Watching the Emmys, or any award show, usually comes down to dress watch. It doesn’t take a slew of best dressed or worst dressed lists to convey how fixated we are on the looks women sport down the runway. But what about our underage starlets? Although entitled to look just as pretty as their adult counterparts, what underage girls wear down the runway matters greatly when we consider the consistent sexualization of girls in our culture.

Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka opted for a very demure dress befit for any 10-year-old girl on an Easter Sunday. The young actress didn’t look any older than she is, which seems like more and more rarity these days. But 13-year-old Ariel Winter of Modern Family got some criticism for for having a “mature” look, according to US Weekly.

The curvacious teen had a little cleavage to her rose gown, but defended her wardrobe choice by citing her body:

“I thought it was very youthful, yet mature because it has the flowers and it’s blush pink,” she told Us Weekly. “I have a sort of body in a way that you can’t really put a dress like this without it looking older and more mature, so it’s kind of not my fault!”

Deputy Editor Koa Beck and contributor Lindsay Cross debate Winter’s dress as being age-appropriate given her adult figure.

Lindsay Cross: For a 13 year old? My mother would have never let me wear something like that…

Koa Beck: I think it’s fine. She’s a very busty girl which can’t really be helped. I like the quote she gave to US mag about how given how mature her body is, it’s difficult to find clothes that people aren’t going to take issue with

Lindsay Cross: I don’t think that it’s wildly inappropriate or something, but I love that Kiernan Shipka’s dress looked like something that an actual 11 year old would wear. Ariel Winter’s looks like a tween girl in an adult dress to me

Koa Beck: Kiernan’s dress is a very sweet.

Lindsay Cross: I had DDs in middle school and while it’s not easy to cover them up, it’s possible. It’s not like there’s anything saying that an awards dress has to be cut that low…

Koa Beck: That’s true, but given how curvy she is, despite her age, a dress like say Kiernan’s wouldn’t look very flattering. I think she did well with the body she has.

Lindsay Cross: I just mean, the fact that she has a more mature body would have been a reason for me to dress more conservatively, not less. And I don’t think she didn’t anything wrong by showing a little cleavage. But I don’t know… I wouldn’t point it out to my daughter either.

Koa Beck: Personally, I don’t believe that being a well-endowed girl means that you should feel compelled to cover up more.

Lindsay Cross:  I’m not trying to say that she did something wrong. But if it was my teenage daughter, who would be in about 7th or 8th grade at age 13, I wouldn’t let her dress like that. That’s not to say that someone else needs to have the same rules as me…

(photo: celebuzz.com and usatoday.com)