Since baby Harper Seven's birth back in the summer, Victoria Beckham has reportedly sparked a new trend: mini-me dressing. Selfridges recently claimed an 80 per cent rise in sales of mini versions of this season's most sought after adult fashion, and cited the Beckham effect as being influential after Posh and Harper were both spotted in matching grey cashmere.
Poppycock and piffle. As tempting as it is to blame the Beckham clothes horse for every ridiculous trend going (stilts on the school run anyone? Leather leggings for a browse round Matalan?), this 'trend' has been alive and kicking for yonks.
It mainly seems to affect 30-something mums and their toddler daughters, and usually involves an alarming amount of glitter, sparkles and Hello Kitty merchandise rather than high-end designer togs, or little girls wearing inappropriate copies of their mum's grown-up gear. From what I have witnessed it is more a case of the mums dressing like toddlers!
I first noticed it when my son was at pre-school. There was one mum, the wrong side of 40, who had a little girl and a breathtaking line in shared outfits; week after week they would turn up in matching baker boy caps (barf) the same shade of sparkly nail varnish (double barf) and then, in an icing on the cake occasion, THE SAME FLUFFY ANIMAL SHAPED HANDBAG. (It was a panda. Four years on, no amount of mind bleach with remove the stain it left on my brain.)
Since my son has started school and I pay more attention to What Other Parents Do, I have spotted mums and daughters with matching school-girl style bunches (fab on the four year old, slightly less attractive on a moon-faced 40-something), even little girls and not-so-little mamas in matching slogan T-shirts or complementary T-shirts - I don't think I will ever recover from seeing a mum and an eight or nine year old girl in 'no we're not sisters' T-shirts at a soft-play centre.
I asked a couple of my friends with daughters why some mums feel the need to do this. 'Futile and ridiculous attempts to look like a bang on trend young yummy mummy, said one.
'It's only ever the work of mums of only children or just one girl amongst a brood of boys,' said another. A colleague pondered the possibility of it being, 'Some kind of attempt to throw their femininity in everyone's face and show they are every bit as cute as their daughter.'
Not having a daughter myself, the last possibility interested me – could grown women really be thrown off course if their partners, dads, male friends, uncles or brothers started paying their daughters more attention than them? Or if they were used to being told by everyone how pretty they were, could they really see their gorgeous little girl as a rival for compliments and looks-based adoration and therefore want to emulate her?
My friend Eleanor - a mum of two boys and one daughter - thinks some mums do indeed see their daughters as competition. 'I've seen it with some of the younger mums at school, and it's just a pure act of desperation,' she said, 'And there is definitely an element of competition – there really are some mums who just have this overriding NEED to be seen as young and with-it, embracing childish trends like the Hello Kitty T-shirts, and then later the pre-teen and teen style clothes. They think they are still seen as young, when the truth is, everyone is laughing at them.'
Well yes, quite. I thought back to the mini-me combo from my playgroup and how my friend and I would leave every week asking 'Good grief, what next? Adult size pink Lelly Kellys?'
Do we as grown women really have to embrace toddler hair-dos, glitter, fluff and furry finishes to prove we're young at heart? No. Time for some mums to grow-up, perhaps?
What do you think?
Have you seen cringeworthy attempts at mum-and-daughter fashions?
Or do you enjoy sharing glittery nail varnishes and fun accessories with your little girl?