platinum Card magazine here; what'd you EXPECT, they'd be recommending Old Navy factory outlet? [oh wait, they DO mention Baby Gap...]

posted by: greg from daddytypes at January 14, 2005 10:58 AM

Which is what makes the whole thing come off as pretentious in the extreme.

posted by: Chris at January 14, 2005 11:01 AM

I would ask if my kids actually gave a crap....the answer is NO. Pulease..cashmere for toddlers!!!
Bad enough that they have to have $200 New Balance's because, in their words..."it prevents arthritis at an advanced age and our knees will last longer becuase we actually RUN in them, Maaaahm" ha. $130max and thats as trendy as this mama gets....and as concientious of your arthritic knees....

posted by: Uma at January 14, 2005 12:01 PM
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