Micro-Trend of the Week: Inspired by the children’s section

The graphic for the column "Micro-Trend of the Week" is pictured. By Asli Kocak
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Pretties Venice is ‘90s supermodel nostalgia captured in a bottle. The clothing brand is certifiably authentic and from the mind of Linda Meltzer, a stylist credited for the popularization of the baby tee of the ’90s and the built-in bra cami. Back in the ‘90s, Meltzer’s brand, then called Tease Tees, attracted the influential ‘it’ girls of the decade as Meltzer’s clientele: Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Campbell and more. The brand owner’s style influenced a decade, and we can see her work in definitive ‘90s cultural moments, like in “Friends” (1994–2004), “Clueless” (1995), famous photoshoots and music videos.

Meltzer’s brand, now revived as Pretties Venice, includes her personal curation of lingerie, bras, tees and dresses all reminiscent of a hazy vintage California. Inspired by the feminist icons of the ’80s as well as ’80s nostalgia, Pretties Venice depicts an understated  yet remarkable femininity that Meltzer characterized as “à la Gloria Steinem.” 

Pretties Venice, though minimalistic in design, has a definitive look: ethereal whites, a predilection for frills and romantic knitting. Her clothing sells this softness of childhood mixed with hazy nostalgia for a lost type of femininity, when women would wear matching set pajamas and curlers. Followers, sometimes paying upwards of $140 for a top, wait for their limited stock drops.

The aesthetic stylings of Pretties Venice have subtly integrated into the current mainstream in the repopularization of baby ribbing and lace details for cotton shirts. Brands such as Skims and Brandy Melville have released their own renditions of baby tees and cotton eyelet tops lined with lace and decorated with delicate pointelle. This style also synthesizes well with the trend of ballet-inspired fashion, both playing on themes of softness, romance and distinctly feminine aesthetics. 

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However, the brand exemplifies society’s problematic relation of femininity to a childlike nature. These trends, delicate and feminine, take direct inspiration from baby clothing, perpetuating a sexualization of children’s clothing. From lacey details to frilly edges, the brand endorses the physical infantilization of women and further reinforces female beauty standards, tying femininity to fragility, demureness and innocence. 

The popularity of Pretties Venice demonstrates how youthfulness is integral to the desirability of women, definitive of their femininity. But Meltzer is not the one to blame; she only capitalizes off of this phenomenon. Beauty standards of women reflecting childlike attributes exist and will continue to exist because of a preexisting patriarchal inequality which manifests in the sexualization of young girls and children. Our current fashion craze is simply a reflection.

7/10 impulse to buy. Despite everything I’ve said, I’ve become a huge sucker for her designs and if given the right price I would most definitely fold.

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