Once the closet is cleaned out, the #shopping must commence... but where do I get cute, appropriate, modest clothes for my 8yr old? Come inside and I'll tell you! #kids #parenting #motherhood #backtoschool #thirdgrade

Here we are, just a few weeks before the first day of third grade and we are in the midst of final preparations, including updating my daughter's wardrobe.

Here's one of the dresses with pockets I scored at Crazy 8 for only $11.00!

We spent a great deal of time last week trying on all her clothes, shoes, coats and even socks to see what fits and what doesn't, which you can read about in THIS post.

What I thought was going to be another easy year of ordering clothes online in the next size up turned out to be a huge lesson in little girls clothing.

Emily is nearly 8 years old and on the slender side. She's only 4ft 2in tall and weighs 54lbs. According to all the sizing charts, this means she needs a size small, which is about a size 6-7yrs. I had no idea this meant she was no longer in the "little girls 2T-5T" section of stores. Being a size 6 means we have moved into what's called the "girls" sizes 6 thru 12 section.

As I browsed this section in stores and online, I found myself feeling melancholy and a bit disappointed. The problem with this size range is that retailers have to appeal to little girls, like mine, as well as those TWEENS who want more creative freedom with their clothing. It's been difficult for me to find clothes that are great quality, in an appropriate fit - everything appears to be tight-fitting and sheer, in an appropriate length - all the skirts and shorts are way too short, and without obnoxious sayings all over them - I've found a whole lot of: "Go, Girl", "Like, for real", "Call me, Maybe".

I'm definitely a parent who wants her daughter dressing modestly and we follow all the school's rules about dress code including but not limited to:

No inappropriate gestures, designs, words
No spaghetti straps
Clothing must extend past your fingertips when hands are at your sides
Close-toed shoes strongly suggested

Don't misunderstand, retailers DO exist that create gorgeous clothing with exceptional quality including:
Hanna Andersson
Mini Boden
Crew Cuts by J Crew
Lands End
Garnet Hill
Children's Place
Crazy 8

It seems my main problem is not having thousands of dollars to pay for it all.


So, what's a mom to do?

Take the time to wait for sales. All the cute summer items were on Clearance, up to 75% off, in June, which is right when I start thinking about summer clothes. :) Fall/Winter items are already being advertised 20-30% off and I'm betting they will be on Clearance by October.

Here are photos of the some of the amazing things I recently purchased:

Tunics and dresses and skirts (without shorts built -in) plus leggings to go with them from Mini Boden.

Blouses and elastic-wasit capri jeans from Mini Boden.

And the cutest t-shirts plus a pair of ankle-skimmers in purple with silver stars from Mini Boden!

By far the most practical items Emily will wear the most are the "Scooters", which are skirts with shorts built-in from Hanna Andersson, $12 each. She gets hot at school and likes to run and play tag at recess so having the freedom to move easily in clothes is really important to her. I particularly LOVE the length of these skirts as they are more than one layer longer than those I loved and religiously purchased annually from Old Navy (they don't offer them in "Girls" sizes, shame). I laid out all the shirts we had purchased to ensure I chose colors that would go with everything.

See Kai Run has line for kids size 8toddler - 3youth and I scored this pair of glittery hightops for only $22.90. I let Emily choose and am happy she chose silver because it's a true neutral that will match everything! I also took advantage of the Mini Boden clearance and got these canvas slip-ons for only $12 each! They are softer and require less time and blisters to break-in than Tom's and for 1/2 the price. If they had other colors in her size, I absolutely would've bought additional pairs. These go great without socks, paired with capris or leggings and transition seamlessly with footed tights under dresses for the colder months.

Do you shop Zulily.com? If not, you are missing out because Sketchers had their new line of Mary Jane Runners on a 50% sale and I got this ubber cute pair for only $18!

Thankfully her Stride Rite tennis shoes still fit from last year and should take us through third grade. She wears them only on Mondays and Tuesdays when she has P.E.

New underwear and socks were also required this year, which I found for the best price at Target. I made sure to purchase the pack of underwear that had nude and white selections - you wouldn't believe how much shows through clothes!

Lastly, and most exciting for Emily this year is her new backpack. Gram purchased this rolling Peacock bag from Pottery Barn Kids and shipped it as a surprise for Emily. Her old backpack from Garnet Hill (that she carried K thru 2nd grade!) was still in great shape but she has outgrown the pony print. I'm so happy that backpack lasted three years! Apparently, "all the kids" have rolling backpacks this year so, I allowed the purchase and must admit how happy I am with this bag because it's not as heavy as I expected.

I've recently discovered Crazy 8, they are under the Gymboree Coporate Umbrella, and are a fantastic, modest, innocent, yet super appealing to the 6-10yr crowd. The cherry on-top: a store recently opened near me so I got to examine the clothes myself and was so impressed I purchased a dozen t-shirts just before our summer vacation to Texas plus a few dresses (see the first pic in this post!). They often have a "everything $5.99 and under" sale so I plan to shop them again come October/November when they will start clearing out their Fall/Winter line to pick up long-sleeve t-shirts and a coat as Emily needs both for this year.

I also have my eye on the new Autumn collection at Mini Boden and plan to purchase the bright green birdie raincoat and matching boots as soon as they go on sale!

How's your back to school shopping going?
Anything fit from last year?
Did you child have a crazy growth spurt that necessitated a whole new wardrobe?


  1. Those clothes are adorable, especially the Mini Boden ones. I am completely with you on all this. The cute clothes are usually so expensive. I've had some luck with children's consignment stores. If I look carefully I can end up with things from Gymboree, Gap, etc, some still with tags. I'll have to check out Crazy 8!

    1. I WISH we had quality consignment around here, it's mostly really worn/stained/faded Old Navy/Gap stuff. There are some great places with higher end labels that are in better shape but they FLY off the shelves, I never find them on time. :)

  2. I second Crazy 8 and of course have been a Gymboree fan since my boys were babies. I don't envy families with girls at all! I was looking at posts from 17 magazine in the 80s and te clothing looked downright dowdy by today's standards!

    1. Your kids are always dressed so adorably, Aja!!! And yes, having a girl when clothes shopping after about age 6yrs can be quite a challenge. :)

  3. Your choices look great BTW!


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