Hmmm. Well, I honestly think that these issues have more to do with your perception of adult attire and sexuality and the social context than with age appropriateness. I never went "clubbing" and would consider it degrading to go around wearing clothes for the sole purpose of turning other people on. I do sometimes wear skimpy clothes to the beach, however. Why? Because I love feeling the breeze and sand and water on my skin. Because I feel good and sexy in the best, most meaningful sense: beautiful, unashamed in my body, unashamed to enjoy it. It took me a long time to get there, partly because I heard comments like those in this thread and developed negative impressions and feelings. When I go to the beach -- Orchard Beach in the Bronx, which is one of the most amazing experiences you can have, IMO
--I see women of all ages and sizes showing and enjoying their bodies by wearing bikinis. I can't imagine feeling critical of the little ones, or their moms who bought their suits!!! That would really lessen my enjoyment of the water and music and happiness. I suspect little girls like to wear clothes like their mamas'. Why shouldn't they? Bikinis aren't what hurt girls and their developing sexuality. And underwear should follow the contour of our bodies. When my dd wears briefs, they slip down under her little belly and the extra fabric bunches up. She likes them anyway, and I support her.
But what would be wrong with underwear shaped more like her? And um, shirts that show her cute little belly button...?!
People like all kinds of different clothes, and that's fine. I personally feel a little queasy about girls' clothes that are very frilly, pink, glittery, and adorned with "Disney Princesses". They're not my thing. The difference is that most people wouldn't think it ok to use shame
to express distaste about the kind of clothes I don't care for. To me, any comment that could introduce the seed of an idea that sex or the body might be DIRTY or BAD is better off studiously left unsaid. (Actually, I try to avoid making negative comments -- beyond the brief, matter-of-fact, as-neutral-as-possible ones -- about the Princess crap to my own dd, b/c I know she is very impressionable, she likes pink and girly, and I don't want to put her down or tell her what she "should" feel about being a girl in our society.)