Never Grow Up: Exploring Our Childhood Fashion

Never Grow Up: Exploring Our Childhood Fashion

Remember the first time you were allowed to dress yourself? The thrill of being trusted to pick your clothes and the freedom of being able to express your fashion fantasy was probably the first step towards showing the world who you truly are. 

The thing is, kids don’t have a million different outlets telling them what to wear, what looks flattering, or what’s on trend. They dress for themselves—and only themselves. The look of happiness on a child’s face that comes from wearing their favourite princess costume to the grocery store is priceless, and, to this day, I’m still chasing that high. 

Some of your favourite MUSE Exec decided to recreate childhood photos to compare trends from then and now and have an absolute laugh—because we were still fashion icons all those years ago!

Sam Turnbull, MUSE’ings Editor (2003???)

“I swear I was always dressed like I was ready to go to my day job as a secretary—in a good way. I even remember begging to wear a broach in my kindergarten school photo. What I can tell you from this one is: I still own four long-sleeve floral dresses.”

– Sam Turnbull

Alexandra Jones, Online Editor (NYE, sometime in My Youth)

“My dad had this on-going joke where, every New Year until I was about 6, he would take a photo of me with a champagne bottle. I love this photo in particular because I think it was the first New Year that I made it to midnight, the first photo where I wasn’t passed out next to the bottle. My mom used to dress me up, and if I’m being honest, I wish she still did. Nothing beats a nice monochrome ‘fit.”

– Alexandra Jones

Josh Granovsky, Head of Layout (Pre-Wimbledon)

“I vividly remember the morning I found out clothes are supposed to ‘match’. I went into my parents’ bedroom before school in the second grade to ask a question wholly unrelated to what I was wearing, and my mom sternly suggested I pick a different outfit. I had combined a grey, wool sweater I’d gotten for synagogue and bright red, tear-away track pants. I was baffled and asked for clarification: ‘I’m wearing a shirt and pants, isn’t that a match?’ My outfit in this photo employs a similar ideology. Despite running around on a tennis court—where I spent most of my childhood—I decided it made sense to wear black and white dress shoes, thick blue socks, and a Pinocchio shirt that inexplicably gives Italy a shout-out. Two years later, I leveled up to a training center that required its players wear all white—a devastating blow to everyone except my mom.”

– Josh Granovsky

Erin Macintosh, Marketing Coordinator (summer 2003)

“The time stamp on this photo indicates it was taken in the summer of 2003, which would make me four years old. I feel like I look older than that, but I’ve had sass and spunk from a young age, so who knows. I have three older brothers and I think this impacted my style a lot. My mother couldn’t wait to have a girl, so my clothing really reflected that. I wore pink ALL the time growing up—everything I wanted had to be pink. In a way, it was like I wanted to stand out from my brothers because they all had things in common and dressed the same, but I craved the spotlight. This photo really sums up my childhood essence, the pink clothing head to toe, the awesome Velcro sneakers—I loved the Velcro, laces were too complicated—and my beaded choker, which I made myself. I remember crying when I had to cut it off. I was always a creative kid and I think that reveals itself in my style then and now!”

– Erin Macintosh

Trish Rooney, Online Director (New York, May 2005)

“In the first photo, I’m in New York—on the hunt for a birthday present. As a kid, I was always HUGELY into American Girl Dolls, to the point that I told my dad I wished the Americans had won the War of 1812 because then there would be a store in Toronto. No cap. Who even taught me about the War of 1812? In the second photo, I’m in New York for something even better then my birthday: touring grad school at NYU! As an homage to my childhood self, I’m barefaced and in my newest favourite accessory. The headband has returned!”

– Trish Rooney

Megan fanjoy (Connecticut, October 2007)

“The first photo features me—age seven—posing with my older cousin during our impromptu Thanksgiving photo shoot. Being the second youngest of four kids, I definitely used my style and sass to stand out from the crowd. What can I say? Middle-kids crave the attention. My fit is a combination of two different inspirations: the dress and headband paid homage to my cousins’ suburban-Connecticut chic vibe, while the plethora of “I Love Boobies” bracelets fulfilled my goofy, seven-year-old sense of humour.”

– Megan Fanjoy

Katherine Stanley-Paul, Lifestyle Editor (May 2006)

“My family has always done a big mother’s-day brunch celebration. My mum got matching dresses for her and me one year from a little shop near my grandparents’ cottage, and we wore them to brunch together multiple years in a row. The brunch has always been an anticipated family tradition—one I always looked forward to because of the food and the chance to dress up! The dress has been previously accessorized with a plush-dog, purse, and black strappy shoes, which is a look that I am tempted to bring back.”

– Katherine Stanley-Paul

Anastasia Mikhalilitchenko, Photographer (Ukraine, 2004)

“This photo was taken when I was six years-old, somewhere in the Ukraine. We took a road trip to visit my great aunt in Russia and I remember, it was during this trip, that I lost my first tooth. So, here I am, proudly showing off my newly toothless grin. My mom had brought me the orange dress I’m wearing from a trip she took to Africa. The photo also features my signature two braids that I wore every single day at this age. Overall, I’d say I had a pretty eclectic style as a kid and I think this picture shows that well. My family travelled quite a bit—they’d pick up pieces from various places around the world. I think that definitely still influences my style today.”

Anastasia Mikhalilitchenko

Alyssa Giovannangeli, Videographer (July 6, 2008)

“As a child, my family and our friends would rent a cottage for a week every summer.  It was my absolute favourite thing—hanging out by the lake and making s’mores. When this photo was taken, some people were starting a campfire and I was at the edge of the water looking for fish while my dad was out fishing. According to my mom, I loved fishing and apparently wore this outfit all the time. The sweatpants were Kim Possible and had her logo on the front of them. I had a matching zip-up sweater too, which is unfortunately not pictured. My shirt is what I find the most interesting, the layered t-shirt on a long-sleeve look. I don’t think my mom would have guessed it would be so in style twelve years later, along with the blue Crocs… and no one could have guessed a Crocs comeback.”

Alyssa Giovannangeli 

Photography: Roscoe Dillman, @peregrine_productions

Creative Direction and Image Editing: Sam Turnbull, MUSE’ings Editor

Editorial: Claudia Rupnik, Online Editor

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