Like mother, like daughter: Generations borrow from each others closets

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL AP Fashion Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) Fashion-conscious families are doing some cross-generational dressing.

Grown women are squeezing into miniature Barbie- or Hello Kitty-themed clothes, while their daughters can graduate to True Religion jeans which can cost $120 about the same time they give up diapers. Even some dads get into the act, buying his-and-his vintage rock concert T-shirts for themselves and their sons.

For the working mom who is pretty much on top of trends, her kids become a reflection of who they are. You do for the kids what youd do for your own wardrobe, says Jaye Hersh, owner of the hip Los Angeles boutique Intuition which does indeed sell pricey denim for children and Sesame Street shirts to moms.

When youre walking down the street holding your daughters hand, it makes you feel good when she looks good. Its like having the right car or the right handbag, she says. And for a cool matching mother-daughter look, theres no resistance to the high prices, she adds.

With her trendy, upscale customers it doesnt take long for girls to develop their own fashion sense, but they certainly learn from their parents example.

All little girls still like pink, but its an edgy pink now. They want a princess crown instead of butterflies. The moms who have a sense of style and make that a priority for themselves the kids pick up on it, Hersh observes.

Mattel has teamed with both Benetton and Anna Sui for further fashion credibility for its Barbie duds.

The Barbie Loves Benetton collection is for girls and for the current spring collection features four models: The Ibiza girl has a knit poncho with fringe and butterfly appliques, and camouflage- print capris; St. Tropez girl has denim Bermuda shorts with an empire-waist gingham top; the Osaka girl has a denim miniskirt, graphic T-shirt and vest that are decorated with a Japanese-style cartoon Barbie; and the Melbourne girl has a cropped track jacket and sporty skort.

The flip side of this trend is women often the same ones as the haute mamas who crave the comfort and nostalgia that apparel decorated with icons of their youth can bring them.

Barbie Luxe, a line that debuted last fall, is intended for girls of all ages. It currently features the same babydoll top and skinny jeans by Sui worn by the Anna Sui BoHo Barbie Doll.

When theyre buying Barbie for themselves, theyre drawn to a simpler time and vintage Ts remind them of that. What girl didnt want Barbie? The women probably remember which outfit was their favorite. They also like shirts with Orange Crush, Junior mints, rock bands, Hello Kitty anything that conjures up a happy memory, says Hersh.

Jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino added Barbie items to her collection, including a cameo, pink pearls, drop earrings and a rhinestone tiara. She was a Barbie fan as a child. I loved my Barbie and all of her accessories as a little girl. Barbie lives in this pink sparkling world and has been an inspirational icon to many designers including myself, she says.

The jewelry is intended for adults, but Tarantino says her own daughters, ages 4 and 3, are quite excited about the project.

Tarantino also notes that in a fashion world full of sameness, highlighting favorite childhood icons actually allows the wearer to inject a little personality and individuality.

McDonalds, which only recently launched clothing licenses, has proven a best-seller, especially the all-beef patty T that comes in a Happy Meal box, reports Intuitions Hersh. When parents are buying it for their kids, you hear them say, I used to eat with your dad there, she says.

Celebrities, seemingly always a driving force for trends, are an even bigger factor here: If you see Lindsay (Lohan) or Paris (Hilton) wearing it if a customer sees one of them in a Rolling Stones tongue T-shirt, then the customer comes in looking for that exact one, Hersh says.

Not all of the multigenerational looks are so edgy, though.

Oilily, a Dutch brand that has the style of a modern-day Laura Ashley, dresses moms and daughters in vintage-inspired floral and romantic prints.

Sheri Styles, director of merchandising, explains that the husband-wife design team of Willem and Marieke Olsthoorn starts off with childrens clothing and then adapts prints and silhouettes for older girls and women.

An infants garment, for instance, might be in a miniature floral pattern, which will be blown up for a girl; a teens garment might feature a patchwork that includes that floral print with a complementary stripe; and the womans garment will have a different shape and use that floral print for its trim.

Girls and women seem to like the same colors, things that are pretty, feminine lots of pink and orange. There are those that like blue-green, and thats also a mainstay for us, says Styles. The collection is very much designed with mothers and daughters in mind.

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