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Hot Summer Styles for Cool Kids

Most parents take pride in keeping their kids looking cute and fresh - even stylish. As we enter the thick of shorts season, Parenting magazine's Denene Millner visits The Early Show with a look at the latest in fashions for boys and girls.

Summer 2004 has brought a dazzling variety of new styles for toddlers, according to Millner. One of the biggest trends, she says, is the soft, "washed out" look of fabrics in classic patterns like bold stripes, seersucker, plaid and Hawaiian print.

For girls, soft cotton dresses with large floral designs and ruffled trims are all the rage, as are frocks that mimic the 1950s-inspired designs now popular with adults.

The sporty, surfer look is very hot for boys right now. Millner reports that boys are doubling cargo pants for swimming trunks, and that the surfer and skater looks are back in full force.

As a mother of two girls, Millner says she is "extremely concerned about some of the clothing that is sold for kids once they move from toddler clothes into pre-teen clothes." She believes the "Britney-Christina look"—one in which short skirts and cropped shirts expose thighs and bellies—to be far too "suggestive" for children's attire.

"You'd be surprised," says Millner, "at how much the trends for young children are seen even with toys and video games. Dolls today are dressed suggestively, and then the clothes for kids are cut in a way that a 5-year-old shouldn't necessarily be wearing."

Millner advises parents to stick to the golden rule when dressing their kids: if you wouldn't walk around wearing clothes that are revealing, then your child shouldn't either. "If you would walk around with your stomach covered and butt covered," she says, then likewise "you want to make sure that your child's clothes are not sexually suggestive in any way."

Millner admits it's often difficult for parents to get their children to actually try clothes on in store dressing rooms. If that's an issue, she says, take the clothes home and have your child try them on there. Most stores accept returns.

While she doubts the seersucker trend will last through the fall, Millner believes most of summer's other looks will. Bold stripes, plaids and patterns will probably remain hot, she says, as will skirts with 50s-inspired designs.

In the meantime, the ensembles Millner brought to The Early Show reflect the latest in children's summer style:

Pink Tank Top with Floral Lounge Pant: Millner describes the matching tank and lounge pants as "a charming little set." The ensemble's large floral pattern is very popular this year, particularly in girls' pants and skirts, which can then be matched with virtually any color top.

There is also a matching bed-in-a-bag, which is great for taking to the pool or to sleep over at a friend's house.

By: Icky baby - available at ickyproducts.com
Set - $46
Travel bed - $52

Daisy Dress: A little girl wearing this dress is sure to be the prettiest flower at the garden party! It is 100 percent cotton and is sprinkled with flowers and a ribbon belt. The material is very lightweight, to help little ones stay cool.

By: Little Me - available at babystyle.com or littleme.com
Dress - $42

Bold Striped Tank and Summer Pants: This outfit has a matching hat, which completes the look and provides sun protection. This material is a lightweight cotton that's perfect for warm weather. The bold stripes will be everywhere this summer.

By: Osh Kosh B Gosh - available at oshkoshbgosh.com or any Osh Kosh store near you.
Top - $12
Pants - $25
Hat - $12
Sunglasses - $9

Green and White Seersucker Dress: Seersucker is a summer must! This is a gorgeous little dress with soft green and white "beach house-inspired colors" stripes, and comes with a belt. This is a great example of the 1950s-motivated styles (as seen in the "Stepford Wives") that are popular this year in all girls' dresses.

By: Tommy Hilfiger - available at tommyhilfiger.com, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales
Dress - $40

Surfer T-Shirt and Cargo Beach Pants:
This comfortable outfit characterizes what kids really want to wear on hot summer days. The ever popular "surfer dude" look - and the coordinating beach pants are made for the water and dry land. Cargo pants are such a hot item this year - you're seeing them on the runway in all sorts of dressy and casual styles, and now they're popular for kids, too.

By: Osh Kosh B Gosh - available at oshkoshbgosh.com or any Osh Kosh store near you.
T-shirt - $18
Pants - $20

Plaid Shirt with Skater Shorts:This is a nice, simple, clean look for boys. Here we see the skater influence that's popping up everywhere in boys' fashions this season. The skater style pants have a lot of pockets with zippers to keep treasures, and look great combined with the classic plaid button down shirt.
By: Old Navy - available at old Navy stores
Shirt - $14
Pants - $17

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