Debenhams has released new research that reveals parents are spending thousands on kitting their infants out in the latest designer labels.
Anxious parents, eager to help their infants make a good impression on their first day at nursery school are even spending up to £600 on their start-of-term outfits.
The alarming figure is more than three times greater than the average job applicant spends on clothes for crucial interviews, and twelve times greater than the amount spent on senior school uniforms.
The survey showed that girls receive more costly outfits - and more of them - with mothers splashing out on average twice as much on daughters when compared to sons.
Michelle Dowdall at Debenhams said: "The competition to see who is wearing the best outfit can be just as fierce at the nursery school gate as on any high fashion catwalk.
"Dropping a child off at a nursery for the very first time can be a heart wrenching experience for every mother - and they want to know that their children are looking their best."
The trend echoes celeb mothers such as Katie Holmes and Rachel Zoe, who readily admit to kitting their infants out in Hermes, Gucci and Missoni on a daily basis.
Michelle Dowdall continued: "There's no need to layer our kids in luxury costing thousands of pounds - kids will be kids and clothes in the playground should be functional over all else.
"Nevertheless, we’re seeing the rise of a new generation of youngsters who are dressed to be Princes and Princesses of the playground."
This translates directly onto the High Street. Debenhams first spotted the trend as sales of kids designer clothes rose in line with 'back to school' traditional uniforms, as savvy parents snap up designer labels such as Matthew Williamson and Julien Macdonald at a fraction of the price for their child’s first day at nursery.
Popular items include pinstripe suits - mini versions of those worn in the City - favoured by boys as young as four, while waistcoats and ties worn over white flounced shirts come a close second.
Fairytale dresses are very popular for girls, as are sophisticated tulip dresses and sequinned tiered girls dresses worn with ivory faux fur shrugs.
"Children's clothes which, in the past, would only have been worn to weddings and formal occasions are now seen as essential for that first day in nursery school," Michelle Dowdall concluded.
Debenhams is a leading department stores group with a strong presence in key product categories including womenswear, menswear, kids clothes, home and health and beauty.
Debenhams is the second largest department store chain in the UK and operates 167 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Debenhams also has 61 international franchise stores in 24 countries and six Magasin stores in Denmark.
Debenhams' online stores are available at www.debenhams.com and www.debenhams.ie.
Designers at Debenhams include Preen, Jonathan Saunders, Jonathan Kelsey, Roksanda Ilincic, Ted Baker, Jeff Banks, Jasper Conran, Erickson Beamon, FrostFrench, Henry Holland, Betty Jackson, Ben de Lisi, Julien Macdonald, Melissa Odabash, Jane Packer, Pearce Fionda, Janet Reger, John Rocha, Lisa Stickley, Eric Van Peterson and Matthew Williamson.
33 Wigmore Street
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