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Ban on 'sexy' clothes for girls

‘SEXY' clothes for young girls will be banned under new guidelines, the Herald can reveal. Crop tops for children as young as five, high heels and t-shirts with suggestive slogans are to be outlawed within weeks.

Retailers such as Penneys and Dunnes Stores have agreed to remove the items from their shelves.

In an exclusive interview today, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the sexualisation of young children is “a really serious issue”.

She described some items – such as padded bras – as “ridiculous”.

“Under 10s are being confronted with this and feel that they should be wearing these very, very sexy clothes because it's really being pushed by the retailers,” Ms Fitzgerald added.

“The retailers are probably going to sell the clothes anyway so I think they can afford to take on board the guidelines and do what they need to do.”

A new code of conduct for retailers has been developed in consultation with Ms Fitzgerald's department, various retailers and the National Consumer Agency.

Last year the British Retail Consortium introduced a code of good practice for selling children's clothes which was signed up to by many major retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Tesco, but not subscribed to by Penneys.

However, Minister Fitzgerald expects that the new rules here will be adopted by the country's main retailers over the summer months.

The guidelines will set out the necessity for stores to only sell clothes that are suitable in terms of shape, size and colour.

“That's a good step forward,” said Minister Fitzgerald. She said that while parents know “instinctively” what their child should or should not be wearing, they sometimes feel under pressure because of what other children are wearing.

“Everyone is afraid to say no to their own kid,” she said, adding: “The childhood space can get very narrow, very short if you over sexualise young children.”

The Herald previously reported how some stores were selling bras for girls as young as five years old.

And retailers were also selling padded bras to enhance the figures of nine-year-olds despite concern from children's rights groups.