My daughter is at that age when she outgrows clothing approximately three hours after we purchase it for her, which means that I'm pretty much on a first-name basis with the clerks at the local clothing stores. The other day, while searching for a shirt that perfectly expresses my 2-year old's delight at the world, cuteness, love of pink, and femininity (and, of course, costs under $10), I was appalled. As I wandered past row after row of mini-slutterwear, spangled tops, and low-rider baby jeans, I wondered if there were still clothes that would let my daughter remain a little girl. All I wanted were tasteful, well-constructed garments that wouldn't fall apart before she had a chance to outgrow them. I wondered if any such gems were to be found.
Then I saw an article about the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. In an attempt to cash in on their sudden notoriety, the sect has decided to sell a line of children's clothes. The FLDS Dress Clothing Store advocates children's wardrobes that "Meet the FLDS standards for modesty and neatness." The site notes that "Our commitment is to offer quality, handmade, modest, affordable clothing. Each piece is made with joy and care." One can't help but wonder how much joy the young lady on the other side of the sewing machine is experiencing as she puts together yet another pair of sturdy, unappealing jeans. As the website notes, the clothes are certainly modest; in fact, I imagine that even the cast of Little House on the Prairie would find them excessively restrictive. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for dresses that are handmade and designed to hold up to hours of serious wear and tear. An added plus is that these items are made in the USA, which means that my purchase will support domestic polygamists, not overseas sweatshop-running polygamists.
On the downside, the clothes are pricey; the basic dress in my daughters' size runs over $48, and a bathrobe and nightgown set costs almost $65. Added to this, of course, is the fact that the funds directly support a cult that is breaking numerous laws and brutalizing young women.
Looks like my daughter's getting yet another spangled shirt from Baby Phat's "Junior Diva" line.
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He wonders what the Charles Manson line of children's clothing would have looked like.
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