Friday, March 27, 2015

Guide to Kids' Styling

     I feel like deep inside me there might be the soul of a creative person, unfortunately I’m in the body of someone who draws like a kindergartner, sings like an injured walrus and can’t seem to make anything out of Playdoh that isn’t at least slightly phallic. The closest thing I’ve found to “my artistic medium” is putting outfits together. For awhile I was fortunate enough to be paid to do that, but life changes, and here I am, unemployed, surrounded by yogurt-flinging snot-nosed small people, likely wearing sweatpants if I’ve mustered the zeal to wear any pants at all.

     I’m a problem solver, so to correct or at least overshadow my sad state of style I focus all of my energy on outfitting my kids. Sure, they still have unruly, sweaty hair and faces covered in food from 3 days ago, but somewhere in my eternally expanding laundry pile lay the remnants of a handful of pretty adorable outfits. You may look at me (or my carefully concocted online persona) and wonder, how does she do it? Well I’m here today to share some Kid Wardrobing Tips with you.

     Okay, first rule of shopping - SHOP IN OUTFITS. This applies to you too. Don’t buy a flowing boho top that catches your eye, or a fierce pair of neon ikat print patent sandals because they’re a steal, unless you have 2-3 things already in your closet that you’ll wear with them. Or, if restraint isn’t a priority on this particular outing, buy 2-3 things to wear with aforementioned expenditure at the time of purchase. This makes it easier to appear stylish versus looking like you fell into a clearance rack. It also makes it less likely that you'll spend your morning staring at your closet wondering what to wear.

     Kids are fun/expensive because every time the weather changes it’s time for a new wardrobe. As soon as I think we have enough clothes and I can’t possibly shop anymore, we have the first 70 degree day of spring and I'm faced with a closet full of corduroy overalls and cable knit sweaters, with maybe one pair of board shorts that now fit like hot pants shoved in a far corner of a forgotten drawer. Silver lining: Needing a whole wardrobe at once gives you the opportunity to practice creating a functional wardrobe. 

     Here’s my MO - I surf kids sites and snap screen shots of clothing I like. Next I use the app PicCollage to see how the pieces I like work together. Often I realize that something I really love doesn’t match any of the pants or shoes I think would work. To get more bang for your buck you'll want your outfits to be interchangeable, which is a lot easier to see in a wardrobe storyboard than it is in multiple online shopping carts. Furthermore, the storyboard visualization is IMO largely preferable to attempting to create a coherent look in a messy store in the mall by digging through a mountain of wrong sizes, trying to corral two wild animal children running opposite directions after being chased by kiosk hand lotion guys while aloof salespeople avoid eye contact. F that noise. 

     I enjoy this, or I wouldn't do it, but a bonus is that putting a little bit of time into planning makes it easier for me to find good deals. If you don't have or are unwilling to spend the cash on whatever the mannequins are wearing, it can be really hard to piece together outfits from the sale rack. By the time items are marked down the coordinating pieces and sizes are often long gone. But if you can source from the whole internet's worth of retailers you can get well thought out looks at bargain prices! Boom. 

My son is 4 so I can still buy him metrosexual floral print t-shirts and Birkenstocks if  I want to.  These pieces are from (old habits die hard) and are made by Peek! and Tea Collection, respectively.
As much as I love shoes, I've found that buying one good pair a season that match everything is the best bet. While my heart flutters from those Birks above, in my experience you can't beat Keens for a practical summertime every day kid shoe.
The obnoxiously loud lobster shirt is something my sea-creature obsessed son would do flips over, lest you start to believe I only have my own interests in mind here.

So this is the example of a board that showed me something that wouldn't work. After I'd made a couple outfit pages I was left with these pieces that I really like individually, but just don't have the versatility of the other stuff. We wear our pants 1-3 times a week and doubling up on star sweats would make Holden "the kid with those flashy star sweats." So these pieces sadly but smartly get the ax.

There are SO MANY darling girl's outfits in the world. I've found that when dressing Eden I don't always get the same versatility out of her clothes as I do with Holden's. A lot of her outfits aren't as easily interchangeable, and I think it's largely because I love the girly outfits so much that I can't accept less being more...

These pieces (besides the awesome and highly recommended Freshly Picked moccasins) are all from my friend Claire's web boutique She's done a masterful job curating pieces that are often gender neutral, and have a childlike whimsy without looking like a cartoonish stork vomited baby pink all over her shop.
This is my one girl storyboard where it's easy to mix and match. I think if you have core pieces that easily coordinate it's always okay to have an outfit or two that stands alone. For Edie's looks I sourced from,, and
     If you've made it to the end of this post I'm guessing you're either thinking "you're a vacuous freak with too much time on your hands" or hopefully some variant of "what a cute idea, I can't wait to make my own!" in which case, I'd love to see what you come up with. I'm available and enthusiastic about talking kid style, your style, or really any topic at all with you any time!

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