The AP has an article here about how indulging little girls in their fantasies of being a princess has gone too far, and I wholeheartedly agree. The article focuses on how the ideals of princessdom --- basically, being entitled to get anything you want and having people serve you --- aren't necessarily the sorts of values we'd like to impart to our daughters. I would like to add to this criticism of the princess phenomenon by pointing out that there are actual real-life princesses in the modern world, and I have yet to see a single one of them wear a frilly pink dress covered in glitter and stars.
In real life, princesses tend to just dress like stylish, wealthy women. Here are Princesses Stéphanie (l) and Caroline (r) of Monaco at a Red Cross gala, looking like they couldn't be happier:Here is Crown Princess Masako of Japan along with her daughter, Princess Aiko. In America, Aiko would be the right age to "dress up like a princess," but even she has the good sense to instead just dress up like a little rich girl:Princess Anne of the United Kingdom isn't even all that stylish, renowned for re-using outfits as many as 27 years later. I don't know how many girls have this in mind when they play dress-up:
So the next time your daughter want to pretend she's a princess, just give her a navy-blue overcoat and have her attend a benefit dinner.