I had no idea, until I had Ayva, that buying clothes for a little girl would turn into one of my most favorite hobbies. In fact, shortly after Ayva turned a year old, I had to put myself on a shopping restriction for a month. I was out of control! Between my family and friends buying Ayva stuff, and my obsession with itty bitty jumpers, the girl could have probably gone a year without wearing the same thing twice. Now that she’s in preschool, I’m not quite as bad. But I’m still pretty bad. What can I say? I’m a sucker for little dresses!
Much to my delight, Ayva at 4-years-old has her own sense of style. It’s super quirky and cute. She does things like wearing legwarmers on her arms, mixing colors and patterns, and adding funky accessories like Minnie Mouse ears to her ensembles. My job as Mom is to provide the clothing; Ayva’s job is to create the outfit. If you’re the parent of a preschool fashionista, too, there are a few things you can do to make your job of “Buyer” go smoother.
Tips for Shopping For Little Girls
- Purchase a mix of good quality and value clothes.
We all know that little girls can go from Play-Doh to painting to mudpies in 30 minutes flat. It’s tempting to only purchase a bunch of play clothes, but I’d advise against that. If you can purchase a few quality pieces, they stand up to washing better than the cheap stuff, and are great for passing down to a little sister, or friends. I keep my eyes open for sales at Tea Collection and Hanna Anderson, and stock up when prices go down. Ayva has favorites, and insists on wearing the same dresses 2 and 3 times per week. A cheap fabric would never stand up to that much laundering, so it always ends up being money well spent.
- Buy clothing that allow little girls to move.
When you’re looking for clothes for your little girl, make sure they’re designed for movement. Even if your daughter is a princess, you still want her to be able to move. Dresses that are too short, or jeans that are too tight are going to restrict her movement, and might even affect her experience at school or on the playground. It’s no fun trying to run around when your circulation is being cut off by your baby skinny jean.
- Splurge on good shoes.
If there’s one thing you should definitely spend money on, it’s good shoes for your preschooler. They’re doing a lot of running, climbing and jumping. Having good foot support is super important at this age, and will help to decrease accidents. Leave the flip-flops and the sandals at home when they’re going to school, and opt instead for real leather shoes or sneakers.
- Check out thrift stores and consignment shops.
As a new mom, I totally appreciated getting hand-me-downs from friends and family, but I never would have gone to a thrift store to buy clothes for Ayva. Big mistake! You can find some amazing quality brands that are barely worn at these stores. Here in Oakland, I shop at Silver Moon Kids, a store that sells new clothing, as well as high end brands on consignment. The last time I went there, in addition to a Tea Collection dress, I found a gorgeous little dress that was barely (if ever!) worn for $7. And guess what? That dress is one of Ayva’s favorites, too!
- Ask your daughter’s input.
It’s tempting to just shop and buy a bunch of stuff that we know will look cute on our little girls, but they have opinions, too. I was never big on clothes with characters on them, but Ayva really likes them and asks for them. Since I want her to grow up being confident in her sense of style, and being able to express what she wants, I compromise sometimes. She wears the frou-frou outfits that I want her to wear to church, and her eclectic, colorful clothes to school and on playdates!