Thursday, November 6, 2014

Put Some Clothes On That (slender) Kid

I know that I don't excel at all that many things in the Motherhood department, but I like to think that my ability to dress the Muffin Man in stylish clothing kind of makes up for the fact that two days ago I let him eat a stick of butter for dinner. 

As with all aspects of raising children, putting together a wardrobe for a hipster toddler is not without challenges.  The main one is that my son is built like a bean pole.  In the grand scheme of things this is wonderful - the kid eats more than most grown adults, yet he never gains a pound - but trying to find clothes to fit his slender figure can be difficult, especially when one prefers buying everything second hand.

Now that I have almost two years (!) of shopping experience under my Motherhood belt, I've figured out which brands work best for toddlers with a slender build, and I'm finally sharing my knowledge.  Based on hours of not-at-all-scientific research gleaned from weekly trips to my local consignment store, this list is intended to provide a helpful guide for other parents, and also ensures that my purchases are now tax deductible "work expenses".

Herewith, my definitive list of tips for dressing your toddler, as well as a few of my favorite clothing brands: 
  • As a general rule of thumb, European brands tend to be cut smaller than American brands, with the French leading the charge towards underfed children.  I'm eternally grateful to our frenemies across the pond, because without their cigarette and alcohol-fueled low birth weight children, Noah would be practically forced to walk around wearing just a diaper for lack of pants that fit.
  • Leggings are your friend.  Sure, you'll have to put up with your spouse saying you dress your kid like a metrosexual, but the cuteness factor of skinny little legs in tight pants will silence detractors.
  • Look for pants that have adjustable waistbands.  Somebody came up with the brilliant idea of putting an elastic band with button holes inside the waistband of pants.  To adjust the size you simply pull the elastic as tight as you need to and fasten it onto the corresponding button.  Almost every pair of pant in Noah's wardrobe that's not a pair of leggings has an adjustable band.
  • Invest in a cute pair of suspenders.  Saggy pants are only a fashion statement in prisons and high schools.
  • Shop the girls department.  Seriously.  Girls clothes are cut smaller than boys clothes, and while this is not really a good thing for my daughter's body image and mental health, it is a positive turn of events for my son.  Just beware metallic purple stitching lurking in the seams of even the most normal-looking pair of jeggings. 
Petit Bateau.  Their skinny jeans are the best.  These are expensive when purchased new (Noah received a pair as a gift) but you can often find Petit Bateau pieces at the consignment store.

OshKosh B'gosh.  Most of the Osh Kosh pants have adjustable waistbands, and their leggings are great.  They are really reasonably priced, which I personally appreciate considering my son likes to use his pants as a napkin.

Zara Mini.  Another European brand, the sizes at Zara tend to run pretty small, which is a plus when we're talking about slender babes.  I'm partial to their pieces because they are chic and not at all babyish.

H&M.  These aren't the best quality clothes on the planet, but they almost always have stuff on sale, which means you can pick up cute hipster duds for $5 and under.  I think their pants run a little bit big, but the shirts and sweaters usually have a slim cut and the designs are hip.  

Kickee Pants.  This brand is so soft and silky that I basically just want to pet my kids whenever they are wearing any Kickee Pants pieces.  I think the clothing is made out of bamboo or something, but it's definitely eco friendly.  The sizing is a little bit inconsistent with this brand - sometimes the pants are a little bit big, sometimes a little bit small - but they do cut their pants longer than most other brands, which is great when you have a tall toddler.

Splendid.  If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that practically every t-shirt in the Muffin Man's wardrobe is made by Splendid.  I don't find that their pants fit my small-waisted little man all that well, but their shirts are the bomb dot com.  Super cute and stylish and incredibly soft they also wash incredibly well which is a must when you have a child who likes to paint.  On himself. 

What are your go-to brands for dressing your little ones?  Let me know if I'm missing any killer brands that cater to my kiddo's skinny legs and white boy butt!

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