Kids in Heels: 21st or 18th Century Trend?

Girls like to wear heels, and the New York Times is worried. And, indeed, if that's their worry, they should watch out: Half of the shoes Steve Madden Kids’ spring-summer collection have heels, and GapKids offers young consumers two styles of wedge flip-flops. Last year, Abercrombie Kids pulled a push-up bikini top off its website in response to public pressure, and Vogue was called “disgraceful and totally irresponsible” for putting a 10-year-old on the cover.

From the Times' "'Mini-Me' With High Heels of Her Own":

Once the stuff of tabloid headlines... wedges and heels for tots and tweens have gone mainstream, turning up in schoolyards and on playgrounds far from Hollywood or Madison Avenue. Industry observers say the trend is part of a bigger, so-called “mini-me” craze in the children’s wear market, linking fashions for children’s clothing and accessories with the latest from mom and dad’s runway, no matter how impractical it may be for a child’s rough-and-tumble lifestyle.

But wait. Tthis is hardly the first time in history children’s fashions have resembled their parents’. In fact, this “trend” might actually mark a return to tradition: Until pretty recently (i.e. the last few decades of the 18th century), young children were regularly dressed as mini-adults. If you think Toddlers and Tiaras is bad, imagine little girls lacing up corsets and bodices. Looser-fitting clothing for kids only came into fashion along with Enlightenment ideas about childhood as a carefree, innocent time.

I don’t mean to get too sentimental here; children also used to labor in factories 14 hours a day. But I bet wedges for 11-year-olds don’t seem so bad after looking at these:

Suri Cruise, are you listening?