Yes! You're right! Cheburashka is a boy; I was already really sick when I wrote that and I just wasn't thinking :-)
Kids' styles are very different; the girls' American clothing is much more colorful and baggier in style. Even the things I buy here end up somehow looking different on my kids, though... And in our case, I always tend to buy the biggest size they could pull off so they can wear it longer (and to allow for any big growth spurts before our next trip to the USA).
Russians really do value looking good. Even housecleaners and nannies show up at work fully groomed, in skirts, stockings, heels, hair done and with make-up... They then change into work clothes for while doing their job--and emerge looking equally stylish for the trip back home.
Even during Soviet times, people managed to look good with whatever little they had.
For many people, "looking good" and having their kids look good is rather superficial; they want everyone else to see how well-off they are... I mean, what kid needs Prada FLIP-FLOPS??!!!!
For many others, though, it's more about self-respect. When they look good, they feel good. They simply take pride in looking their best--for themselves.
Olga: I LOVED your story about the outfit you put together! Such resourcefulness! Such persistence and independence! And so swiftly squashed...!
Fioleta: When I first came to Moscow in 1991, I actually worked as a translator for Uspiensky, actually doing a bit of "Dyadya Fyodr, Pec i Kot"! The book isn't quite so popular anymore, though.