Cutting Off Bows

I bought Ada an Easter dress a couple of days ago. As I have done for many, many years I cut the bow off the front of the dress.

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I really hate bows. I always have. I don’t mind a bow on a dress that naturally occurs, say on the sash of a dress. But I hate bows that are sewn on to clothing for no other reason than to just make a dress more . . . busy.  I don’t know if this simple act has somehow been passed on to my daughters, none of whom like frilly clothes. Although I don’t want to give you the wrong idea: I love layers of  ruffles. If I see something with ruffles, I must buy it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Same for polka dots. I cannot control myself. But bows? That is another story.

Things are not so bow-covered now but that wasn’t always the case. Back when India was a baby in the mid-90’s there was a movement to encase little girls in more bows and floppy collars and gobs of fabric than should have been allowed. This movement was called Daisy Kingdom. You most likely have blocked these clothes from your memory, either because you bought it for your kids or you are young enough to have been dressed in this hideous stuff yourself. Or maybe you’re in your early 30’s you only saw these monstrous dresses from afar.

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The distinguishing factor of these dresses–besides the sheer volume of fabric and superfluous use of bows–was the cutesy bunnies and bears everywhere. I have always hated cutesy crap. Somebody made us one of these as a wedding gift and we were supposed dress it in baby clothes (different outfit for each season!) and have it sitting around our house. Naturally it found its way to Goodwill within a few month of the wedding. Who gives a grown woman a stuffed animal?


I was living in Portland during the Daisy Kingdom heyday and we actually had a humungous Daisy Kingdom store downtown. I remember going down there and being simply overwhelmed by the ruffliness of everything. On paper I theoretically liked this stuff. I love little girls in pinafores! But in reality these clothes were much too over-the-top. I don’t remember if you could actually buy these dresses or if everything was just patterns and fabric and it was all do-it-yourself. But you know Mormons and how crafty we are. There was a parade of little girls with crazy curls wearing these dresses week after week at church. And it was just to sickly sweet for my taste.

And there I was picking the bows off of everything. I had to buy expensive socks from a catalog because that were the only place I could find non-ruffly socks (oh yeah, I only hate ruffles when they’re on socks. Or pageant dresses.)  Nowadays you can buy classy kids clothes all over the place but I still find myself picking off bows trying to make my girls look as non-cheesy as possible.

| Filed under Bad Things, IMO, Kids, Stuff to Wear

3 thoughts on “Cutting Off Bows

  1. I seem to remember there was a giant bow on the dresses we wore to Bridgette’s reception. I should have her dig out those photos and e-mail one to us. I am sure the all the hair would outdo the bows. Maybe those are best left in an album on a shelf after all. 🙂

  2. OH MY WORD. I was in my teens in the mid-90s and thank heaven for that, because I remember my mother desperately wishing that my sister and I were JUUUUUUST a few years younger so she could make stuff using EXACTLY those patterns. She had even bought the patterns in some vain hope that we would somehow transform into frou-frou-dress-wearing people (and still owns them, I might add, in the still-vain hopes that my daughter would be a frilly-dress sort of person).

    I’m very glad that someone else avoids the bows and frills.

  3. These dresses sort of remind me of the ante-bellum South with a million yards of material for multi-layered, multi-flounced skirts, more yards for balloon sleeves, a zillion layers of petticoats and pantalettes decorated with yards of lace …. and bare shoulders. Those girls should build muscles simply hauling around that plethora of fabric, ruffles, lace, trims and bows.

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