Fashion for kids — how to make the most of it, plus a few of my favourite brands

If you love following fashion trends or love playing around with your own style it just naturally flows on to dressing your children in things that are a little more interesting than plain onesies and chain store clothes.

When your little person starts to sit up, move around and bop along to music, you want them to wear clothes that fit their growing personality as well as their growing body. But it can be hard justifying the cost of boutique clothes that may be outgrown in a matter of months.

I’ve learned the hard way on shelling out decent money for clothes that have barely been worn. Dresses that are impossible for my little girl to crawl around in (she is a late walker). Shoes that are pulled off in two seconds flat. Seasonal clothes that end up being too large or too small by the time the right season rolls around. And of course unexpected growth spurts both upwards and outwards.

Generally, before buying something that’s not a practical item I like to check:

Where will my child wear this? Are you buying with just one event in mind? If so, consider whether it can it be dressed up or down for other activities. It’s such a shame to buy a party dress knowing it won’t even make it to the following year to be worn again.

Is it the end of the season? End of season sales are great, but unless you really need something for your child to wear straight away (eg if they’ve had a sudden growth spurt), you should buy a larger size for the following year.

Can this be layered for wearing in both colder and warmer months? When you buy clothes ahead of time you’re taking a risk as to whether the clothes will actually fit. So it’s worth buying something that is versatile and can look good layered up or down for potential use in more than one season.

Do I have the basics to match this outfit? These are the things that allow you to play around with the cool clothes doing the layering mentioned above. Quality basics like cardigans, jumpers, stockings and socks/shoes can make or break an outfit. Block colours are best so that when you buy dresses or shirts with original or unusual prints you’ll have a simple block coloured basic to match it with.

Is it practical? It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of seeing an adorable outfit and buying it before thinking of the practicalities. Cute, fashionable clothes are not going to be as practical as a onesie, but they should at least meet the minimum criteria of allowing your child freedom of movement and comfort if they’ll be napping in those clothes during the day. I hate seeing my little girl’s knees getting caught up in a dress as she’s trying to crawl, or see elasticated sleeves leaving a red mark on her arms.

So with that checklist in mind, where to start shopping? Department stores are great for stylish good-quality basics. I also like the cheap shops for simple jeans, leggings and cardigans for my little one, such as Big W, Kmart, and Best & Less.

When it comes to choosing the statement pieces, well-known shops like Witchery, Country Road and Cotton On Kids have very cute clothes, but one look on Instagram and Pinterest and you realise that truly great kids fashion is not in mass production.

Here are the kids brands that are on my wish list and the websites I love to trawl for bargains and limited-run items:

Clothes

Etsy: not a brand in itself but a marketplace for people to sell their wares online. And what wares they have! Gorgeous and unique childrens clothes can be found in abundance on Etsy, in a range of prices. If you truly want something original for your little one, this is the best place to find treasures. Just be willing to spend a lot of time clicking through the many different stores in search of the perfect pieces! My recent finds are Hold You Me for cute leggings and beanies, Lucky Knitwear for seriously gorgeous jumpers and cardigans, and Lucille Paige for super cute topknot headbands for girls.

Mabo Kids:This brand has beautiful, classic clothes with enough originality to stand out. I love the simple girls’ summer dresses and jumpsuits made of cotton, all in the most gorgeous prints. The Liberty of London florals are my favourite.

Mabo Kids Wynne Dress in Liberty of London Floral Print

Broken Tricycle: I particularly love the clothes for little boys on this website. Cute jumpers and onesies in unique prints. This striped playsuit is a favourite.

For great sales on well-known brands, you can’t go past Zodee and Ozsale. You have to trawl through them regularly to find good stuff, but the savings are worth it.

Bibs

Alimrose Designs: I absolutely love the bibs made by these designers. They are so whimsical and keep your baby’s outfit looking cute (sometimes cuter!) when they are eating and drinking. A good selection of their bibs is found online at Silly Moo Moo.

Alimrose Bunny Applique Bib

I also love a good dribble bib. Bugsey Bee on Etsy use fun prints and their bibs are made of bamboo which immediately makes me love them. Bamboo is a super soft material and is so gentle against your little one’s sensitive skin.

Shoes

Freshly Picked: THE brand for gorgeous baby moccasins. If my little one could keep her shoes on for longer than a minute I would be stocking up on these!

Freshly Picked watermelon moccasins

Baby Bloch: I can’t get enough of Bloch’s gorgeous ballet slippers for babies. I made the most of them when my little one was more willing to wear shoes. They are so sweet and perfect for a budding ballerina. I love their ballet flats for women too.

Nursery

Fictional Objects: not technically kidsfashion, but gorgeous linen for your baby’s and children’s rooms as well as your own. I’m hoping my children will love these prints as much as I do, allowing us to avoid the Peppa Pig and Barbie bedspreads!

Fictional Objects Dove Palm Doona with navy fleck on reverse

Olliella: The home wares on this website for the nursery and other rooms are pretty much all on my wishlist. I use this website for inspiration and daydreaming about my perfect home. Ahhhh.

This list is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many amazing children's boutiques online. It just takes a few hours of dedicated late night searching to find gorgeous unique clothes and accessories for your little ones. I would love to hear of others I have missed out on. If you have some favourites please let me know!

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