Poor Baby: Should the Fashion Cops Lay Off Britney's Boy?

ByABC News
August 28, 2006, 11:10 AM

Aug. 28, 2006 — -- He has graced the cover of tabloids and is adored by one of the world's most beautiful women. He is an heir to millions and haunted by the paparazzi. And he's still in diapers.

Sean Preston Federline -- the first child of pop sensation Britney Spears and her wannabe rapper husband, Kevin Federline -- is only 11 months old and has already received huge media attention. Last September his early delivery was the focus of the entertainment world. But his fall from grace did not take long.

This September Esquire magazine dubbed the infant the world's worst-dressed man. The tiny tot earned the dubious honor for daring to appear in public in a faux-fur puffy coat and a red and black tiger striped tank top.

Esquire's tongue-in-cheek article is not the first time the press has picked on the children of celebrities and politicians. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton received much flak through her teen years for being gawky and badly dressed.

But this time some top style experts are aghast at the Esquire move, suggesting it's not a nice thing to do to a child.

Style writer and social commentator Rachel Weingarten, author of the new style guide "Hello Gorgeous," says she has "no problem teasing a celebrity -- a fully formed adult -- but even I think it's a little more than mean-spirited to have chosen a 1-year-old as the worst-dressed man."

According to Weingarten and other style mavens, a worst-dressed list is a carefully crafted queue. Nellie Sciutto, an actress and writer on "E!'s 101 Most Sensational Crimes of Fashion," says that actors and actresses will often purposefully don "out there" outfits to get press.

When it comes to putting people on a worst-dressed list, the press is "very careful about picking people who want to be on it," Sciutto said. "It's very rare that you get a big star and totally crush them."

As an example, both Weingarten and Sciutto point to actress Chloe Sevigny as a what-not-to-wear American icon, who has made wearing eccentric clothes her trademark. "It's actually not the worst thing to be on the worst-dressed list," said Weingarten.