Her 3-year-old daughter Emma Addison also digs the glitz and glam of the pageant circuit. The little beauty queen will appear on the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras at 9 p.m. May 30.
Winning a sparkly, rhinestone crown isn’t Emma’s only motivation. She loves fancy, frilly costumes, whether she’s competing or not.
“Emma is a fan of wearing tutus around the house,” said Campbell, a mother of three and Mississippi College graduate student.
While the classic ballet tutu has been around since the 1800s, it’s lately become a mainstream fashion must for little girls who want to emulate fairies, ballerinas and princesses. A quick Internet search reveals many companies that specialize in tutu sales, such as Sunny Girl Tutus, Miss Priss Tutus, Little Diva Tutus and Cutie Pa Tutus.
Etsy craft sellers are also touting the trend by sewing layers of tulle to make an extra buck. Tutus have also become a favorite for photographers who use them as props.
“It’s just an inexpensive and cute way to make your daughter feel like a fairy princess,” Campbell said. “Emma can dress herself in one, which makes her feel like a big girl. And with the economy the way it is, a lot of moms are making their kids’ clothes.”
Starkville native Kimberly Bingham is owner of the Birmingham-based wholesale gift company Tutus N’ Toadfrogs, which has about 500 accounts in Mississippi. The Mississippi State University communications major started the company in 2008.
“It seems like everyone is dressing their little girls in (tutus),” she said. “We have seen this trend for about three years. It is much more than dancewear.
“There are companies that offer collegiate-colored tutus paired with team logo tanks. Tutus have been paired with cowboy boots for great portrait options. Moms even have custom tutus made for Disney vacations.”
Bingham said she had her own daughters photographed on the beach in tutus.
“Tutus are great for special occasions, portraits and cheering for your favorite team at sporting events,” she said. “Tutus are very popular for holidays – red and green for Christmas and orange and black for Halloween, etc.”
“In my opinion, tutus have become increasingly popular for several reasons,” she said. “First of all, the Internet has created the opportunity for people to access both material and instructions relatively inexpensively.
“The second and most important reason is that they are whimsical, fun and girly. In these difficult economic times, people like to be reminded that there is fun and good in the world.”
Duke said tutus inspire the imagination of childhood.
“They can be made in any color and be as big and fluffy as your heart’s desire,” she said. “I think it reminds us moms of being young and carefree, when you could dance and twirl all day without a care in the world.”
Duke said she’s even fashioned tutus for adults.
“Women like them for special events like football games and occasions like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
“I don’t think the need for fun and whimsy will ever fade away,” she said. “To me, that’s what my tutus represent. As with any trend, it will most likely become cyclic in nature, where it will fade out for a bit then make a comeback in a big way.”
–LaReeca Rucker, The Clarion-Ledger