Dog fashion moves from novelty sweaters to practical outfits

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Creating on-trend outfits is a whole different animal for pet fashion designers, whose work is becoming mainstream as animal lovers look to further pamper their pets. For some owners, it's a statement; for others, it's a way to match man's best friend; and sometimes it's simply about keeping animals warm this winter. But it's clear the number of dressed-up dogs and cats jumps significantly once holiday photos need to be taken.

"We have gone from the kind of cute reindeer gear or ugly sweater to more functional clothing," said Lauren Darr, founder of the International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals in New York City. "Before it was for a cute picture, now it's more practical. It takes it to a different level, going from being a novelty to understanding how things can be used in everyday life."

For some pet owners, clothing plays into a luxury lifestyle. Dog Fashion Spa in New York sells doggy and mommy bathrobes, a matching fad that comes as many spas and salons are building hers and "furs" facilities — one side to pamper the woman and the other to treat their dogs, CEO Elena Volnova said.

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