Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
Review: Little Capers Super Hero T-Shirts
Little Capers are cool toddler super hero costumes with a fiendishly simple design. They are T-shirts with a hero insignia and graphical belt displayed on the front, and a cape attached to the back with Velcro.
Children’s sizes range 2 to 8, and there are capeless versions for “littlest heroes” who are 6 to 24-months-old.
Little Capers outfits don’t rely on licensed characters. No Batman, Superman or Spiderman. The shirts feature stars, lightning bolts, hearts and even a globe and peace sign.
The company bills these shirts as “alternative,” which is a sad commentary on the state of American culture.
Since when did originality become alternative? The norm is apparently for your kid to buy into marketer-led pop icon purchasing and play patterns. Instead of reenacting cartoon or movie scenes for playtime, kids can invent new hero names and super powers, conjuring up original play scenarios. Little Capers inspires creativity.
These outfits led my Little Miss into a discussion about physics and aerodynamics while playing with her friend in his backyard. She climbed with her friend, let’s call him Little Sir, onto a wooden bench and began jumping off and running to a fence and back again.
The first time he jumped, Little Sir was surprised that he fell.
- Little Sir: “But my cape makes me fly.”
- Little Miss: “Gravity pulls you down.”
Score one for random knowledge imparted during mealtime conversations.
And wow, yes, the kids inherently equated capes with flying. When putting them on, they swished their capes around and thought of them like wings.
As the photos in this review indicate (many at the end below), they love running around, jumping and playing in the hero outfits.
We think the shirt sizes run small. The costumes in the photos,
provided to Thingamababy for review, are size 4 on recently minted
3-year-olds. Both shirts are just about perfect around the torso, but a
little long. The long sleeves are a little snug. Consider buying one or
two sizes up from your child. If needed, roll up the sleeves and make
due with any largeness, in order to assure maximum use.
One of our parent testers felt a wider cape would be more fun. The cape
presently attaches with two pieces of Velcro at roughly the edges of
the neck hole. The cape isn’t wide enough to effectively drape over
both shoulders at the same time. If it were, kids might do a lot more
dramatic swishing hand movements with their capes.
This is not really a complaint, just a suggestion for an
improvement. As is, the capes are a stunning sight to
behold because of their shimmer.
A mother in my town who works at a baby boutique where Little Capers are sold e-mailed me her thoughts after seeing our contest giveaway. I followed up with a few questions. Here is her seasoned perspective:
“My 4-year-old son has been making up super heroes for
about a year now and he loves this shirt. At first, he wanted to sleep
in it and wear it to school every day (which was fine with his
preschool, as long as he took the cape off for safety reasons), but now
it’s definitely more of a dress-up kind of thing. We get lots of
comments on it whenever he wears it out and about. I have a couple of pictures of him wearing it over at Flickr.
One of the main draws of these tees for the parent is that they are
not tied to any licensed characters. For parents like myself who
refuse to let our children be walking billboards for Nickelodeon and
Disney and Mattel and whose children are deeply interested in super
powers and saving the world from bad guys (and having capes!), they are
just the ticket.
I’d much rather see my kids developing their own super personae than
just emulating what they’ve seen in advertisements, in movies and on
TV; this is one of the areas where I can encourage them to think
Not that children who dress up in Superman costumes necessarily lack
imagination, not that a kid can’t claim to be Batman while wearing a
Little Capers tee, not, even, that “Anubis the Egyptian SuperDog” (my
4-year-old’s current alter ego) doesn’t sometimes do exactly what he’s
seen cartoon superheroes do…
As far as sizing goes, yes, these definitely run small. The bigger
tees come in even sizes (2,4,6,8) which, in my experience, means that
the shirts were printed on American Apparel tees. I’d absolutely
recommend that parents buy the next size up from what their child
typically wears, keeping in mind that if this is going to be something
that’s worn only occasionally and mainly as a dress-up item, fit is
probably not as important as it is for clothing that’s worn all the
I did notice that the necks on these are particularly tight. [AJ's
note: We had neck hole issues too, until we began unhooking one corner
of the cape, putting on the shirt, then reattaching the cape.]
For wear, our shirts did shrink some the first time we washed and
dried them and after oh…10 cycles of wash and wear, the dark brown
tee has faded some, but the screen print is still nice and bright with
no cracking. The Velcro is holding up fairly well.”
At 3-years-old, my daughter had as much fun with Little Capers as
she does with other dress-up clothes. As playtime outfits go, they
are vibrant, fun and well made. And they probably encourage active play
(running) more than, say, a dress, funny hat and a scarf. Little Capers
costumes are awesome. I admit, I’m probably more excited about them
than my daughter!