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Skinny Jeans For Children?

14/08/2014 16:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Pinching Belly Fat

What do you think about skinny jeans for children?

Do they influence body image at an early age, or would you say it's a just a harmless label widely used in the fashion industry?

Blogger Amy Sheridan from One More Makes Five is concerned.

She has boycotted one major store which promotes jeans for children named slim, skinny and superskinny. She is dismayed by what she calls "clothing propaganda."

On a recent shopping trip with her young daughters, she spotted four mannequins in H&M, all sporting ranges with these titles.

She says: "I don't think children should be pushed into only having a selection of slim, skinny and super skinny.

"I understand that it is only a style of jean but I think in this day and age where body image is heavily criticised I would be mortified if my daughter said she had to fit in skinny jeans and be upset if she couldn't.

"Children's clothes should not be 'size-ist'. I certainly won't be buying any children's clothes from H&M. I've also blogged about it. What justification do they have for putting this clothing propaganda in their shop windows?"

Amy has daughters aged four, five, seven and eight and a three-year-old son.

She says: "My girls can fit in their clothes, they do have skinny jeans that they wear but I buy them from supermarket brands where the word isn't emblazoned all over the tags, so to them they are just jeans.

"Having children's mannequins in the shop window with speech bubbles coming out of their mouths with "slim, skinny and super skinny" coming out then is not right. Children should not feel pressure to fit into types of clothes that are aimed at adults.

"Presenting these styles of jeans in that manner is wrong, having these styles in children sizes does not encourage a healthy body image and can set them up for the pressure of having to conform to a certain size."

H&M reiterate that the skinny tag on a pair of jeans means they are a skinny fit and nothing more.

A spokeswoman says: "The descriptions of slim, skinny and super skinny relate to the style of the jeans, and describe how close the fit of the material is to the leg. This does not relate to the size of the jeans. Such jean style names are used within the industry to describe the fit of the jeans.

We do however take comments from our customers seriously and appreciate feedback."

My friend Helen, mum to Ellie and Rhona, aged 10 and seven, shares Amy's worries.

"Don't forget that in so many current popular stores, alongside so-called skinny jeans, there's also clothes like crop tops and T-shirts emblazoned with inappropriate slogans for girls my daughters' age.

"I want them to dress young, not like a miniature version of an adult – skinny jeans may not be the right fit or shape for a growing young girl to pour themselves into – I know mums who have bought them for their girls and they have to go up a size to buy them because they are so very small, especially around the waist."

Johanna Payton, fashion journalist who also blogs at www.fashiondetective.co.uk says she can see both sides.

"I can see what Amy is saying," she says.

"But I also see H&M's point that "skinny jeans" is a term we use in the industry that means the style of jean, not the size of the person wearing it.

"My son loves a skinny jean and he's a tall strapping lad: certainly not 'skinny' in any sense. But I don't think he would associate the name of the jeans with his own size or body image, nor would I expect him to.

"Any marketing can have a negative or positive effect on children and their body image. Of course skinny jeans could make someone feel negative about curves or waist size.

"Trends will always thrill some and alienate others."

"Young people struggle with their body image whether they are being marketed to or not; it's part of becoming an adult to have insecurities. The term skinny jeans might not be helpful if you take it too literally, but I'm far more concerned about some (not all) young women feeling forced into crop tops, false tans/teeth/eyelashes etc and that pressure is coming at them more from celebrities, the media and - crucially - their peers than from the fashion industry or marketeers."

What do you think?

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