I am very much in the thick of the “little years” with my nearly 2 year old and 3 1/2 year old and even though it often feels so physically exhausting to just get through the day, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. As everyone likes to remind me, the time flies quickly and their littleness will fade before my eyes. I want to take every advantage of this special season of life…including being able to choose what they wear, ha! I definitely prefer what I consider to be ‘traditional children’s clothing’ and find myself always looking for different places to find them as its not really sold in stores. I’ve long dreamed of dressing my little girl in smocked dresses and stockings with a matching bow for every outfit and having a little boy in peter pan collared shirts. Of course my kids are kids and need comfy play clothes too, so I have a few go-to’s for that as well. I try and shop sales most of the time since kids grow fast and get things dirty and I don’t buy them a ton of clothes. I purchase the things I really like and we wear those over and over and over. Seriously, if you see my kids, they are likely wearing the same outfit the last time you saw them! I’m pretty much that way too…no sense in wearing something unless you really love it!
So with all that said… here’s a list of my favorites places to find my kid’s clothes:
*none of the photos of my kids are linked because most of the clothing items are from a past season and no longer available…but I have linked similar items with some of these retailers.
This is my favorite place to find traditional children’s clothing for my kids. They are incredibly well made and pay attention to all the details that make each piece they produce so unique. My most purchased item from them is their polly play dress. Sutton practically lives in them and I find that they wash/dry so well. The dress does run small so I typically order 2 sizes up (She is currently in a size 4 so I order a 6 ). It’s also 100% cotton so it will shrink in the dryer. TBBC is on the pricer side (and i’m a frugal fran) so I typically just purchase items for special occasions but I always get a big order on their Pink Friday sale after thanksgiving every year. Its the perfect time to stock up on swimsuits, outerwear and so many other items.
I love that Smocked Auctions has made traditional children’s clothing affordable and accessible. They predominantly sell via instagram which is convenient and easy but you can also buy via their website. I like to buy our outfits for Disney (I don’t get them monogramed) as well as pajamas for Christmas.
Cecil & Lou is my go to for affordable smocked dresses and fun holiday outfits. They are very similar to Smocked Auctions, but their style lends itself more conservative than fun and spunky. I love their pant/long sleeve t-shirt sets that I can monogram with Quint’s name and I’ve shared many times about their quilted coats and how much I love them. They are so soft and wash well.
I’d love to meet the mother than can walk through the kids section and not be lured in! I love the Cat & Jack line and get the kids basics there like cotton shorts, jeggings, leggings and fun graphic tee’s. I also love their swimsuits. I haven’t found many shoes from there that I like…which leads me to my next retailer….
This is a sweet online boutique owned by a mom (Laura!) who saw a need for classic children’s shoes and opened her own shop! She primarily sells through instagram and offers free shipping (holla!). The customer service is second to none and its always nice to know you are supporting a fellow mom. She does a lot of preordering so sometimes it can be tough to find something quickly but she is always willing to help anyway she can to get you what you need. I like to buy the Mary Janes Cientas, classic saddle shoes and now their new velcro sandals both by Footmates, and the traditional leather t-strap Mary Janes by L’Amour.
If Molly Peas doesn’t have what I’m looking for or if I need something quickly, Zappos almost always has any shoe I need. I can buy all of the brands I listed above from here including Mini Melissas. They also have free shipping (and returns) and I have never had a bad experience buying from them.
I find myself using Amazon for random things like socks, stockings, pantyhose and other hard to find specialty items you need quickly. I did a post about traditional christmas pajamas back in December and was surprised to find they carried my favorite brand of children’s christmas pajamas. I also recently got quint a cute pair of blue/white gingham swim trunks and a plain white rash guard for a fraction of the price I have seen similar items.
Squiggles by Charlie
These are the softest, cutest little play clothes that always have sweet details like ruffled hems or adorable appliqués. They don’t have a website so I have to snag them from boutiques that carry it like: Brother & Sissy, Ace of Gray, Shutterbugs, Posies & Puddles, Born Boutique, and Pink Sheep Boutique. I LOVE their girls popover dresses and pant sets for both girls and boys. They are SO soft and have the sweetest details. Sutton loves her heart pocket dress for valentines and practically is living in it these days!
They have the softest pima cotton collared shirts (the edgartown) and cotton shorts for Quint and you can get them on sale at great prices throughout the year. I find that the shirts run pretty TTS and the shorts run almost a full size big (for both boys and girls).
TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Ross/Nordstrom Rack
I have found so many hidden gems at each of these places and always do a quick browse of the kids section when I am at any of these discount stores. I have found some many Ralph Lauren items for both kids at TJ Maxx and I almost always get their Nike sneakers from Nordstrom Rack. Yes, you will likely have to dig and yes, it will be unorganized but I like a good scavenge to find a treasure!
I get all of Sutton’s bows from here. Not sure if there is a cheaper place but I always buy them when they run a sale. I currently buy the 5” bows (which are currently $2 off). I originally purchased the 25 pack set that is an assortment of colors but realized that we were only really using about 8-10 of the colors so now I just order the bows individually in the following shades: white, navy, red, royal blue, light pink, rose, petal pink, turquoise, and lavender.