The trend, percolating for decades, has reached fever pitch. Picture: Instagram

Washington - Whether they're at the pool, the park or the supermarket, the five members of the Beck family are almost always matching.

One day, they'll all be in yellow-striped swimwear. On another, it's straw fedoras and summery linen shirts.

"We're a pretty-synced-up family," said Ryan Beck, 39, a sales executive in Richmond, Virginia, who has one-year-old triplets with his wife, Christy. "If we're going to the mall, we'll all wear jeans and a green shirt or something like that."

Welcome to the Instagram-fuelled clothing craze that won't go away: matching outfits for Mom, Dad and the kids - and sometimes Grandma and Grandpa.

The trend, percolating for decades, has reached fever pitch as retailers as varied as H&M, Anthropologie and Saks Fifth Avenue double down on "mini-me" fashion to boost sales. 

Critics say the trend is cheesy, if not plain creepy. But marketing experts say its proliferation speaks to a broader need for acceptance.

"We're driven by 'likes,' " said Dawnn Karen, a fashion psychologist and branding consultant. "And what gets the most likes? Children in matching clothes."

"But," she added, "the question becomes: Are we taking away our children's individuality and their ability to develop their own tastes?"

Instagram is brimming with celebrity examples: model Chrissy Teigen and daughter Luna in matching avocado-print swimsuits; Beyoncé and daughter Blue Ivy in coordinating denim jackets; and multiple Kardashians "twinning" with their offspring.

The Washington Post