When I just had two boys, I was really missing out. Not on ballet, glitter, Barbie dolls and ponies. But on girls’ clothes. I LOVE girls’ clothes. As soon as I had my daughter, a whole world of possibilities opened up for me (oh, and for her, of course).
One of the first things I learned about girls’ clothes (from the gifts I discreetly took back and changed) is there is far more margin for error. Boys’ clothes are very simple – jeans or combats, blue or green. But with girls’ clothes, you really need to decide who you want your daughter to BE. Then, hopefully, when she is old enough to choose for herself, she will continue to be who you want her to be.
My daughter wears traditional and boho. My ideal outfit is a traditional looking floral dress with bare legs in summer and woolly tights and a woolly cardigan in winter. Or a nice boho floral tunic with leggings and boots (or, more likely, Lelli Kellys). I like lots of colours, including pink, which I love in all shades apart from bubble gum.
She didn’t wear jeans until she was 3. I didn’t feel they were ‘suitable’ for a little girl. As she’s got older, I realise there are times when she does need to wear jeans, Tshirts and hoodies too. But only tasteful ones. I have a complete ban on pink velour, despite my daughter’s occasional attempts to draw my attention to pink velour princess tracksuits in the Disney shop. Oh, and I can’t bear lilac.
So wear to buy such lovely clothes? My top tip, my secret weapon – Boots. Yes, the chemist, the place where you buy your shampoo. Maybe you get your eyes tested there. They do kids’ clothes too. Take a look, they’re amazing. Not only do they do the gorgeous dresses and coats I favour for my daughter, they always go half-price in the sale AND you can buy them with your Advantage card! Many of my girl’s most gorgeous dresses were completely free from Boots because I got them on my Advantage card. And another ‘advantage’ (see what I did there?) is that so few people buy clothes there that your daughter (or son) will look unique. My only problem is that they only go up to 5-6. I am gutted, my girl is 5 1/2 now, so we are in our last season of Boots clothes.
My other favourite is good old Next. In my opinion, you can’t beat it. People are often surprised that my daughter’s clothes are Next. ‘Oh, it looks like Monsoon’. No, Next. You’ve just got to find the right stuff. Because they do some stuff which is pretty tasteless too. Of course they do the most amazing sale, so I am always there at 5am (luckily early mornings don’t affect me) buying stuff. I buy a year ahead, so it’s always a nice surprise when we open the ‘clothes to grow into’ drawer.
My other top Next tip for people like me who like to keep their children looking like children is – always buy in the younger age range. The ‘big girls’ range goes from 3 years to 16. The little girls/ toddler range goes from 3-6 months to 5-6. My daughter is only in Year 1, I don’t want her looking like a teenager, so I always buy from the little girls range. An added advantage is, it’s slightly cheaper too.
My other secret weapon is Vertbaudet. Although in the last year or two they’ve ‘forgotten’ to send me a catalogue and without a catalogue coming through the door or an email with nice pictures on, I forget to look. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – ‘big mistake, huge’. I spent a lot of money at Vertbaudet. On boys’ clothes as well as girls’. Their clothes are individual and cool and come in quite unusual muted colours. At first they may seem slightly expensive, but as soon as you start buying they send you offers and you can buy more stuff cheaper.
I have recently noticed that Marks & Spencers little girls range goes up to 6-7. I’ve never bought stuff in M&S before (apart from pants, socks and school uniforms), but this has suddenly made it far more interesting to me.
You may have got the impression from my ‘chav-tastic shopping’ post that I am against characters on clothes. I’m not. If my kids like a particular character, and Mummy likes it too, I’m happy for them to wear them. On the approved list for my daughter are Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly. M&S do Peppa Pig up to 6-7 and my daughter still likes to wear Peppa Pig. If she wants to wear Peppa Pig and has the confidence to do it, then I will let her. I’m never going to be the one to say to her ‘You’re in year 1 now, you’re too old for Peppa Pig’. Because I don’t believe she is.
This autumn I find myself in an usual situation. The ‘clothes to grow into’ drawer is practically empty thanks to a disappointing haul at the Next sale last Christmas. I am going to have to think about what my daughter needs to wear and we are going to have to go out to the shops to buy her some clothes. What a shame 😉