Clothing, Children’s

Clothing for children fulfills several important roles. It protects young bodies from extremes of temperature and hostile environments. It absorbs spillage from bodily functions: nappies and protective pants for toilet training, bibs, or aprons for feeding and so on. It accommodates rapid spurts of growth and changes in body shape, particularly in infancy and in adolescence. Clothing may also be used to train growing bodies in culturally approved shapes and habits—corsets and brassieres for young girls are an obvious example, but tight jackets to prevent slouching, or tight shoes to inhibit rough play, have also been used. Overlaying these pragmatic requirements, and sometimes in conflict with them, are the symbolic requirements of clothing, which express the wearer’s gender, and position them in an age cohort, ...

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