Monday, March 21, 2016

The Dog Boutique Fad of the 2000's

I bought these dog legwarmers at a Limited Too in 2004. It may not be clear from the pictures, but they are festooned with iridescent sequins. Yes, they were specifically made for dogs. They date from a dog boutique fad that lasted from approximately 2000 to 2006. This was largely driven by the purse dog fad of the same time period. It was the era of Paris Hilton's Tinkerbell, and Gidget the Taco Bell dog. Though seemingly not recognized by most people, I fondly remember it as a time when almost every store sold dog stuff. I love dog stuff.
dog leg warmers
Photo by Erin Koski

At the time the only dog I had was Oakley the cocker spaniel, who at 25 lbs was just barely too big for most of the boutique stuff. I still went looking for it though, and I found it all over the mall. Old Navy carried a whole selection of toys and apparel, from t-shirts to rain boots, for dogs of all sizes. Old Navy Dog Supply still pops up from time to time, but no longer takes over the entire front of the store.

Little purse dogs were primarily a girl fad, so there were adorable little purse dog accessories in most of the little girl stores. The Limited Too and Claire's Boutique each had dog sections with little hair clips, ruffled collars, tutus, and of course purses for carrying the tiniest dogs. Even Toys'R'Us had a frilly dog boutique section.
dog in legwarmers
Photo by Erin Koski

The big box stores weren't immune, either, Target had several aisles devoted to different "lifestyle" selections. You could find an array of collars and leashes, beds, bowls, treat jars, leash hooks, and picture frames in shabby chic, pastel pink and blue royalty, and skull and crossbones motifs. This all went away when Brisbane was a baby, and the only thing I have left is a blue crown-shaped bowl with "prince" printed at the bottom. Nowadays Target just has a standard selection of utilitarian pet gear.

Most of my thrift store dog purses probably date from the same time period. It was a time when big name designers made dog accessories, which probably drove the trend in the rest of the market. Burberry doesn't seem to make dog collars any more, as far as I am aware. Louis Vuitton does, however, still make dog purses.

While adorable and ridiculous accessories can still be found for your spoiled little purse dog, the market seemed to contract sharply a decade ago and you can no longer buy them everywhere. It's probably for the best, even itty bitty toy breeds are much more than a fashion accessory or a toy. Still, it was a magical time to be preoccupied with dog stuff. I will fondly remember a time when random, otherwise meaningless stores in the mall held treasures like sparly 80's leg warmers...for dogs.

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